Thursday, April 24, 2008

Language Policy Statement Of The Garifuna Nation

Adopted at CABO meeting Dec. 1997

We, the Garifuna people, although living within the borders of various countries (including but not limited to Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, St. Vincent, and the United States), represent a single, united ethnic community known as the Garifuna Nation. Our language is the Garifuna language. This language has a dictionary, a working orthography, and a corpus of literature and descriptive grammatical work.

The Garifuna people recognize the natural and inherent interconnectedness of language and culture and that our language is the primary vehicle for the transmission of our culture. We believe that our survival depends on both the preservation of our traditional language and on social and economic development. Therefore, language policies and goals described here also impact and are intimately connected with our economic development and cultural survival.

As an indigenous people, the Garifuna Nation has basic rights to autonomy and self-determination, and the right to maintain and preserve Garifuna language and culture. Further, the Garifuna Nation recognizes the right of the Garifuna communities and member organizations in each country to establish and implement local level language policies and development initiatives, and expects these rights to be guaranteed by local governments, as described by the United Nations Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We, the Garifuna Nation, declare that our ancestral language is Garifuna, and that Garifuna is the language of the Garifuna Nation, regardless of the level of individual competence.


In order to ensure the survival of the Garifuna language, the Garifuna Nation adopts the following language maintenance policies. In the process, we expect recognition of the Garifuna language by the governments of Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

These policies are reflected in the thrust of the Garifuna National Language Program, and will result in the formation and execution of language preservation projects and initiatives at all levels within the Garifuna Nation. The Garifuna Nation encourages its various communities to develop local level language maintenance strategies which are tailored to the unique circumstances and needs of the given community.

Lexical expansion
Our Garifuna language is a modern language capable of expressing the complete range of human communicative intentions. Our language is also capable of lexical expansion into contemporary technical and specialized semantic fields, including mathematics, information technology, economics, politics, science, etc. We hereby mandate the formation of a special international Garifuna committee to develop and determine appropriate new vocabulary so that Garinagu may speak on any subject without resorting to the use of foreign lexemes. This committee will represent Garinagu from all the various geographic regions, and will meet on a regular basis in an on-going process of development of new vocabulary where needed.

Corpus planning
The Garifuna Nation is committed to the finalization and standardization of a Garifuna orthography which is acceptable to all speakers. Much orthographic work has already been accomplished, and the remaining linguistic and stylistic questions will be resolved and a standardized Garifuna orthography adopted in the near future.

The Garifuna Nation also mandates the training of teachers and other interested and appropriate individuals in the use of the new Garifuna orthography (reading and writing), in order to promote and promulgate the production of literature, plays, videos, and other cultural materials in Garifuna. Access to publication will also be secured for all regions. We believe that the acquisition of literacy in the ancestral language will expand the domains of use of the Garifuna language, and will allow contemporary Garinagu the maximum potential for creative expression in their language.

Language acquisition and use
The Garifuna Nation recognizes that the single most important factor in the survival of our language is its transmission to the children. Our goal is for all Garifuna children to learn the ancestral language in the natural way, in the home, and we call on Garifuna parents to reclaim Garifuna as the language of the home.

For Garifuna parents whose competence in the language is imperfect, local programs to help parents improve their mastery of Garifuna should be implemented.

The Garifuna Nation recognizes the need for greater opportunities to practice and use the ancestral language, and calls for the establishment of fora at all levels promoting use of the language. In addition, we realize that elder speakers are a valuable linguistic resource, and we encourage the consultation of elder speakers and their involvement with language learners. In turn, elder speakers should be encouraging and supportive of language learners.

Resources and funding
In order to put into action Garifuna language maintenance, preservation, and revitalization efforts, we require resources, both human and monetary. The Garifuna Nation welcomes all persons seriously interested in participating in or contributing to the Garifuna National Language Program. In addition, grant writing skills will be developed at various levels within the Garifuna Nation in order to secure necessary funds for the enactment of our goals.

Linguistic documentation
The Garifuna Nation is committed to the development of a comprehensive grammatical description of our language which can be adapted for use in the classroom, facilitating the formal instruction of our children in Garifuna.

In general, Garifuna people welcome the interest of linguists in our unique language. We expect, however, a high degree of cultural sensitivity and responsibility. In addition, we require copies of any work produced which deals with our language, and especially appreciate materials and other work which may also be utilized in our language preservation and revitalization efforts.

The Garifuna Nation expects recognition of the Garifuna language by the governments of Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.


Through this statement, the Garifuna Nation makes known our intention to exercise greater control over the schools in our communities and over the education of our children, rights guaranteed to us in the United Nations Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as other national and regional agreements and legislation.

The Garifuna Nation requires of national and local governments not only recognition of the legal right to maintain our language, but implementation of the effective right to maintain our language through the allocation of resources, personnel, funds and equipment.

Schools in all Garifuna communities will institute a curriculum teaching the history and culture of the Garifuna people, including the story of the origin of the Garinagu and the Garifuna language, aspects of Garifuna cosmology, traditional Garifuna foods, and Garifuna songs and dance.

The Garifuna Nation also expects to act on our right to educate our children in our traditional Garifuna language, through programs designed to meet the educational, linguistic, and cultural preservation needs and goals of each individual Garifuna community within the Garifuna Nation. As an indigenous people, the Garifuna Nation reserves the right for our children to be educated in their ancestral language as a first or second language.

In keeping with the historical Garifuna tradition of academic excellence, the Garifuna Nation expects for our children an education which is culturally sensitive and linguistically responsible, and also prepares our children for the wider social context. We assert that our children are fully capable of developing a high level of mastery in both their ancestral language and the national language, and expect the use of Garifuna as a medium of instruction to increase student success and performance, increase student awareness and knowledge of their culture and history, and enhance educational opportunity; in addition, we believe that the inclusion of our language and culture in the school program in our communities will reaffirm traditional Garifuna values and pride in each of the nation states of which we are a part.

In addition to the use of our ancestral language in the formal education of our children, the Garifuna Nation also calls for the initiation of Garifuna language instruction at all levels for any and all interested persons. These are to include courses of instruction for non-speakers of the language, as well as courses for Garifuna speakers who wish to acquire literacy in the language.




To facilitate and encourage the development and implementation of programs and projects with a view to ensuring the preservation, promotion, development and wider utilization of the Garifuna language.


1) To facilitate the development of the Garifuna language.
2) To standardize the orthography of the Garifuna language.
3) To facilitate the publication of literature including language learning and teaching materials.
4) To facilitate the acquisition of Garifuna language skills.
5) To provide fora that promote the use of Garifuna language skills.

Expected Results

1. Language Development
C The lexicon is expanded.
C There is an international mechanism in place for the development of new words and its authority is recognized and accepted in the entire Garifuna Nation.
C There is a mechanism for promulgating the agreements emerging from the language development efforts.
C The Garifuna language is used in domains for which it is currently inadequate.

2. A Standardized Orthography
C Orthographic agreements negotiated by influential persons from the participating countries and published and accepted everywhere.
C An orthographic guide is published and widely disseminated.

3. The Acquisition of Garifuna Language Skills
C Materials for teaching and learning Garifuna available
C A cadre of persons available in each participating country to deliver classes in Garifuna Language and Culture.
C Schools participate effectively in the transmission of Garifuna language and cultural skills.
C Programs in place in each country to encourage and facilitate the acquisition and use of Garifuna language skills.
C Garifuna households are supportive environments for Garifuna language learning.

4. The Publication of Literature in Garifuna
C Publishing capability developed by at least one Garifuna organization in each country.
C Assistance available to writers in Garifuna to improve their work and to get it published.
C Writers are recognized and international awards given for outstanding achievement in writing in Garifuna.
C Distribution network in place to market and make published works available in each of our countries.

5. Fora Promoting the Use of Garifuna
C Garifuna established as the primary language used in Garifuna sponsored events.
C Periodic contests are held that require competence in Garifuna language and culture.

6.Secure Financial Resources
C Local sources of financial and other resources identified and commitments secured.
C Financial support secured from external sources.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

De Trujillo a la Barra del Cangrejal

Fuente: Lic. Antonio Canelas Díaz en su Libro:

LaCeiba, sus raíces y su historia 1810-1940 Antonio Canelas Díaz

En los primeros días del mes de Enero de 1810, sale del puerto de Trujillo un grupo de jóvenes Garifunas dirigidos por el líder Celestino García padre, rumbo oeste en busca de nuevas aventuras, siendo la primera cantidad masiva de habitantes en Llegar a radicarse en la deshabitada desembocadura del rió Cangrejal. Lo primero que hace Don Celestino es comprarle unos cocales que estaban en posesión de un olanchano de apellido Lazo, bis­abuelo de los también olanchanos Carlos y Jorge Lazo (7).

A finales del Siglo XVIII un barco portugués con procedencia de Mozambique, África, que venia cargado con negros para ser vendidos como esclavos en El Perú, naufraga frente a las costas del puerto de El Callao. La población blanca de la ciudad masivamente se lanza al mar salvando a los negros esclavos. Una vez en tierra les dan la carta de libertad. En recuerdo y agradecimiento a este acontecimiento, Don Celestino García funda en los cocales que le compra a Lazo, la primera aldea Garifunas con el nombre de El Perú, siendo el primer asentamiento humano en el actual Municipio de La Ceiba a raya de costa (8). Parece ser que desde mediados del Siglo XVI los indios Tolupanes Vivian ya en la aldea La Colorada, y otros indios ya habían fundado la aldea de Yaruca, ambas aldeas situadas en la Llamada Cuenca del rió Cangrejal (9).

A finales de 1810 otro gran líder que venia acompañando a Don Celestino García, de nom­bre Francisco Núñez (Llamado respetuosamente Papi Núñez), funda la aldea de Shatuyé, en honor al legendario y mítico Jefe Supremo Garifunas Joseph Shatuyé. Con el tiempo el nombre de esta aldea se castellaniza, suprimiéndosele la letra "h", Llamándose en la actua­lidad a los terrenos donde estuvo ubicada la aldea como los terrenos de Satuye (10).

