International Garifuna Summit in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Print E-mail
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Thursday, 09 April 2015 00:00

An International Garifuna Summit organized by the Garifuna Heritage Foundation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was held on 8th-15th March, 2015 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  The theme of the Summit was “The Garifuna, a Nation Displaced-Cultural Rights, Economic Survival and Reparations.”  It consisted of several events including Workshops, Conferences, Tours, Cultural Extravaganza, a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Garifuna Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer Monument on St. Vincent and Grenadines Heroes Day, March 14th. A pilgrimage to Balliceaux was done on Sunday March 15. Balliceaux is an inhospitable off-shore island where the Garinagu were sent in July 1796 before being exiled from their homeland. More than fifty percent of those sent to Balliceaux died before the exile.

The Summit Objectives were: To gather in St. Vincent and the Grenadines known to the Garinagu as Yurumein, the birthplace of the Garifuna Nation, share ideas, examine issues, network and strengthen global links. The conference portion of the 2015 Summit is envisioned as a place to engage, exchange and deepen theoretical, analytical, academic and arts-based approaches to understanding key issues affecting the Garifuna Nation today.

The revitalization of the Garifuna language and culture in St, Vincent was among topics discussed along with the preservation of the Garifuna Culture in Garifuna Communities of Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The Belize contingent pledged to offer support in revitalization of the Garifuna language and culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Reparation for the Garifuna people was extensively discussed.

A delegation of eight from Belize attended including Sandra Miranda Vice President of National Garifuna Council (NGC) who presented a paper titled “Garifuna Nation: Can it be defined?, Lucia Ellis and Adrian ‘Doc’ Martinez conducted workshops on Herbal Medicine and Garifuna Music respectively.