March 3, 2015
Film on revitalization of Garifuna culture to be shown at IGS

Four films which depict the ongoing revitalization of Garifuna culture and slavery and the slave trade will be shown during the International Garifuna Summit (IGS) to be held here from March 9 to 16.

The documentary film, ‘Yurumein’, by Andrea E Leland, showcases stories and imagery from St Vincent, portions of which were documented during the Garifuna Heritage Foundation’s 2012 conference, will be shown on March 10.{{more}}

Leland’s film explores the painful circumstances by which the Garifuna people were exiled from their homeland of Yurumein (St Vincent in the Garifuna language) to Central America.

“Despite the genocidal intentions of the British, Garifuna culture has flourished in Central America, and in St Vincent we now find a social movement aimed at rediscovering our true history and reclaiming our proud afro-indigenous heritage and culture. Local Vincentians from various communities are featured in the film, which promises to be an interesting and in-depth exploration of the ways Garifuna culture is being reintegrated into the Vincentian social fabric, and the ways in which Central American Garifuna communities are involved in the process,” a release from the organizers said.

The second film, “Garifuna in Peril,” which will also be shown on March 10, is a film produced in Honduras, Central America and California, USA, by directors Alí Allié and Ruben Reyes. The film also chronicles the preservation and revitalization of the Garifuna culture, this time focusing on Honduras, as well as the Garifuna diaspora in the United States. “Garifuna in Peril” highlights the struggles of a Garifuna language teacher in his quest to construct a language school in his home village in coastal Honduras. His project becomes complicated when tourism development in the region expands into Garifuna lands, threatening the funding venture designed to initiate the school’s construction. Historical parallels are drawn between the threat tourism poses to Garifuna cultural survival and the British genocide against the Garifuna peoples in the 1700’s, the latter of which resulted in the Garifuna’s forced exile to Central America.

These two films will be screened on Tuesday, March 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Peace Memorial Hall. A screening of the two films for students is being organized in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.

On Thursday, March 12, two films focusing on slavery and the slave trade, namely “Slave Routes: A Global Vision” and “Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora,” will be screened at the Peace Memorial Hall commencing at 7 p.m.

These films were produced by well known film producer Dr Sheila Walker, who is also the keynote speaker for the Summit. The film “Slave Routes: A Global Vision” was supported by UNESCO and highlights the African presence across continents, the significant contributions of the African diaspora to the host societies in various fields (arts, religion, knowledge, gastronomy, agriculture, behaviour, linguistics, etc), and the racism and discrimination inherited from this tragic past. Its scope moves beyond the trauma of slavery and emphasizes slave resistance and resilience in surviving such a dehumanizing system. The film’s main objective is to give a global vision of the different dimensions of this tragedy and raise crucial questions regarding its consequences in modern societies in order to come to terms with this collective memory.

The second film is “Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora.” During the centuries of the African slave trade, an estimated 100 million African people were torn from their homelands. Dr Sheila S Walker takes viewers across the Americas, to Argentina, Uruguay and the United States, exploring past and current contributions that African people made to American culture.

The Summit is being held as part of the celebration of National Heroes and Heritage Month, under the theme “The Garifuna, A Nation Displaced – Cultural Rights, Economic Survival and Reparations.”