Tanto las aldeas de El Perú como Satuye fueron edificadas en terrenos pantanosos, malos para la agricultura (en el caso de Satuyé), y no aptos para la pesca y el comercio marítimo (en El Perú). Esto dio motivo para que los tres grandes lideres: Celestino García, Francisco Núñez y Matilde Gotay, comenzaran a buscar un lugar que ofreciera mejores condiciones sobre todo para poderse dedicar de lleno al comercia marítimo y las labores de pesca. La tradición oral Garifuna le da los meritos a Francisco Núñez de ser el que descubre el entonces monstruoso Rió Cangrejal, confirmando Celestino García los beneficios económicos que representaba el trasladarse a vivir en la Barra del rió, con una desembocadura a todas luces estratégica, en el centro de la Costa hondureña, propia para el comercio y “en línea recta con la isla de Roatan”(11) Se le atribuye a don Celestino haber lanzado una Cléber frase ya olvidada: “La población que surja en esta región, será para siempre LA REINA DEL CONTRABANDO” (12)

Animados por esta expresión de un reconocido lobo del mar, a pensar de su juventud, las generaciones de jóvenes de El Perú y Satuyé, acompañaron a Francisco Núñez y Matilde Gotay a fundar otra aldea Garifuna en la lado oeste del principal ramal por donde desembocaba el rió en el mar, conocido como la Barra. Así en el ano de 1815, los Garifunas fundan la aldea de Pueblo Nuevo, actualmente conocido como barrio la Barra (13).

Existen otras versiones sobre la fundación de Pueblo Nuevo, asegurándose que para esa fecha comienzan a llegar primero en forma esporádica y después masivamente, los primeros campesinos olanchanos que venían huyendo de la miseria en que se encontraban por los pagos de los impuestos conocidos como “diezmos”, pero sobre todo la represión política a que nos referimos en detalles mas adelante.

Lo que si se da como un hecho es que para el ano 1820 comienzan a llegar masivamente a Pueblo Nuevo las primeras familias olanchanas huyéndole a la represión política que se desata contra la población civil en aquel vasto departamento. Debido ala agresividad característica de los olanchanos, un grupo de Garifunas abandona Pueblo Nuevo trasladándose a La Barra del Estero, donde fundan otra nueva ladea con este mismo nombre, ubicado en el actual negocio Queen’s burger. Se reconoce la fecha de la fundación de la aldea de Cangrejalito. Situada entre La Barra y Boca Vieja (14).

Principales Actividades
En el principio se dedicaron a las labores de pesca, tanto en el mar como en agua dulce. Los Garifunas de Pueblo Nuevo no tuvieron la tendencia de apropiarse de grandes extensiones de terrenos. Los único terratenientes fueron: Francisco Núñez y Matilde Gotay y Francisco Álvarez (abuelo) en Pueblo Nuevo; Celestino García en el Perú, Francisco Núñez, Celestino García, Carmen Moreira, Matilde gotay, Pancho Álvarez y Julia Sambula. Se apoderaron de grandes extensiones de terrenos en la desembocadura de los ríos Cuero y Salado Barra. El resto de los vicentinos se limitaron a poseer pequeñas parcelas alrededor de sus casas o champas de manaca donde cultivaban yuca, malanga, camote, el ayote, etc. Muchos de los cultivos de los Garifunas los aprendieron en la isla de San Vicente (Yurumei). Al llegar a la barra del Cangrejal se encontraron con las grandes plantaciones de bananos y plátanos en los sitios secos del pantano. No se sabe en realidad como llegaron las plantas de esta fruta al litoral Atlántico (15).

El Contrabando
En la Isla de San Vicente los Garifunas desarrollaron grandes habilidades y destrezas para dedicarse al negocio marítimo; a eso se debe que los primeros vicentinos de Pueblo Nuevo siempre prefirieron vivir a la orilla del mar, en vez de irse a radicar al interior del país. Los Garifunas del Litoral Atlántico comienzan a vivir en Tegucigalpa y sus alrededores a comienzos de 1950. Las facilidades que presentaba el Cangrejal de ser navegable y su cercanía con la Isla de Roatan les cayo de perlas, en una región totalmente despoblada sin ninguna, autoridad aduanal cercana. En el Siglo XIX el puerto de Trujillo "estuvo muy lejos de la barra del Congresal"(16).

Lo anterior fue motivo para que, desde que Llegaron a esta región, se dedicaran de lleno al comercio del contrabando, el cual les reportó enormes ganancias, originando una afluencia considerable de personas, atraídas por el espectacular auge económico de Pueblo Nuevo. En sus canoas, pipantes y barcazas monopolizan primero el contrabando en toda la Costa Norte hondureña, las Islas de La Bahía y Belice, para extenderse después a Yucatán, Tampico, Cuba, Jamaica y por ultimo en todo el Mar Caribe. Por consiguiente, los morenos vicentinos se encargaron desde un principio de hacerle propaganda a la riqueza del Litoral Atlántico. De todos los lugares que visitaban traían mercadería para ser vendida en Pueblo Nuevo a precios casi regalados. Este repentino "boom" comercial agarra desprevenidas a las adormecidas autoridades aduanales de Trujillo; quienes, "ante lo imposibilidad de controlar el contrabando coda vez mas floreciente de Pueblo Nuevo, terminaron por hacerse los desentendidos"(17). “Desde antes de que se fundara la ciudad de La Ceiba, el dinero comenzó o rodar por las playas del Litoral Atlántico"(18).


El Rió Cangrejal
Nace en la Cordillera Nombre de Dios, en una zona que era antes la de mayor precipitación pluvial de Honduras, formado por los ríos Viejo, Blanco y Yaruca, siendo su extensión de solo doce kilómetros. El terreno por donde corre es bastante inclinado formando grandes rápidos. Al Llegar su caudal a La Ceiba, Lleva gran velocidad y fuerza, lo que lo hace ser muy peligroso cuando est6i crecido y se desborda, pues arrasa con todo lo que encuentra a su paso. Fue descubierto por el grupo de exploradores Garifunas que encabezaba Francisco Núñez. Y Don Celestino García estudia por cinco anos los beneficios económicos que repor­taba el irse a vivir en la desembocadura del ramal de La Barra (19).

A lo largo de todo su cauce habitaban una innumerable colonia de Cangrejos Azules gigan­tes que muy pronto fueron perseguidos por las amas de casa para elaborar deliciosos plati­Ilos culinarios, a tal grado que para el ario de 1900 ya habían sido extinguidos. Los morenos vicentinos comenzaron a Llamar al rió, el Rió de los Cangrejos y/o el Rió Cangrejero para finalmente bautizarlo como el Rió Cangrejal (20). En las primeras cuatro décadas del Siglo XIX, el Rió Cangrejal desembocaba en el Mar Caribe por cuatro ramales formando un extenso Delta.

A) El Llamado Ramal de la Barra del Estero fue el primero en desaparecer a pesar de que por este cauce corría un gran volumen de agua que lo hacia ser navegable hasta frente al actual Restaurante Ricardo's en la avenida 14 de Julio. Comenzaba en lo que es hoy el Puente Saopin, continuando por la colonia El Sauce, Campo de Golf y el Hospital Vicente D'Antoni, Campo Atenas (después Llamado Naco y Victoria), atravesando diagonalmente el Barrio Solares Nuevos (todavía se puede observar la depresión de este cauce) hasta la escuela Francisco Moraz6n, la Financiera Popular Che vena, la residencia del Ing. Roberto Ochoa, continuando por detrás de Helados Castillo y la casa de Doha Consuelo Aguiluz de Castillo hasta el edificio Irías (donde estuvo Radio El Patio). Aquí se dividía en dos corrien­tes: La m6s grande continuaba rumbo norte por la casa de Sofía Becerra, el Restaurante Palace y venta de Pollos Cri-Cri Burguer, la casa de Maria Ester y Antonio Canelas Díaz, detrás de los Hoteles El Colonial e Italia, recto hasta el actual Estero. El otro pequeño ramal corría por la calle de El Imán hasta El Estero (21).

b) El Ramal Central fue el mas popular y visitado hasta 1974, conocido como La Barra, siendo el mas grande y caudaloso. Fue navegable hasta el Puente de Hierro construido por la Vaccaro Bros. Co. en 1921, predecesora de la Standard Fruit. Fue famoso por los balnea­rios y paseos que existieron en todo su trayecto como ser: La Julia, la Poza de los Vagos y La Poza del Estudiante.

Lo que fue el paseo de la Julia es actualmente un barrio de la ciudad, y su nombre se debe por ser el lugar que escogió la señorita Julia Matheu Dávila para organizar una serie de fiestas y picnics (22), que Legaron a ser muy famosas en las primeras décadas del Siglo XX, y a las cuales asistía la crema y nata de la juventud ceibeña. Su padre, el millonario español Antonio Matheu Mora, mando arreglar esa zona del rió "con jardines, canales y puentes estilo Venecia"(23), donde mando a construir al mismo tiempo su famoso palacio que lo Llamo Villa San Rafael, y que la familia bautizo como "La Heredad" (24). Los ceibeños comenzaron por Llamarle a este sitio "El Rincón de Julia", después el "Balnea­rio de Julia", para Llamarlo por ultimo como La Julia, nombre con el que se le conoce actualmen­te. Anos más tarde Doha Julia Matheu Dávila se casa con el español Valentín Vásquez. Por el ano de 1916, el notable poeta colombiano Porfirio Barba Jacob, director del semana­rio ceibeño "Ideas y Noticias", escribe en el paseo de La Julia su poesía "Canción de la Vida Profunda", después de tener "toda una semana de francachelas y Aficiones"(25).

La Poza del Estudiante toma su nombre del sitio donde se ahogo, a finales del Siglo pasado, un alumno de la escuela Pophanken, a inmediaciones del Puente de Hierro. Solo trascendió el apellido de este joven: Bretón, perteneciente a una familia de la colonia francesa de la ex ­aldea de Juan López (26). Se ignora de donde toma su nombre la Llamada Poza de Los Vagos, ubicada a unos pasos al norte del actual puente Saopin.

En su desembocadura, la barra de ese ramal media normalmente en los meses de verano "200 pies de ancho, pero en los inviernos su anchura se duplicaba a 400 pies y mas" donde se formaba, de repente, un traicionero remolino en el cual perdieron la vida muchos bañistas, sobre todo en los feriados de Semana Santa.

Los otros ramales por donde desembocaba el rió Cangrejal eran: c) Barra Vieja, y d) Boca Vieja.

