St Vincent and the Grenadines Yurumein

This is to feature the ancestral home of the Garinagu.  This is where Garinagu were exiled from.

Habinaha Garinagu 2011 in St Vincent

Beyond the Mango's Shade is finally here

 

That's right I have finally given birth to my baby (Beyond The Mango's Shade). Writing a novel is truly like having a baby. This baby took 18 months to come to fruition. What a sacrifice it was, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I have to thank my family for their patience. I spent so much time on the computer that my laptop started looking like a part of my anatomy, but my family put up with my busy schedule. I spent countless nights writing and doing research as well as traveling to several countries to gather information for this novel. I met countless people along the way who I will never forget and will forever appreciate and value their contributions. The book was unveiled at a dinner/concert I hosted at the Biko Center, for St.Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the United Nations, Camillo Gonsalves. Camillo is also the son of our Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. I hope to have many more unveiling to do with future book and I hope my readers enjoy this book. To order your copy from our very limited supply, please go to my website at www.trishsthill.com. Thank you and may you enjoy reading Beyond the Mango's Shade.
 
----
Trish St.Hill
Ajani Publishing
P.O. Box 30683
Elmont New York, 11003-0683
Phone: 516-495-6426
Cell Ph: 347-488-4395
Email: [email protected]
www.trishsthill.com

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2nd Garifuna Heritage Foundation Exhibition (NEW)

2ND Garifuna Heritage Foundation Exhibition

 

Minister Baptiste. Photo credit: repeatingislands.com

 

PRESS RELEASE: On Monday 8th March, Minister of Culture, Honourable Rene Baptiste, Minister of Culture, officially declared the Garifuna Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Francaise exhibitions open.
The exhibition is the second of its kind and is housed at the Old Public Library.  The theme of the exhibition is “From the Orinoco to Exile” – featuring artifacts, pottery, paintings, clothing, documents and books.  The exhibitions will continue until Friday 12th March.
President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, Mr. ‘David Darkie’ Williams, said that they received good reviews since the previous exhibition and that numerous requests were made from particular schools to repeat the exhibition on the Garifuna culture and heritage.  According to Mr. Williams, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (S.V.G) has the pride of place in history as having the shortest institutionalized period of slavery in the Caribbean.
Immediate Past president of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, Mrs. Zoila Ellis-Browne, said that the organization is focusing on youths because they are the future of the country and the ones responsible for preserving any legacy left behind.  She urged the students of the Bishop’s College Secondary and the Thomas Saunders Secondary Schools to read the “Rise and Fall of the Black Caribs” by Doctor Earle Kirby.
Minister Baptiste said that Mr. ‘David Darkie’ Williams will travel to New York soon to accept an award on behalf of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Garifuna Heritage Foundation at a ceremony in New York hosted by the Garifuna Coalition of that city.  The award is for the work that the S.V.G Garifuna Foundation has done in keeping the Garifuna culture alive in the homeland.
According to Minister Baptiste, the Ministry of Culture will be receiving another team from the University of Calgary, Canada to continue archaeological digs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  She added that the Department of Culture in Egypt will send four experts – two Engineers and two Archaeologists to assist with the relocation of the Petroglyphs at Argyle a site at the area known as Escape.
Minister Baptiste encouraged students to become members of the National Trust and extended the invitation for them to join her on the pilgrimage to Balliceaux this year.  Balliceaux is the island off the coast of S.V.G where the then British colonizers exiled the Black Caribs.  She stressed the need to inculcate in the younger generation an appreciation of the heritage of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

 

Successful Conclusion to Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the Grenadines 

Reprinted from Caribbean Net News
caribbeannetnews.com

 

Successful conclusion to Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the Grenadines
Published on Saturday, July 25, 2009

NEW YORK, USA -- The Garifuna Coalition has announced the successful conclusion of the Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein".

Laying of a wreath at the Chatoyer monument, an obelisk in Dorsetshire Hill, where Chatoyer fell 214 years ago
The Garifuna Reunion was part of the Vincy Homecoming 2009 spearheaded by the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit/Office of the Prime Minister (RIDU) aimed at unifying and educating while identifying the unique Vincentian Identity and designed to be a catalyst to generate support for the aspirations of the Vincentian people and as the driving force for Vincentians across the world to come together with a common objective of recognizing, uplifting and revitalizing the essence of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to Dr Adrian Fraser, "The story of the Garifuna people is a unique one that needs to be told, since among other things, it is pivotal to understanding their position in Central America and also the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines; and indeed the rest of the Caribbean region in which St Vincent was one of the last outposts of Carib resistance.”

