March 4, 2005

Heritage celebration in full gear

President of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation, Zoila Ellis Browne has said that activities are in high gear for the celebration of National Heroes Month and Heritage Month activities.

She noted that this year also marks the 210th year since the death of Paramount Chief and this country’s first national Hero Joseph Chatoyer. Activities will be held under the theme, “Children of Chatoyer, Fruits of our Heritage.” {{more}}

Ellis Browne said the organisation, which was established since 2001, aims to retrieve the culture from various places in the diaspora where Garifunas live. “The more work that is done in relation to this culture, the more we realize that we are only scratching the surface of what remains to be done.” She also noted that the amount of work to be done on the Garifuna culture can be intimidating but they must retrace their steps and take the long walk back into history to strenghten young people’s ability to harvest in the future. The Garifuna Heritage President said while targeting young people through summer camps and a talent search, young people can learn from the Paramount Chief how to cope with the challenges of modern day living through the exemplary life demostrated through the struggles of Chatoyer.

“The contribution made by our First National Hero, Joseph Chatoyer to our country has exacted the highest price that any person can pay for their country and that is to die for it. That legacy teaches our children the highest values in relation to love of country. That legacy teaches our children the moral imperative of knowing what to stand for and for standing up and being counted when the need arises, despite apparently overwhelming odds.”

She also stressed that by claiming and reinterpreting the struggles of the past, young people can be taught to use these lessons to strenghten them today, so that they develop the moral fibre to resist making poor lifestyle choices.