En el año de 1840, los olanchanos dan inicio a la titánica labor de desviar las aguas profun­das del caudaloso ramal La Barra del Estero, con métodos y procedimientos rudimentarios, "a puro pico y pala", tal como lo relataban con cierto orgullo las personas que habían parti­cipado en esta hazaña, muriendo muchos de ellos en la acción, y entre los que se recuerdan: Jorge Mercadal, Lorenzo Zelaya, Roberto Arzu Cayetano, José Turcios Canelas, Nicolás Antunez, Roberto García Becerra, Francisco Lacayo Sandoval, Manuel Calix Funez, Ramón Calix Pagoada, Daniel Reyes Figueroa, Miguel Alvarado Colindres, Nicolas Calix Canelas, Francisco Figueroa, etc. (27).

Con esta acción se pretendía recuperar una amplia extensión de terreno que quedaba entre los dos ramales m6s caudalosos: La Barra del Estero y La Barra. Esta porción de tierra fue Llamada desde un principio La Isla, porque era constantemente inundada en los copiosos inviernos, peligrando la vida de las personas que se iban a vivir en esos terrenos. Antigua­mente, La Isla comprendía los siguientes barrios y colonias de la ciudad: El Sauce, Carmen Elena, parte Este de Solares Nuevos, 6arrio Alvarado, Colonia Panayotti, El Naranjal, colo­nia Zelaya, Pineda, La Julia, Los Luchadores, El Iman, barrio Potreritos, actual barrio La Isla, Instituto Manuel Bonilla, Colonia La Libertad y La Barra (28).

En este mismo ano, 1840, los olanchanos comienzan también otra titánica labor: El relleno del gran pantano en que estaba asentada la ciudad. El insigne maestro olanchano, Fernan­do Figueroa, consideraba como una haza6a injustamente olvidada por los ceibenos el traba­jo del desvió de las aguas del Ramal del Estero, y de la misma opinión era Don Zacarías Álvarez, otro insigne pedagogo olanchano. Para estos maestros esta hazaña duro 47 anos, hasta que Llega a La Ceiba, en el ano de 1887, Juan Francisco Carias, siendo el primero en utilizar sistemas modernos para la época en el desvió de lo que se consideraba las "inven­cibles y criminales" aguas del ramal de la barra del Estero. Esta experiencia la había adquirido Don Juan corno Administrador de la Rosario Mining Co. en San Juancito (29)

La labor de la construcción de los bordos de contención de este ramal, así como la canalización de las aguas, en que trabajaban los olanchanos durante todo un ario, eran destruidas en pocas horas por las fuertes crecidas de las aguas del rió en el siguiente invierno. En esta labor muchos perdieron la vida, cuyos nombres recordamos en párrafos anteriores, quienes fueron arrastrados hasta el mar por las embravecidas y desbordadas aguas.

Las primeras tierras en ser recuperadas las compra Don Juan Carias, organizando en ellas su famosa hacienda El Cacao, donde cultivo plantas exóticas como el Sándalo de la India, y una serie de palmeras que mando a traer al África, al Brasil y a varias islas del Caribe, siendo también famosa esta hacienda por la crianza de caballos árabes y peruanos, dando inicio a la organización de las grandes haciendas ceibeñas.

El Cacao abarcaba lo que es actualmente el Hospital Vicente D'Antoni y todo el campo de golf, el campo Victoria, colonias Suyapa, La Libertad, El Sauce y Lempira, parte de la Car­men Elena, colonia Bella Vista y toda el área del actual Instituto Manuel Bonilla (30).

“Abarrotaría Barauda",

Isidro, y la parte Este es ahora propiedad de los herederos Laffite-Solís. Al trasladarse a vivir Nueva Orleáns, la señora Pérez de Herrera vende el hotel Roma a la familia Blanco, quienes le cambian el nombre por hotel Americano trasladándolo a la entrada de la actual cervecería Hondureña, en el Barrio Ingles.

En la parte Sur de La Plaza de La Milagrosa, donde esta actualmente la venta de comida Cric Cric Burguer, a finales del Siglo pasado, el árabe Constantino Kokinos, instala la primera -fresqueria popular de la ciudad. Por el ano de 1917 su hijo, Nicolás Kokinos, la traslada a i avenida San Isidro donde hoy funciona la sala de ventas de Tropigas. El nombre de esta fresqueria era Salón Olimpia. En la esquina opuesta a la refresquería Kokinos, siempre en a Plaza de La Milagrosa, donde hoy funciona la mueblería Duron, la matrona Garifunas, Carmen Moreira, comienza su negocio de ventas de abarrotes al cual Llamo "Barauda", nombre de la mujer de Joseph Shatuye: Por el año de 1890 la tuvo que trasladar a un local mas grande, frente a la actual Casa Dip en la avenida Atlántida, constituyéndose en la primer gran abarrotería que tuvo la ciudad (79).

El desarrollo espectacular del comercio de La Plaza de La Milagrosa se debía, mas que todo, a su posición estratégica a la orilla del ramal La Barra del Estero y a dos cuadras al Sur donde estuvo la ultima aldea Garifunas del mismo nombre que por esa época contaba aun con un comercio floreciente. Poblada de grandes árboles (ceibas, san juanés, madreados, de hule y mangos) cobijaba bajo sus sombras a los indios Yarucas que venían a vender el producto de sus hortalizas y siembras, a través de la Llamada Calle La Yaruca y que, a partir de 1905, la colonia francesa Llamo Avenida 14 de Julio. Este comercio de La Milagrosa se, fue fortalecido con la construcción cercana del primer muelle que tuvo La Ceiba, siendo -construido por el año de 1895 por el potentado español Antonio Matheu Mora, del cual tenemos el siguiente testimonio de su hijo, Joaquín Matheu Dávila.

Las Grandes Inundaciones
Relatos de los viejos Garifunas y de los primeros pobladores olanchanos aseguraban que la inundación del rió Cangrejal de 1874 esta catalogada como la peor que se ha dado en toda la historia de esta regi6n del Litoral Atlántico. El invierno de este año fue un completo dilu­vio, a tal grado que el 16 de Septiembre todos los ríos y quebradas desde el Cuyamel hasta el Juan López, unen sus aguas al salirse de sus cauces, provocando una terrible tragedia. Son destruidas por completo las aldeas Garifunas de El Perú, Satuye y Cangrejalito, de todas ellas solo Cangrejalito volvió a ser poblada. Son arrasadas las aldeas de La Ceiba, Pueblo Nuevo, Palmira, El Confite, Búfalo, Bonito, Bonitillo, Montecristo y Juan López (El Porvenir).

Fueron enormes las perdidas en las plantaciones de bananos y plátanos, e 'incalculable lo cantidad de personas que desaparecen, ante lo furia de los aguas desbordadas, el Lito­ral Atlántico tuvo que ser repoblado " (31).

El ciclo de las grandes inundaciones del Cangrejal han sido las siguientes: 1834, 1854, 1874, 1894, 1914, 1916, 1924, 1934, 1938, 1954, 1974 y 1976 interrumpi6ndose de repente en este año (32).

Normalmente el caudal del Cangrejal era tan voluminoso que no se podía cruzar en los prolongados periodos de Lluvia, los que se iniciaban en el mes de Agosto hasta finales del mes de Marzo del ario siguiente. En el Verano siempre tuvo una corriente muy fuerte debido a los eternos aguaceros que caían en su cabecera, razón por la cual se construyeron pequeños vados y canales, la mayoría construidos por particulares para que pudieran navegar las barcazas que transportaban el banano y la mercadería de contrabando que traían del extran­jero (33).

Las peores inundaciones que se han producido en el Siglo XX corresponden a los anos de 1934 y sobre todo la de 1938, que fue prácticamente otro diluvio haciendo recordar a los ceibe6os la tragedia de 1874, pues "el caudal de agua que corrió en ese invierno par el Cangrejal era mas que exagerado"(34). El rió salto primero por encima del sólido muro de contención que, en 1935, había construido el Ingeniero Camilo Gómez y Gómez, uniendo entre si los enormes árboles de Higüero que habían crecido en las orillas del rió.

La enorme corriente avanzo en forma rápida sobre el terraplén del ferrocarril que desde el año de 1910 había construido la Vaccaro Bros. a partir de la fabrica La Blanquita, rumbo Este por la calle 15, hasta la pulpería de Don Julián Pintor en la avenida San Isidro, atravesando despu6s, diagonalmente, la propiedad de Don Atilio Alvarado (hoy barrio de la ciudad), hasta el Puente de Hierro. Entre el terraplén del ferrocarril y el muro de Don Camilo se forma un enorme lago que corría hacia el mar por el cauce de La Barra, arrastrando a su paso todas las viviendas y 6rboles que encontraba. Los residentes en esta zona, desesperados, abrie­ron grandes boquetes en el terraplén del ferrocarril. AI mismo tiempo, otra enorme cantidad de agua bajaba por el cauce principal del rió provocando un verdadero caos. Las aguas embravecidas se revalzaron sobre la ciudad al derribar el muro de Don Camilo, destruyen­do en grandes tramos el terraplén del ferrocarril (35).

Fuente: Lic. Antonio Canelas Díaz en su Libro:

LaCeiba, sus raíces y su historia 1810-1940 Antonio Canelas Díaz

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Caribs of Saint Vincent


The island of St.Vincent has a mixed population of blacks, Orientals, whites and Caribs. Before the coming of the Europeans and the other races that followed such as the blacks and the Orientals, St.Vincent was settled by Caribs who exists today on the Windward coast of St.Vincent (from Sandy Bay to Fancy) and at Greiggs (see fig 1). The island today has very few pure Caribs, most of them have interbred with the blacks and are now called black Caribs due to the colour of their skin.

This document describes the life of the Caribs before the Europeans arrived, the struggle to regain their lost land that had been taken away by the Europeans in addition to the life of the Caribs has it is placed in today's scenario.

There are many suggestions as to how the Caribs came to live in the Caribbean islands. It seems to most Historians that Pre-historic man from Asia were the forefathers of the Amerindians of the New World. It is hypothesized that during the fourth Ice Age, Pre-historic man from Asia while hunting the giant mammoths, had crossed the frozen Bering Straits and consequently entered into the continent of America, now called the New World (see fig 2). These Amerindians continued the migration southward into Mexico through the Isthmus of Panama and finally into South America (see fig 3). From South America, the descendants formed new tribes that spread northwards into the Caribbean, one of these tribes was the Caribs.