The Garifuna Reunion represents the next chapter in our unique story, said Rejil Solis, President of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.

The Garifuna Reunion provided an opportunity for Garifunas to become the subjects of their own history rather than objects of someone else's, as they inevitably have been when others have told their story as a footnote to theirs in their own way and for their own purposes.

Among the highlights of the Reunion, was the first ever Bilingual English Garifuna Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption; the laying of a wreath at the Chatoyer monument, an obelisk in Dorsetshire Hill, where Chatoyer fell 214 years ago; the presentation of a Commemorative Certificate by the Garifuna Heritage Foundation featuring a 1770 survey map on the background, developed by a team to surveyors for lands sent by King George III, during England's claim to the islands.

Members of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc
Furthermore, they reconnected with their people through a tour of the Leeward Side of the Island with cultural interchanges in Rose Bank, where they met the son of the last Carib Chief of the village, and Greggs, where many Garifunas remain, as well as a tour of “Carib country”, the communities in North Windward, on the northeastern-most tip of St Vincent, where local Garifunas are concentrated and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding among The Garifuna Heritage Foundation of St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc, St Vincent and the Grenadines Organization of Pennsylvania, Inc "SVGOP” and the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc. "GAHFU” of Los Angeles California, to cooperate in the future to promote the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in all parts of the Garifuna Diaspora as well as seek to work with all our indigenous brothers and sisters; That they will collaborate in practical ways to support the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein" the Ancestral Homeland of the Garifuna people.

The reunion concluded with a farewell Reception at Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves' Residence “The Garifuna Reunion represents the beginning of the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein, " said Dr Cadrin E Gill, member of the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United, Inc.

Garifunas have proven that modernization need not involve a sacrifice of all that is dear, yet neither must people be excluded from the benefits of the modern world, because they refuse to give up all their traditions. The Garifuna Reunion gave us the opportunity to contribute to the cultural enrichment of the Vincentians, while uplifting and revitalizing the essence of St Vincent and the Grenadines by launching the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St Vincent and the Grenadines "Yurumein". The next Reunion is planned for 2011 when the Argyle International Airport is scheduled to open

Copyright© 2007-2008 Caribbean Net News at www.caribbeannetnews.com All Rights Reserved
For permission to republish, please contact [email protected]

Garifunas Visits ancestral home in St. Vincent July 09

 

Garifunas visits ancestral home in St. Vincent

July 23, 2009 by Kenton X. Chance
Members of the visiting delegation at the Chatoyer obelisk overlooking Kingstown.

Members of the visiting delegation at the Chatoyer obelisk overlooking Kingstown.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent:- A group of Garifunas from Central and North American left for their adopted homelands Thursday morning after a five-day pilgrimage to this country, considered their ancestral home.

About 2248 Garifunas, called “Caribs” locally, were exiled to Rotan Island off Honduras in 1797, two years after their chief, Joseph Chatoyer, was killed by the British.

Chatoyer is a national hero here, where elements of the culture have survived the language, both of which are alive in the diaspora, mainly concentrated in Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize.

The group included this country’s Honorary Consul General in Los Angeles Dr. Cadrin Gill, who is of Garifuna extraction and came to the country as part of “Vincy Homecoming 2009”.

“Vincy Homecoming 2009” encourages Vincentians in the diaspora to return home for this country’s 30th anniversary of independence in October.

The pilgrims laid wreath at the Chatoyer monument, an obelisk in Dorsetshire Hill, a community overlooking this city, where Chatoyer fell 200 years ago.

On Tuesday, a pilgrimage to Balliceax, the small, undeveloped island to which the Garifunas were exiled, was cancelled because of inclement weather.

On Wednesday, the group visited “Carib country”, the communities in North Windward, on the northeastern-most tip of St. Vincent, where local Garifunas are concentrated.

Visiting Garifunas chat with an elderly Garifuna woman in Sandy Bay.

Visiting Garifunas chat with an elderly Garifuna woman in Sandy Bay.

“It’s no lie that in 1797 we were shipped from here. We were in denial about our home. We were embarrassed because of what happened here, the war, the struggle, the assassination of Chatoyer. We could not deal with it,” Honduran Dionisia Amaya said after the trip.

The 76 year-old woman was the oldest member of the delegation and battled ill-health, including diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, lower back pain and knee pain to visit this country.