The Caribs migrated across Brazil through the interior of Guyana to the north until the coast of Venezuela and finally to the archipelago of the Caribbean islands in the pursuit of new lands and of Arawaks (an Amerindian tribe who were fleeing from the Caribs), (see fig 3). The Caribs occupied the north-western part of Trinidad, the Lesser Antilles of which St. Vincent is one and the eastern part of Puerto Rico (see fig 4).

The Caribs lived near a water source, here in St.Vincent and in other Antillean islands the Caribs lived on the coast. The reasons for living near the sea were because their diet consisted mainly of fish, the sea was a mean of communication between the Caribs on other islands, it was easy see an oncoming attack from their enemies and their wars always started from the sea. The Caribs did not settle on the larger islands because it was difficult to penetrate the island's interior and they did not need vast amount of lands for farming since they were warlike in nature. The windward side of the islands were developed so as to guard against attacks. The windward of the island often had the roughest waters therefore it was had to enter into the villages by means of the sea unless the coast was well known.

The Carib people were medium in height and lean. They had straight, long, black hair that was worn loose. Their brown skin was always painted with a vegetable dye called roucou. They had flattened foreheads that were considered a beauty. The Carib people were usually naked except for a loin cloth that was worn around their middle. The men were clean shaven since beards were considered a deformity and they were plucked out. They wore bracelets and necklaces made out of amber, shell, agouti teeth, seeds and coral. The men sometimes wore necklaces of their enemies' teeth. Their ears and lips were bore and smooth fish bones and ornaments were placed in them. The Caribs wore small idols around their necks called maboyas. On special occasions the men wore feathered head dresses.

The Caribs life was based on war, they felt that success in battle was the only road for power. War and power was an obsession with the Carib males. Even at the early stage of birth. When a male child was born there was a special ceremony where his father was cut with an agouti tooth, the father was supposed to bear the pain without flinching so that his son would grow up to be brave and strong in battle. The boy was then rubbed down with the fat of a slaughtered Arawak in hope that he would absorb the Arawak's strength and courage. As the boy grew older his education dealt mostly in the making and the using of weapons and making him strong for an initiation ceremony to test his skill that was to come at the age of twelve. Boys tried to improve their marksmanship by being trained to shoot down their meals from on top of trees.

The Carib's boy initiation ceremony was a transitional stage between being a boy and a warrior. On the day of the ceremony the boy was seated on a stool in front of all the warriors. His father explained to the boy, his future duties and responsibilities, after which a bird was beaten against the boy's body until it was dead. The boy was then deeply scratched with an agouti tooth and then rubbed down with the bird that meanwhile had been dipped into pepper. The boy was then given the heart of the bird to eat. During this whole ceremony the boy was supposed to show no sign of pain. He was then sent to his hammock for fast, he was given a warrior's name, taught the language and allowed to go on raids.

The Caribs fighting equipment were rather simple they were made from wood, bone and stone. They had war clubs, bows and arrows that were poisoned so that even a scratch was fatal, fire arrows, wooden swords and knives made of sharp rock. The Caribs fought weaker tribes than themselves, mostly their peaceful neighbours the Arawaks for food and women.

The ubutu, the Carib's war leader, decided the day that the attack was to be made. Each Carib man would collect a stick and make notches in it to count the days until the attack. Their attacks were made in the cover of the night. Before war the Caribs painted and armed themselves (see fig 5). They then worked themselves into a rage and set out for war. Once they set out they never turned back. The Caribs fought in their canoes or piragas from sea. These canoes held up to fifty men. These attacks were always sudden and brutal. They often started with a shower of fire arrows that immediately set fire to the thatched roofs of the enemies. The surprise enemies always flew out their houses to meet the savage Caribs who meanwhile would have grabbed their clubs and arrows and started to beat and shoot their enemies. They kept no order when they fought. When the fighting was over the Caribs that were often the victorious side pile the bodies of their warriors into the piragas because they refused to leave their dead and wounded behind. In the canoes were also the men and women they had taken for prisoners. They often sang songs of triumph as they sailed back home. The Caribs got awarded medals in battle for special courage. These medals were called caracolis, which was a crescent shaped copper medals that they wore around their neck.

Chapter 2:
The Social struture, the Religion and the
Culture of the Caribs.
The Caribs social structure was mobile. The social caste of the Carib community was:
i) the war leader or ubutu
ii) priests and elders
iii) warriors and hunters

All decisions for running the community was made by the men, therefore only men held the ruling positions. The ubutu was always a male whose position was not hereditary. He was chosen by the elders of his village. He had to have been a good warrior, proved that he was physically strong, brave and highly skilled in battle. When he was chosen, he had to carry out a raid, if the raid was successful his positioned was permanent. The ubutu duties were:

1) He was the leader for the raid.
2) He planned and decided when to carry out the raid and who to attacked.
3) He distributed the medals and the loot from the raid e.g. women who were given as slaves or wives to the warriors.
4) He chose the commanders of the piragas.

In times of peace each district was ruled by a headman called a tiubutuli hauthe. The headman supervised the fishing and the cultivation of crops, beyond this he had a very little authority.

Most boys were trained to be warriors, this was discussed earlier in the introduction. A small percentage of the boys were trained to be priests or boyez. The boys were apprentices to an older priest for several years. During this time they often fast and abstain from meat. They then went through an initiation ceremony, if they were successful their teacher would take them to his maboya (idol) where fruit, cassava and ouicou, an alcoholic beverage was offered to the maboya. The priest would then smoke and sang inviting the maboya to enter into the room. When the priest had thought that the maboya had entered, the priest asked the maboya to provide a special maboya to the apprentice if the maboya agreed the apprentice became a full fledged boyez or priest with his own personal maboya to help him perform his duties.

The elders of the villages were well respected. They were taken care of by their families and their relatives. The elders were all ex-warriors. They were the ones who trained the warriors and looked for the qualities in the ubutu since they were experienced.

The warriors were the ones who fought first in line, they were also the hunters for the villages. They were the common villagers.

The Carib males practiced polygamy. Marriages were arranged and girls married at an early age around sixteen to eighteen years. The husband provided a hut and furniture for each of his wives at the time of their marriage. If the wife committed adultery it was punishable by death. It was a custom for an unmarried woman to wear a garter on her right leg, at the time of marriage the garter was removed.
They did not have a family unit but a communal way of living, they were separated based on their sex. The men lived separately in their carbets or houses and the women lived in huts. Boys at the age of four were taken away from their mothers and placed in the carbets, because the men thought that if the boys stayed with their mother too long he would become soft. The women were expected to bear a number of children. If she was barren she was considered a disgrace.

The women and the men had different roles in the society. Men were supposed to be the warriors, priests, leaders, builders of houses and boats, craftsmen and hunters. The women were supposed to do the domestic chores, bring up the children, collecting firewood, bartering produce, weaving, hammock making and cultivating the land.

The Caribs main idol was the maboya. They felt the maboya controlled everything. Each person had his/her own maboya to ward of all evil. The Caribs also had their own good god or chemmen besides the maboya, the chemmen was thought to be stronger than the maboya. They felt when sickness occurred or they had a defeat in battle or death that a hex had been placed on them by an enemy maboya. To ward of these evils, a boyez was called in to carry out a ceremony, for example, if the person was ill, they first cleaned their houses and gifts of fruit, cassava and ouicou were offered to the maboya which were placed on a matoutou, a table for the maboya. The matoutou was placed at one end of the room and stools for each member of the family was placed at the other end. The boyez then entered singing incantations to called upon the patient's good god. The boyez, at this time would strike the ground three times with his left foot. He then proceeded to light a tobacco to smoke. He puffed the tobacco smoke about five times upwards into the air, after which he took the tobacco and broke it into fine pieces. These pieces were sprinkled on the patient. The boyez at this time would have prescribed a mixture of herbs for the patient and asked the family to take revenge on the evil maboya. If the patient was not cured the boyez told them a stronger revenge was needed.

The Caribs believed in life after death, but they had no wish for dying. They preferred to stay on earth to enjoy the materialistic pleasures. They ate healthily and took their medicines regularly. They consulted with piayes or magicians to call upon the devil for them. They tried worshipping the devil thinking they would have longer lives.

When a Carib died, he/she was examined to see if he/she died of sorcery. The body was then washed carefully and painted red. The hair was oiled and combed. The grave for the body was on the floor of he/she house. The grave was round. It was about four feet wide and six feet deep. The body was placed on a stool in the grave, for ten days relatives brought food and water at the grave and a fire was lit around it in order to prevent the body from being cold. At the end of the ten days the hole was filled. There was a ceremony in which, the Caribs danced over the hole. As a sign of mourning relatives cut off their hair. The dead person's possession was burnt. Later a feast was held over the grave, and after which the person's house was burnt.

The Caribs had great respect for the sea. They made sure when they were travelling by sea, they did not eat any crab or lizard or drank any water in fear of offended the ocean spirits. If they were carrying fresh water on their canoes they made sure that the water would not spill in the sea because they thought a storm would brew up, also for this same reason they never ate crab before a sea voyage. If they were passing over places where fellow Carib men had drowned, they threw food in the water in hope that the drown men's spirits would not capsize their boat. When they approached land they precaution themselves from pointing to it or talking about it unless any evil spirit heard and prevented them from landing there.

The Caribs main source of food came from the sea. The Caribs did not eat pig, salt or turtle since they thought it made them stupid. They neither ate much fat. The Caribs were thought to be also cannibalistic. Human flesh was eaten boiled or barbecued. The Caribs did not eat mammee apple since it was considered as a food for the dead. Sometimes soup was made out of agouti bones and ground provisions which were seasoned with pepper sauce, oysters and cassava flour. Fish was often grilled on wooden stakes and served with a sauce called couii. This was often eaten with yams or sweet potatoes. The dish that was the favourite with the Caribs was a stew made out of crab and cassava with a taumalin sauce. Taumalin sauce consisted of lemon juice, pepper, and the green meat in the shell of the crab. Their favourite alcoholic beverage was ouicou.

The Carib houses were rectangular shape. The houses were large about 40ft*20ft. The furniture in the house was rather sparse. There were hammocks, amais, stools, tables in addition to the maboya. Outside the house there was a storeroom in which household utensils, weapons, tools and extra hammocks and beds were kept. The Caribs slept on amais or hammocks. Amais was a piece of cotton folded and both ends were hung from the roof. The hammocks had a small packet of ash placed at the ends that were thought to make it last longer. The stools were made from red or yellow wood that were polished. The tables were made from latainer rushes. At nights the huts were lighted with candles that were made with a sweet, smelling gum.

The Caribs who were considered warlike were rather friendly to visitors. On seeing unfamiliar canoes approaching the island, the posted sentries would announce that there were strangers coming. At this point Carib men got on their canoes and paddled to the oncoming canoes, where they learned the other persons' attentions, if they were warlike the war started at that place if they were peaceful they were taken ashore. The strangers were then taken to the carbet or a tabouii which was the men's house in the village. There they met the leader where names were exchanged. The guests afterwards were taken to a stream where they washed and taken to a clean hut to rest on an amais. Meanwhile, the women prepared a meal for the guests such as roast fish, soup and crab stew. During the meal there were singing and dancing. The music was produced by reed pipes, drums and whistles. The guests were welcome to stay as long as they wished. When the guests left they were loaded with gifts of all sort.

Chapter 3: The Struggle of the Caribs to retrieve their land.

The Caribs had many struggles to survive the suppression of the Europeans after they took over their land, they were courageous enough to fight these people in the intentions of getting back their land. The Caribs only wanted to work their land and live in peace with nature. The Carib's lands were being lost to European's sugar plantations. St.Vincent had one of the best sugar lands in the Caribbean. The English had a greed syndrome in which they always tried to get whatever they want not caring who got hurt. Therefore to get maximum amount of land in St.Vincent, they wished that the Caribs would move to Bequia, but their population was too large.

The Caribs passive struggle was in their inside. They had to struggle to keep their culture, identity and family life. They tried to stick together and carry out their old traditions so that they could retain their culture. Although they tried so hard during their wars, when they got separated their culture flagged therefore it did not sustain after the influence of the Europeans. Their lives were not the same.
The Caribs felt there were no compromise for the freedom of roaming wherever they liked, therefore they made the ultimate sacrifice of their life to fight for this freedom. The Caribs dissatisfaction grew when most of their land were given away to the colonists from Barbados, Antigua and United States of America (U.S.A.). The Caribs knew that they would have to fight the English in order to get back their land. They got a chance when they were enticed to rebelled the English in St.Vincent by the Martiniquians. The Caribs destroyed the plantations by setting fire to it and murdering English colonists. These attacks were mostly guerrilla that were made in 1789, at that time the governor of St.Vincent was James Seton.

In 1795, the Caribs began showing alarming signs of activity while contacting the French from Guadeloupe, they were in the contact of Victor Hughes's assistants who were trying to spread the revolution from Haiti. To prevent this, the British sent out ships to patrol the waters of the windward coast in order to stop the French from communicating with Caribs in hope that this will stop their guerrilla warfare.

The government came to know in the first week of March that the Caribs were preparing for war. The body of defence, called the Colonel Militia, was being aided by reinforcements in Martinique. Martinique was in the hands of the English at that time and was the headquarters of the Commander-in-chief of His Majesty troops in the islands. The militia was called to arms. They were drawn up on the Parade Ground now called Victoria Park, to be addressed by the governor who told them their duty. Two days later messages were dispatched to the two main chiefs, Du Valle and Chatoyer, and some other minor ones. The replied the Governor got was that it was too late.

The Caribs planned that Chatoyer whould take the Leeward and Du Valle the Windward. On Sunday the 8th of March, 1795 news came to Kingstown that war had broken out. The Marriaqua Caribs had plundered the Le Croix Estate owned by Mme Croix. The Governor, James Seton immediately dispatched soldiers to go to Marriaqua under the command of his son Brigade Major James Seton and Major Sharpe. They succeeded in capturing eighteen of the Caribs, the others fled.

Meanwhile, further up the Windward coast, another band of Caribs was destroying the estates of Three Rivers. Another set of soldiers was dispatched, this time under the Command of Captain James G. Morgan with reinforcements headed by Lieutenant MacDowall and Keane. The militia of soldiers resumed their march on the windward highway after a night rest at San Souci. This band of soldiers encountered a body of Caribs on a hill, along the road to Three Rivers who opened vigorous fire with their musketry. Before they could retreat, Captain Morgan realized that they were now being attacked from behind as well. The Captain then fled to Kingstown with the lost of thirty-one men.

Du Valle glad with his success, pushed his men onto Dorsetshire Hill where they captured the post and hoisted the flag of the French Republic.

In the meantime, Chatoyer who was the Commander-in-chief of the Caribs, was working his way up to Dorsetshire Hill from the Leeward. The French at Chateaubelair also joined forces with him to fight at the British. Chatoyer approached fighting the English colonists very differently compared to Du Valle. Chatoyer did not destroy the property but directed his fury to the settlers. He did not destroy the properties because he hoped that if they should win the war, the plantations would be intact, so that it could be used. People claimed that while Chatoyer was fighting his way to Dorsetshire Hill, he earmarked Keartons. It is said that Chatoyer capture three young English men from Chateaubelair, Duncan Cruikshank, Peter Cruikshank and Alexander Grant and dragged them to Dorsetshire Hill where he hacked them to pieces on Saturday, 8th of March, 1795, singlehandedly, to display his hatred to the English.

After Chatoyer and Du Valle had united their forces, their next objective was Kingstown. The people of the city on hearing this were alarmed, the Governor immediately moved his office to Berkshire Hill taking a few important documents. Both Berkshire Hill and Sion Hill were strengthening their fortifications. The Caribs meanwhile were strengthening their fortifications at Dorsetshire Hill and Fort Duvernette, which was erected by the French in the support of the Caribs.

The plantations around Kingstown were ordered to be burnt by the Governor, in order to have a clear view of the Caribs approaching Kingstown, who from time to time made appearances at the Redemption Estate and Liberty Lodge. A small body of Caribs had made an attempt to stage an attack at the Government House at which time was situated in Montrose Estate, but they were driven off by the strong guards who were posted there. The Caribs once made an attempt to go to Kingstown en route Sion Hill, but they were driven away by the guns on the fortifications at Sion Hill.

In the second week of March, 1795, two war ships docked into harbour of Kingstown that had reinforcements sent by the English. The ship names were the Zebra and the Roebuck. On the 14th of March, at midnight, forces at Sion Hill divided into four and marched to Dorsetshire Hill in order to destroy it. The force consisted of:

1) detachments of soldiers both from the Zebra and the Roebuck.
2) Sailors and merchants from the harbour.
3) The Company of Forty-six.
4) the detachments of the local militia and armed Negroes at the rear.

The force moved up the hill in the darkness. Only when they were eighty yards from the fort did the Caribs and the Frenchmen who with the Caribs perceived them. The Caribs immediately opened a brisk fire. It was only when the English force was twenty yards away from the fort did they discharged. Most of the Caribs escaped in the darkness, but other Caribs and Frenchmen were harmed and killed. Only five of the attackers were dead and five were wounded. It was on this hill that Chatoyer died that night. He had challenged the Major Alexander Leith to a duel, because, he, Chatoyer was convinced that he could not be killed by mortal hands according to a legend, however this legend did not come to past because he was killed by the Major. The Major did not have much time to enjoy his victory because he was killed by the wounds Chatoyer placed on him. Chatoyer was considered a hero to the nation, although little information exists about him. Most of the information about him is hearsay. However, a rememberance monument has been put up for him at Dorsetshire Hill. There is also a memorial stone for the Major under the large chandelier of the Cathedral in Kingstown.

A few days after the Major and Chatoyer had died, Colonel Gordon, the head of the detachment force went to the town of Chateaubelair that was occupied with the Caribs and the French. He commanded that the town should be burnt down. The Caribs fled. The Chateaubelair Caribs and the Dorsetshire Hill Caribs met in the vicinity of Calliaqua, where they set up three camps. On the 21st of March, 1795, the important parts of Calliaqua were destroyed by fire set by these Caribs, the sugar mills in Arnos Vale, Villa, Belmont and Fair Hall were destroy by fire a few days later.

On the 5th of April, 1795, reinforcements of trained soldiers, sailed into the Kingstown Harbour on board the H.M.S. Montague. Other ships were soon to arrive such as the Experiment, the Thorn, the Alarm and the Scipio. The soldiers from the Montague, were landed on shore and marched to their quarters in Berkshire Hill.

Captain Lowman made an attempt to attack the Carib camps at Calliaqua upon request by the Governor, on 10th of April. His attempt failed and he had to retreat to Kingstown, the next morning. The only people who were successful in getting rid of the Caribs were the Light Infantry men, some Grenadiers and a detachment of the third battalion of the Sixtieth. They made a spirituous attack that made the Caribs flee in various directions.

Two armed schooners set sailed from the Kingstown Harbour, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Seton on the 25th of April. These schooners got reinforcements at Chateaubelair, where after, they set sailed to Du Valle's village on the Windward coast. The attack made there on the 26th was quite successful, twenty five houses were burnt and the Caribs' canoes were destroyed.
The Marriaqua Caribs and some other Windward Caribs who were joined with a few French and English slaves, took up positions at the Vigie eastward of the upper Warrawarrou Valley not very far from the Fountain Estate.

Seven bands of Caribs, 800 in all, on the 7th of May were seen advancing to Calliaqua. Calliaqua at this time was occupied by troops under the command of Captain Molesworth. A shot from the English camp was heard by the advancing Caribs that made them stop. A messenger from the Carib was sent to the English bearing a flag of truce. The messenger proposed that Captain Molesworth and his men should surrender. This proposal was rejected. Before any more negotiations should take place the frigate Alarm from Kingstown opened fire on the Caribs and landed 130 men. The Caribs fled in fright. While this incident was occurring in Calliaqua, another band of Caribs assisted by the French soldiers from Guadeloupe, consisted about 300 blacks and mulattoes had captured Dorsetshire Hill. The next day, the Lieutenant Seton made a successful attack on the Caribs near Calliaqua.