“I am overwhelmed. It is like coming back home to the land of my ancestors. I got more than I expected. I’m telling you it is incredible. This is very emotional but this is how I feel now. My dreams have become a reality, total reality,” she said.

During the trip to North Windward, the pilgrims had lunch with Garifuna brethren in Fancy, the northern-most community in this country,

They were guests of the North Windward Tourism Association, which prepared traditional Garifuna and Vincentian dishes, including calaloo soup, fish broth, potato pudding, madongo bakes, and cassava bread.

“Everything is similar to what we have back home,” Deysi Guity, 26, the youngest member of the contingent, said of the food.

Maxwell “Tajo” Francis of the North Windward Tourism Association said he was pleased to welcome his brethren home.

He said he met Garifunas in Belize two years ago and experienced their joy at meeting Garifunas from St. Vincent.

“It is quite a feeling. It is very emotional and it really touches you to know that people who were from here, who were placed in exile, would have kept that place in their heart in terms of love for their homeland and would want to make such an effort to really visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

And while Francis said that his organization was working hard to preserve the elements of the Garifuna heritage that have survived in St. Vincent, he bemoaned the loss of the language.

Young Garifuna girls from Sandy Bay, St. Vincent dance during a cultural performance in their village.

Young Garifuna girls from Sandy Bay, St. Vincent dance during a cultural performance in their village.

“I really feel it when people come from overseas who are Garifuna in exile and can speak the language well and all of what we have has been lost. We cannot afford to allow our culture to be lost to foreign cultures… It is sad that we have lost our language,” he said.

The group was treated to a spirited cultural presentation in Sandy Bay that included dancing, drumming and Cassian Lavia singing the song that won her the crown at this year’s Junior Calypso Competition.

In welcoming the group to Sandy Bay, Alida Cordice said that the Garifunas faced many troubles but have not forgotten their homeland. She said that they hold with pride the name St. Vincent and regard the country as an important part of their heritage.

“Welcome to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, welcome to your homeland!” she said.

 

The Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent

Reprinted from Caribbean Net News
caribbeannetnews.com

Commentary: The Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent
Published on Monday, February 16, 2009

By Jose Francisco Avila

In his 1970 book “Future Shock” Alvin Toffier wrote, ”Change is the process by which the future invades our lives, and it is important that we look at it closely, not only from the grand perspective of History, but also from the vantage point of the living, breathing individuals who experience it” [1]. Change is inevitable and there’s is no question that it is happening in the relationship between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Garifunas as demonstrated by the Garifuna Reunion to be celebrated on July 18th – 23rd, as part of Vincy Homecoming 2009.

It has been said that “The future does not just happen, we must make it happen” and that’s what the Garifuna Coalition chose to do when it linked the power of the Garifunas’ historic past while looking forward to a future brimming with promise and hope when it proposed the Garifuna Reunion as part of Vincy Homecoming 2009 to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadine through the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU) Office of the Prime Minister.

While the US Garifuna Diaspora has maintained links and connections with the Central American countries, where they were exiled to that has not been the case with their homeland of St Vincent and the Grenadines (Yurumein). With the exception of Garifunas from Belize , no other Central American Garifuna Community has maintained regular contact with St Vincent . There will be some who will remember the Honorable James Mitchell, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ visit to Honduras in 1997 during the Garifuna Bicentennial, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Garifunas exile. However, twelve years later there has been no renewed linkage. An analysis of the situation led to the conclusion that it was due to the language barrier since the largest Garifuna Diaspora is located in Spanish speaking countries. Therefore, the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. chose to organize the Garifuna Reunion as an integral part of the Vincy Homecoming 2009 celebrations in an effort to forge better relations. It also chose to develop bilingual English/Spanish) promotional material to reach out to all Garifunas.

The Garifuna Reunion creates an opportunity for the Garifuna Diaspora to get to know and reconnect with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and to meet and exchange information with Saint Vincent leaders in the government, business, political, non-profit, and cultural sectors during their visit to the country. The reunion also enables Saint Vincent leaders to gain a greater understanding about the multicultural and multilingual Garifunas while developing a framework and action plan for further enhancement of relations between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Garifuna Diaspora.

The media has brought greater awareness about the Garifunas and their special place in history. The wakening of ethnic cultural pride among the Garifunas combined with the increased awareness about their special place in history provides Saint Vincent and the Grenadines an opportunity to develop a new cultural tourism strategy to compliment its thriving tourism industry, while facilitating greater collaboration and partnership between the business community in St Vincent and the Grenadines and entrepreneurs in the Garifuna Diaspora.