Reinforcements for the English arrived from Martinique with the much needed artillery. On the 11th of June, the reinforcement troops were ordered to marched to Marriaqua Valley to meet the Caribs. The troops advanced at night from Sion Hill. The troops were in several columns. The troops stationed themselves at the Agustine's Ridge at the head of the Biabou Valley, at the Iambou Pass near the Mesopotamia sugar works and at Calder Ridge. The attack began at daybreak. The Caribs fled in terror. Sixteen of the twenty-three dead troops of the Caribs were French whites. Among the sixty people who were taken as prisoners was a French Commander. The English lost one English officer, 13 soldiers and 3 militiamen. 3 officers and 55 privates were wounded. The Vigie fell into the hands of the English once again. The English continued to pursue the Caribs by three different routes. The English encamped at the Union Estate, where they waited for supplies from Kingstown. On the 15th of June the supplies arrived and the march continued in quest of the Caribs. The English halted at the Bellevue Ridge and finally they reached the Mount Young Carib settlement. The Caribs escaped and the English proceeded to Grand Sable where they smashed 200 canoes. Seven Englishmen died from fatigue during the march.

On the 23rd of June, English troops were dispatched to Owia aboard two droghers. They arrived at Owia on the 25th and captured it. The English had lost St.Lucia to the French again. This prove to be an advantage for the Caribs since they could have help from the French there. The Caribs made a new stand at Walliabou, but the guns of the Roebuck and the Thorn soon made them withdraw to a position above Chateaubelair where they opened fire upon the town of Chateaubelair, their success was small. Reinforcements from Kingstown soon arrived at Troumaca. The replacment troops included three six pounders and two howitzers. The Caribs soon fled to Morne Garou mountains.

On the 4th of August, an attack was made at Morne Ronde. After fighting for two hours, the Caribs retreated to the village of Du Valle. While going to Du Valle's village they were overtaken by English forces who killed them and took them as prisoners. Guards were posted both at Morne Ronde and at Richmond. The other troops were withdrawn to Mount Young.

At Owia, on the third of September, the Caribs made a raid at Owia. The English suffered a lost. Most of the English soldiers fled through the forest in the direction of Morne Ronde. The H.M.S. Experiment also rescued some soldiers who had taken refuge on a rock of the coast. On the 15th, 500 men from St.Lucia were sent to the Caribs at Owia. These men also brought provisions for them. The troops at Mount Young thought it would be best to evacuate, they arrived at Sion Hill on the 21st of September.

On the 22nd of September, the Caribs gathered at the Marriaqua Valley, and took up stand at the Fairbairn's Ridge. This cut all communication links between Kingstown and Vigie. When the relief troop for Vigie was marching to their position they were unexpectedly charged after by the Caribs. The English fled to Villa and Prospect with the Caribs hot on their trail. They were able to escaped to Fort Duvernette under the cover of the guns. The Caribs obtained most of the supplies the troops were taken to Vigie. The English losses amounted to sixty being killed and wounded.

It was necessary for the government to speak to the forces at Vigie but with the Caribs surrounded Vigie it was virtually impossible. The governor decided to dispatched two Negroes to go to Vigie. They took two different routes. Only one man returned, Thomas Nash. He was given his freedom for a reward and twenty Johannes.

In secret, the Vigie was evacuated and immediately occupied by the Caribs. This made the English more uneasy. On the 29th and the 30th September, reinforcements came on the H.M.S. Scipio. On the 2nd of October a large force of 1650 men attacked the Caribs at Vigie. The attack lasted for a whole day. When night fell the English Commander bidded his troops to retreat. The Caribs not aware of this fled in the darkness for a cover. So once more, the English occupied the Vigie.

The war continued, but it was not favourable to the English to the end of 1795, and 1796 held no brighter prospects. On the 8th of January, 1796, the Caribs launched an attack at the Vigie, the English retreated to Kingstown. The English losses were 135 privates and two volunteers, sixteen officers were wounded and one officer was taken as a prisoner. These events made the colonists feel despondent.

The English started to see promising prospects, when the Major General Hunter arrived from Martinique on the 12th of January, 1796. He soon got acquainted with the problems facing the English in St.Vincent. He set up a detachment group to watch the Vigie. The remainder of the army were post on the hillsides overlooking Kingstown. The Major on hearing that the Caribs were about to attack the Vigie, order it to be deserted on the 14th to Kingstown. The Caribs pleased by the fear the English felt for them, advanced closer to Kingstown, some stationed themselves at Baker's Ridge and the rest at Bow Wood. The Caribs were deciding to make an attack on Kingstown, but they were driven out by Island Rangers who had attacked them after the Caribs had set fire to the Bow Wood House. The English lost 50 men by killing and wounding. Joy spread into the hearts of the colonists when the H.M.S. Brunswick unloaded 300 men at the Kingstown Harbour.

The Caribs were forced to evacuate their position at Baker's Ridge on the 21st of January. The Caribs aimed shots to Dorsetshire Hill that reached the vicinity of Kingstown, however no harm was done. The Caribs retreated to the Vigie, they had lost many fellow Carib men and many were wounded. The wounded were sent to Grand Sable.

The English General Abercrombie had attacked the island of St.Lucia on the 27th of January, and he captured it from the French. This episode had a weakening effect upon the Caribs since they depended on the artillery and the provisions sent by the French from there.

General Abercrombie who had re-established St.Lucia set sailed to St.Vincent to make peace and order. He arrived in St.Vincent on the 3rd of June. The next day a fleet of armed ships disembarked at the Kingstown Harbour. The governor in his welcoming speech to the General commended him on the find artillery he had. The troops from the ships were quartered at Arnos Vale, Sion Hill and Cane Garden. The General recruited his army of 3,960 men and divided them into six sections. Each section was given specific directions where to fight, the first section was to fight at Marriaqua, the second to fight at Calder Ridge, the third to fight at Carapan Ridge, the fourth to fight at Belmont Ridge, the fifth to fight up the Warrawarrou Valley and the sixth who were the reserves were supposed to fight at the rear. Local people acted as guides. They advanced in the night. Between 6 am and 7 am on the 10th of June the Vigie was attacked, both gun shooting and cannon balls were discharged by the troops at Calder and Carapan Ridges and later by the troop at Belmont. At 2 pm all three divisions closed in, they stormed their way to the Vigie. The Caribs fled in terror down the hill, while the English took possession of the Vigie once more. All firing was ceased by both parties. At about 5 pm, when the English decided to start warfare again, Carib bearing a flag of truce approached them. The messenger said that the Caribs were ready to take submission. The next morning the Governor was consulted at 9:00, terms of submission were agreed on by both sides.

This was a blow for the Caribs, although some Caribs still gave trouble, they were finally subjugated. The among the last to give themselves up were Du Valle and young Chatoyer. By 26th of October 5,080 Caribs had surrendered. Most of the Caribs were then sent to Balliceaux and later to Bequia. On the 25th of February, 1797, Caribs were loaded on the H.M.S. Experiment and carry to the Coast of Honduras, stripped out of their homeland. A few Caribs remained, and dwelled in the part island called the Carib Country that extends from Black point to the most northern part of St.Vincent. Sandy Bay and Morne Ronde were the more populated villages. The Caribs tried to live in peace in the most rugged and uncultivated land in along the Windward Coast. The Black Caribs mostly lived in the village of Greiggs that is almost as unfavorable as this area.

Chapter 4: The lifes of the Caribs today.
As you drive along the village of Sandy Bay, you'll notice a few concrete houses in between the make shift shacks that the Caribs live in. The road is rugged and only a heavy duty vehicle could past. The road is lined with many coconut trees growing wild. Everywhere you look there is some sign of poverty, which the people are trying to fight. They have lost most of their culture and influence into the life of the English.

This village is populated by Caribs. The Caribs were at a disadvantage from the start of their settlement, from the Europeans who forced them out of their land, placed in an area of steep terrain and where got the worst destruction from the eruption of Soufriere. In 1812 when Soufriere erupted, the villages of the Caribs were destroyed. Some Caribs who could afford it, migrated to Trinidad, others stayed and tried to put back their ruins of their village into some workable order.

Most of the houses are board with galvanized roofs, if of a lower standard the roofs are thatched. The kitchens are outside, under a thatched shed. There is a fireside made out of three large stones. Wood has to be collected daily. the few richer Caribs living here could afford a kerosene stove and coal stoves inside their house. Huge iron pots covered with tar, are familiar utensils used by the Caribs. Pit latrines are familiar sites around the houses. The bathrooms are separate. the lives of the Carib here is rather secluded and primitive. Pipe water is rather rare and limited, electricity and telephone are not even available in these areas. Only a few could afford running water in their house.

Religion plays and important role in the Caribs life. Along the countryside, the roads are lit with churches from different sects, Catholic being the most dominant religion. It must be noted that the Methodist religion has not penetrated into the Carib Villages. Church is attended regularly, and the attire used are normal English clothes. The ministers of these churches do not always come on Sundays, due to the fact that the roads are not accessible, therefore a few villagers get together and keep worship. The doctor visits the villages periodically. Shops are rare and other Caribs from other villages often come to get supplies at Sandy Bay. this makes the cost of living expensive since the goods are more expensive due to transport.

Strips of cultivated land could be seen on the hillside of arrowroot, yams, eddoes, bananas and other crops. The popular means of transport here is the donkey and mule carts. Other means of transport are by foot. The trails are rough and rugged and often the Carib has to carry their produce from the mountains on their heads to their village unless they could afford a donkey. An automobile is rare in these parts and is a treat to see one in the neighbourhood. The Caribs sometimes go from place to place on the coast by means of canoes.

The unemployment rate of the villages is very high. The men and the women have different tasks. The men hunted, did the craftwork, fished, did peasant farming and wage larbour. The women do the domestic chores, collecting firewood, weaving, hammock making and bartering the goods.

The income the Caribs have is rather low. Most of the parents want a better life for their children when they are born, therefore they give their children to other people who are well-to-do, to take care of them. It was some kind of "adoption" plan. Most of the children got to a primary level education. the girls are usually taken out of school after a primary school education unless they did really well, then they went on to Secondary school. The education level of the school is rather low with a few passes since they are small and crowded since the population is very high due to many teenage pregnancies. The teachers are not very experienced and equipment is very small. The girls are taken out of school to help take care of the house and smaller brothers and sisters. On "banana day" the school is empty since most children help their parents to pick and pack the bananas. This results in a lower education standard.

Marriages for girls are rather young, around the age of sixteen to eighteen. The girl chooses her partner. After marriage they live with the girl parents until they could afford a house of their own.

The village of Greiggs is similar to the villages like Sandy Bay except it is a little more developed since it is closer to the city.

Chapter 5:
Sarah Baptiste was born in Campden Park on the 18th of November, 1909. Her parents were from Sandy Bay. she was given to the Da Sliva's family to be taken care off.
She became a nanny and went to work for a relative of the Da Sliva's. She had an arranged marriage to a respectful young man from Sandy Bay. At forty she decided to end her marriage with a divorce, during this time she had one daughter who had already grown up. Any woman who was divorced in the village was looked upon has a failure, but she was able to built up her courage to forget her fellow woman sneers and work for her keep. She should be considered brave since such few women could built up courage to end a marriage at forty to gain happiness especially when at this age women began to accept their life. Most of the women stayed with their husbands for financial support, but Sarah Baptiste was able to be an independent person, to earn her money and ruled her own life although her salary was small. She worked as a domestic in the Fancy Estate.

One day, the Estate Manager asked Sarah if she would liked to be a nurse on his estate, she promptly answered yes although she was scared of trying to learn a new profession at her age and starting a new life. The next month Sarah Baptiste enrolled in a midwife training program at the Kingstown General Hospital. she was the oldest trainee. She was at first embarrassed of her age, being a domestic and a Carib. She learned how to swallow her pride. Younger girls commanded her to do the dirty duties such as cleaning the sewage. She always smiled outwardly, but in her heart she was troubled, she continued her training program because she was determined to become a nurse.

She returned to Sandy Bay, to start her nursing career after her training. she was a nurse for 25 years. The job was hard and demanding since little medical staff was there in the village. People came from different villages to see Sarah Baptiste. Sarah was sometimes stationed at different villages each week. She soon came to be trusted, and she was soon popularly called mother, since she was the one who mothered the village. She was always responded to people calls for her at all times. there was one case in which an expectant father had come to her 2:00 am in the morning to come and see about his wife. The man lived at Windsor Forest which was only accessible by boat. Sarah Baptiste immediately got up and jumped into the canoe and proceeded to Windsor forest. She was in time to see the child delivered.

She tried to teach women self respect and protection for themselves. In one instance, Sarah had been called upon by a young wife during one of her beatings by her husband to help her stop her husband from bruising her in which she did successfully by scolding the young man who respected her and stopped.

She was the person who tried to make her community better, she spear-headed the Girl Guides, the Mother's Union and the Church. She often took over the services at church when the minister couldn't make it due to the bad roads. she started Sunday School for the younger children so that they come closer to God in spirit. She often did the work of the doctor such as prescribing medicines for patients. It is incredulous to believe that such a woman as Sarah Baptiste through all her midwife experience never lost a mother in child birth or a baby through all the hundreds she helped bore.

Sarah Baptiste is considered an inspiration for the Caribs in that community and also the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Chapter 6:
The Caribs are part of the integral Vincentian society. Although most of them stick together in their villages they grew up in.

The Caribs have contributed many things to the Vincentians. They have a historical background that they share with their fellow citizens. This adds History to the country, making it a more interesting place to visit by tourists.

Their culture still exists in traces. They have passed down dishes to the community of the Vincentians such as their soups. There are still witch doctors that exist in St.Vincent that claimed to help a sick person. Their hammocks is something of their culture that has spread widely through the Caribbean and to the extended world.

Agriculture was on of the main things that the Caribs have passed down to the people of St.Vincent. Crops such as yams, cassava and corn have been widely used by the community, which the Caribs and other tribes first planted. The Caribs today are important since they contribute arrowroot and bananas to the export market. They also are small peasant farmers.
Most of the Caribs are into activities in their community such as Girl Guides, Boys Scout and sports. They often play cricket and football during the seasons against other villages.

Caribs have been able to educate themselves and become better. Some people have gone into the medical field like Sarah Baptiste and most schools around Sandy Bay to Fancy are taught by local Caribs.

The Caribs were smart enough to stick together to retain as much of their culture today, but today most of them have been influenced by other people in the society to become English-like, which they exactly did in some of their food, their dress code and religion. therefore it could be safely say since the Caribs and other races of St.Vincent have been influence by the English, the Caribs would have no problem in mixing with the other people.

The Caribs have integrating quite well with the people of St.Vincent although they live in a community by themselves. the person's . Sarah this The Caribs has a part of the Vincentian Society. to the oftourist attraction to foreigners who wishes to learn the Caribs culture. Therfore, indirectly the Caribs help to provide income for the counttry. whonill or get rid of any evil surrounding the personhave been widely used by the people of St.Vincent and the othe regions of the world. These hammocks are one of the traces of the Carib culture that has been able to be sustain. ise and other smaller crops to the community which have spread throughout the island against different villages others into the teaching field, have sed,

Saturday, April 12, 2008

¿Quienes Son Los Garífunas?

211 Años de Nuestra Llegada a Honduras y Centro América

12 de Abril, 1797

La historia comienza en América del sur donde la gente que hablaba Arawak, un lenguaje amerindio, formaron una cultura basada en el cultivo de la yuca, caza y la pesca. Por el año 1000 D.C. algunos de ellos se movilizaron río arriba por el Orinoco, hacia el mar caribe. Ellos comercializaban con los Arahuacas, algunas veces incursionando en sus pueblos e islas, tomando a sus mujeres por esposas y esclavizando o matando a los hombres, de acuerdo a las historias contadas a Cristóbal Colón. La mezcla de los Arawakas y los Caribes creo una nueva raza la cual llamaron Caribes Isleños quienes continuaron hablando la lengua de los Arawak. En el Siglo XV muchos europeos visitaban estas islas y se fueron a vivir a alguna de ellas, trayendo africanos como esclavos para que realizaran los trabajos pesados , los caribes isleños pelearon fieramente para proteger sus islas, pero sólo mantuvieron Dominica y San Vicente o Yolome (Yurumei).

En el Año de 1763 dos barcos españoles cargados de esclavos naufragaron cerca de San Vicente y los esclavos a bordo escaparon y se refugiaron con los Indios caribe y estos les dieron la bienvenida y los protegieron con su cultura y tradiciones, de esta mezcla resultó una nueva raza híbrida de africanos y caribes isleños, con rasgos africanos y caribeños a los que se les conoció como Garífunas o Caribeños Negros, la mayoría de costumbres y tradiciones africanas se mantuvieron y se mezclaron con las caribeñas; es así como aparecen Los Garífunas (Karaphuna, Dominica) la cual es más cercano al nombre con que originalmente se les conoció. Ahora correctamente ellos son llamados Garinagu.

En ese mismo año 1763, los ingleses llegaron a San Vicente y en los años posteriores intentaron que los Garífunas les dieran sus tierras, intentaron persuadirlos con trucos, con compras, con canjes y otras artimañas más; Pero fue hasta el año 1,772 que los Ingleses provocaron la guerra contra los caribeños, En el año de 1,795 los Ingleses decidieron ponerle fin al conflicto y primero vencieron a los franceses que se habían aliado con los Garífunas y después vencieron a estos últimos, un total de 4,644 entre hombres, mujeres y niños fueron hechos prisioneros y trasladados a La Isla de Beliceau.

En el mes de febrero de 1797, llegó la orden de trasladar a todos los Garífunas a Roatan, en la Costa Hondureña. Después de cruzar el mar caribe y muy cerca de Guanaja, uno de los barcos fue capturado por los españoles y lo llevaron directamente a Trujillo con 289 Garífunas a bordo. Después de que el convoy ingles atracó y aseguraron la rendición del fuerte español en Port Royal el 12 de abril fecha que se reconoce oficialmente como el arribo de los Garífunas a Honduras. Se ordenó que intentaran recuperar el barco secuestrado por los españoles, se dieron varias luchas, sin embargo los ingleses no pudieron tomar La Ciudad de Trujillo teniendo que acordar una tregua con las tropas españolas y de esa forma recuperar el barco antes secuestrado con todos los ocupantes, desagraciadamente el barco antes de llegar a Roatan chocó contra un arrecife y se hundió. El 19 de Mayo de 1797 los españoles recuperaron nuevamente Islas de La Bahía, tomaron a varios Garífunas como fuerza laboral y los trasladaron a Trujillo, los hombres trabajaban como soldados y pescadores.

Poco después de arribar a Trujillo los Garífunas empezaron a explorar la costa caribeña unos hacia Belice y otros hacia Nicaragua.

Por el año de 1807 Los Garífunas se desilusionaron de los españoles y muchos se fueron de Trujillo estableciendo pequeños poblados “COSTA ARRIBA” hasta el Río Patuca y un poco más allá, otros se fueron al norte y oeste a lo que ellos llamaron Buger o La Boca del Río Dulce (Livingston). Así como a Dangriga entonces llamada Riachuelo Stam.

Estudios Etnológicos han probado que los Garífunas son las únicas personas negras de América que por más de 300 años han conservado su cultura nativa, esta cultura ha pasado por diferentes y constantes cambios pero ha logrado sobrevivir. Ellos comparten bastante con los Indios de las Amazonas como ser su lengua, Yuca, Pesca, bailes circulares, así como prácticas y creencias religiosas, sin embargo sus ancestros africanos han dejado una honda huella en sus bailes, tradicionales orales, estilos tamborileros y agricultura. En la actualidad son 300 mil Garífunas, viviendo en Honduras en donde han fundado 43 comunidades desde Puerto Cortes hasta el Río Paulaya en el este de Honduras, ellos mantienen su lengua Garifuna (además hablan español e ingles.) Actualmente están distribuidos en toda la costa atlántica de Honduras en los departamentos de Cortes, Atlántida, Colón y Gracias a Dios.

Tradición y Cultura Garifuna.

La cosmovisión esta regida por las creencias y tradiciones, la religión Garifuna se expresa en Dugú, cuyas raíces están en Angola, África; escogen las personas desde que están en el vientre materno son educadas desde pequeñas, quedan bajo el cuidado de una mujer que ha pasado la menopausia, quien también les hace la comida. Les enseñan a conocer las plantas, palabras, cantos y ritmos sagrados de tambores y las marcas, los educan espíritus llamados Jiyurujas (Orichas, Loas), son los carmas de Buyeis o Saurines difuntos, les enseñan los códigos espirituales y morales del pueblo Garifuna, cuando completan el entrenamiento le dan poderes y toman el nombre de Buyei o Saurin. Los ancianos son los que le dan seguimiento a la transmisión de ésta identidad cultural.

Las iglesias más antiguas son las de San Isidro y la de San Ignacio Loyola, construidas desde épocas de la colonia. Actualmente la mayoría de la población pertenece a las iglesias Católica y Adventista. Las iglesias organizan a la juventud para realizar actividades comunales.