According to Dr Adrian Frazier, the reconnection of the people, among other things, will help in the reclaiming of their history, identity and pride; and in reconstructing and restoring their central place in the eady history and development of St Vincent , or Yuremi as it is known in Garifuna language.

The history, artifacts and other symbols of the Black Caribs (Garifuna people) are essential parts of the history and culture of St Vincent and the Grenadines . Many of the forts and places where the different encounters took place remain and tell their own story, among them the cannons at Fort Charlotte that point inland. Beside the information they provide to the Vincentian people, they also add to the rich heritage and cultural-tourism infrastructure.[2]

However, the Garifunas special place in St Vincent’s history has also generated a great deal of debate about the sale of the Island of Baliceux, as demonstrated in the following excerpt from an article in the Caribbean Net News “We are of the opinion that the nature of the proposed development will obliterate the significance of the history of Balliceaux and Battawya to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, now and in the future. This is particularly in reference to the Garifuna people who suffered tremendously at the hands of the early settlers. This proposed development will be grossly disrespectful to the memory of the indigenous peoples, especially those who lost their lives on Balliceaux, and those who were exiled to Central America in 1797.”[3]

For full disclosure purposes, I must mention that various people have written me about this issue and I will share part of my response to one of the messages: “I understand that we need to do something, however, I feel that it needs to be in an organized manner and we need to first engage in dialogue with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines at all levels. That is why I chose the diplomatic approach of reestablishing the links with the country. Once we have engaged the Government officials, we can negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement.”

While it is true that when there is a conflict between heritage preservation and economic development, the preservation and protection of the nation’s heritage is not given equal weight in the discussion, there is evidence that the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is taking steps under Minister of Culture René Baptiste to preserve the Garifuna heritage. This is demonstrated by the Pilgrimage to Balliceaux - A Journey of Spiritual Remembrance, which was started on March 14, 2002 when the Great Carib (Garifuna) Chief, Chatoyer, was declared first National Hero of St Vincent and the Grenadines , and the day became a national holiday.

Furthermore, it is demonstrated by the SVG Government’s acceptance letter to our proposal for the Garifuna Reunion, which stated “We are looking forward to welcoming all of your members for Vincy Homecoming 2009-The Garifuna Reunion. We are ready to work with you to develop an exciting and fulfilling program to ensure that you have a full appreciation of your homeland, St Vincent and the Grenadines (Yurumein). The Minister of Culture, the Honourable Rene Baptiste has included Vincy Homecoming 2009-The Garifuna Reunion in her strategic plan for 2009 and is anxious to begin working on the logistical and administrative details to ensure that your welcome home is flawless.“

In addition, as part of the planned Tourism development sites, which will be an integral part of the construction of the Argyle International Airport, is the development of the Rabacca National Park, a concept that is jointly promoted by the Ministries of Tourism, Agriculture and the National Park, Rivers and Beaches Authority in the area between the Rabacca River and Miss Jane River, immediately to the South of the Rabacca River. While a theme for that park was not yet determined by the time of writing the final report, it is likely to be a mixture of recreation and a Carib theme village with a memorial statue of Chief Chatoyer, shops, play area, parking, rest stop, cabins along with the camping and picnic facilities.[4]

There’s is no question that positive change is happening in the relationship between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Garifunas. it is hoped that by linking the power of the Garifunas’ rich history to the promise of the future of Vincy Homecomeing 2009, the Garifuna Reunion will create an opportunity for the Garifuna Diaspora to get to know and reconnect with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines while developing a framework and action plan for further enhancement of relations between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Garifuna Diaspora. It will also allow for a look at the future from the vantage point of the Garifunas as the conflict between heritage preservation and economic development is reconciled around their special place in St Vincent and the Grenadines’ history!

[1] Alvin Tofler, Future Shock, Random House, 1970
[2] Dr. Adrian Fraser, The Reconnection Of The Garifuna Peoples, The St Vincent and the Grenadines Department of Tourism , 2001
[3] An open letter from the Linley family in St Vincent, Caribbean Net News, June 4, 2008
[4] Argyle International Airport Project Environmental Impact Assessment


Copyright© 2007-2008 Caribbean Net News at www.caribbeannetnews.com All Rights Reserved
For permission to republish, please contact [email protected]

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