Para cada evento los Garífunas usan vestidos diferentes, los que están vinculados a ceremonias religiosas, anteriormente las mujeres apenas mostraban sus pies, usaban blusas de manga larga, vestían de valeriana con faldas y batas largas, confeccionaban su ropa de manta. Los hombres para los actos sociales usaban pantalones largos y anchos, antes eran importados de Inglaterra, los adquirían en Belice, eran de telas de casimir, chasquín y lino. Para el trabajo utilizaban pantalones de azulón y camisas de coletilla, la ropa interior de manta. Los niños y adolescentes usaban pantalones cortos con tirantes, hasta que pasaban la adolescencia y trabajaban, con autorización de sus padres podían usar pantalones largos.

El alimento principal de las familias Garífunas ha sido la yuca, es utilizada para hornear varios tipos de pan y el cazabe, puede durar hasta un año en un lugar seco, preparan el pescado fresco y salado, sus comidas son a base de coco, utilizan el plátano, guineo, arroz, frijoles, ñame y camote. Ocasionalmente comen carne de res, crían cerdos y gallinas para celebraciones especiales.

Las comidas típicas son parte de la cultura Garifuna, algunas han ido desapareciendo por la influencia de otras culturas, la que todavía se mantiene es: el cazabe de yuca; la machuca de guineo o plátano, la cual acompañan con leche de coco y pescado; pan de coco hecho de harina amasada con leche de coco; atole de yuca cocida preparado con leche de coco; atole de guineo o plátano maduro cocido con leche de coco; tapado de guineo con coco y pescado; atole de masa de harina, leche de coco o leche de vaca; atole de camote cocido con leche de coco y canela; tamal de yuca rallada, leche de coco, azúcar horneándola encima de la estufa; tamal de guineo molido con leche de coco y azúcar y tortilla de maíz.

Aspectos socioeconómicos

Los Garífunas se dedican a la pesca, es uno de los rubros de producción más importante para los hombres, no utilizan venenos, son muy cuidadosos con ésta actividad, lo hacen para proteger su ecosistema marino, principalmente porque las técnicas que utilizan para la pesca la heredaron de sus antepasados los Caribes Arahuacos

La agricultura es considerada una actividad femenina, en la pequeña artesanía participan hombres y mujeres, son los hombres los que fabrican los utensilios del rallado de la yuca, la “ruguma” o culebra, escobilla de suyate que utilizan para sacudir el cazabe cuando lo están horneando; canastos; artesanías de madera: baúles, bateas, espátulas, mortero, tambores, cayucos, canaletes, achicadores; collares de conchas y nasas para la pesca; también trabajan en la construcción y carpintería. La modernización y la emigración al norte han modificado la cultura Garifuna.

Los Garífunas respetan los recursos naturales, consideran que han sido deteriorados por el desarrollo y la infraestructura que conlleva la destrucción, los proyectos turísticos los pobladores y los ricos de la isla. Consideran que “los turistas han afectado los recursos principalmente por que no son originarios de éstas islas, explotan los recursos, los destruyen y cuando ya no existan se regresan tranquilamente a sus países de origen con mucho dinero, del turismo se benefician más los dueños de hoteles y escuelas o clubes de buceo’’

La vivienda Garifuna era construida con postes de palos rollizos, amarrados entre sí, recubiertos con barro, techo de corozo o manaca. Algunas familias utilizaban caña brava en las paredes o corteza de palma real (yagua), los que tienen más medios económicos ponen techo de zinc y utilizan otros materiales como cemento para la construcción. Pueden tener hasta tres dormitorios con dos o tres ventanas. La cocina es pequeña separada de la casa, anteriormente ubicaban el fogón en el centro de la cocina, eran tres piedras en las que apoyaban un comal de metal.

Bailes y Costumbres Garífunas

LA PUNTA: Es un baile por parejas, ejecutadas después del descenso de un adulto. Lo bailan las personas de todas las edades y de ambos sexos. Tuvo su origen en Yurumei (San vicente). Se dice que cuando El Señor Angina (Jefe de los Ourellanas), derrotó al jefe de los Masaraganas, los triunfadores celebraron la victoria bailando “punta” de alegría y los otros en señal de duelo.

Desde ese momento pasa a ser tradición del Garifuna bailar punta cuando hay un muerto o en las celebraciones de las fiestas pascuales. La punta significa reproducción, como habíamos dicho anteriormente, El Garifuna baila punta cuando hay un muerto o en fin de novenario como signo de duelo y no como creen muchas personas que no comprenden su cultura diciendo que se hace porque el Garifuna se contenta cuando alguien muere. Antiguamente a la “Punta” le llamaban “landani”.

De la punta surge un subgénero que le llama “Coliou”. La diferencia entre ambas es que la punta se baila por pareja, pudiendo ser un hombre con una mujer o solo entre mujeres. Se baila generalmente descalzo para que se pueda mover con facilidad tanto el cuerpo como las piernas mediante los dedos de los pies.

Mientras “el Coliu” se baila formando una rueda y bailando hombres detrás de la mujer. Llega un momento que los participantes cambian de canción y los bailarines dan vuelta en direcciones inversas cambiando de compañera. La similitud que se establece entre las dos danzas, es que se bailan en los mismos eventos, su acompañamiento es con las mismas tamboras. Antiguamente el Garifuna establecía reglamentos en el baile de la punta.

Cuando era velorio a cuerpo presente, se cantaba acompañado de palmoteo de manos, y al necesitar algunos instrumentos, usaban cajas de madera, tina o lavamanos. De manera que podía haber un velorio cerca de la casa de alguien, y no molestaba en nada el cantar de las personas participantes. Hoy en día se usan instrumentos como tambores y otros. La punta es un ritmo contagioso, pero poco a poco está perdiendo su valor como baile autóctono propio del Garifuna.

A través de la música, la danza y el canto, el Garifuna transmite y conserva su cultura, su historia, con ellas celebran sus fiestas comunitarias, sus cultos y rituales como el “Dugu” y El Chugu que son ritos que se usan en los cultos a los ancestros difuntos. El Jungu es una danza suave, en donde bailan las mujeres, mientras los hombres tocan los tambores, mientras danzan las mujeres denuncian las injusticias y hacen un llamado a mejorar la labor comunitaria deseando que el futuro sea mejor.

Parranda: Es una de las canciones más bellas del Garifuna, la ejecutan acompañada de tambores, guitarra, maracas y otros. La parranda es la ranchera del Garifuna con la que el hombre lleva serenata a su amada y a sus amigos, La parranda es compuesta generalmente por hombres y surgió con los Garífunas “ascudun” y Gabgarui hace aproximadamente 65 años y desde aquel entonces según la historia, no ha surgido otra danza Garifuna. La Parranda expresa tristeza, frustración, alegría, desengaño amoroso y hasta la pérdida de un ser querido, sirve para fortalecer los lazos de amistad entre amigos, parientes y pueblos. Una serenata o parranda se realiza en las pascuas o en fiestas patronales. El grupo sale a visitar a sus amigos por las noches, con previo aviso, ya sea escrito o verbal, pudiendo llegar el caso que se haga improvisado. Algo admirable en la parranda es lo siguiente: Todas las personas visitadas tienen el deber de recibir a los visitantes y ofrecerles dinero siempre que sean para un fin determinado o en su defecto, bebida que generalmente consiste en aguardiente. Los visitantes o parranderos siempre llegan llamando a las puertas de las casas que se visitan.

Yancunú: Guanaragua, Maladi Yancuru o Baile de Mascaros: Es una danza guerrera, surgió en San Vicente (Yurumei) en el año de 1773, cuando el Garifuna se reveló contra los caribes primeramente debido a que estos no querían aceptar que el Garifuna conviviera con ellos en las mismas islas, y posteriormente contra el Ingles por querer éste negarle su derecho; de aquí surgió el desacuerdo y la enemistad que dio lugar a que el Ingles Criollo o Negro Isleño odiara el Garifuna, así también los Ingleses conquistaron a los caribes rojos para que mataran a los Garífunas debido a que estos se estaban multiplicando vertiginosamente y según ellos corrían el riesgo de perder el dominio de la isla. A pesar de que el caribe rojo ya había establecido la paz con el Garifuna, siempre lo miraba con recelo, pero terminó aceptándolo por mirar que los dos corrían la misma suerte frente al Ingles, y que solo unidos podrían defenderse. Ahora este melodrama lo ejecutan hombres disfrazados de mujeres, el disfraz esta compuesto de mascaras, yawis, faldas y camisas de las que cuelgan cintas de colores.

Pijamanate o Piyamanadi: Se dice que este melodrama se originó con una leyenda sobre un jefe Garifuna que abusó sexualmente de su hijastra, y el Garifuna no permite estos abusos lo mataron a garrotazos. Actualmente, en este melodrama se representa a un enfermo de hernia, que seduce a su enfermera.

Chorree tía: En este melodrama, los personajes imitan a una mujer que conquista y se burla del hombre. Los actores son todos hombres, cuentan que con esta actuación se describía como los españoles con engaños y trampas conquistaban al Garifuna y le arrebataban todos sus bienes.

Guarani: Se representa a una Santa Claus negro que llega con una mujer y alimentos, la mujer y los alimentos significan la fertilidad de la naturaleza y del ser humano, por eso guaraní significa “Anunciador de la fertilidad”.

Abeimajani: Este canto lo practican las mujeres, sobre todo las ancianas. Mientras cantan, mueven el cuerpo despacio, agitando caderas y brazos, se toman de las manos como signo de amistad.

Aramajani: Es cantado por los hombres, principalmente por los ancianos. Mientras cantan las aventuras del mar, moviendo el cuerpo despacio.

El Guañaragua es un baile o danza guerrera bailada únicamente por hombres vestidos con telas de colores vistosos, usan chinchines hechos de caracoles amarrados en las rodillas que los ponen a sonar al ritmo de los tambores, utilizan también una espada de metal o madera, la colocan en el suelo danzando la levantan con mucha presteza. El tambor sigue los movimientos del bailarín, éste baile se da más en época navideña (25 de diciembre y primero de enero).

Presiona en las siguientes palabras

Bandera de la Nación Garifuna

Mujeres Garífunas

Hombres Garífunas

Tragedia Happyland

Garifuna Blog