Garifuna group lists activities for SVG National Heroes Month
January 24, 2017

Garifuna group lists activities for SVG National Heroes Month

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation has announced a list of activities for the upcoming National Heroes Month.

However, the main event in these activities is the International Garifuna Conference, which would be held from March 7 to 9 at the Methodist Church Hall, under the theme: “Celebrating our Indigenous heritage and culture – from mainland to islands and return. Strengthening links, forging networks, claiming ancestral space.”

The conference commences with an official opening on March 7 and would feature an address from Dominican historian, researcher and former resident tutor at the University of the West Indies Open Campus Dr Lennox Honeychurch.

Documentaries and full length films on the history, lives and times of the Garifuna will be screened during the week of March 6 to 10, at the old Public Library. A Garifuna Village and Craft Market Centre will be set up at the grounds of the old public library, while a Garifuna Cultural Marketplace will be set up at Heritage Square on March 8 and 9.

Celebrations continue on Friday, March 10, with the third national school’s Garifuna folk festival, which would be held under the theme “Children of Chatoyer; fruits of heritage.”

This festival would be held with the single objective: to inform students of the island’s history. It will see students from various primary and secondary schools in attendance.

This year, each participating student would contribute one item that emphasizes the theme, whether in the form of dance, skits, folk songs, monologues, storytelling or instrumentals.

Students would also be asked to research and present Vincentian history during the local History Expo, hosted by the Ministry of Education.

Additionally, from Friday, March 10 to 12, the Garifuna Folkloric Ballet of New York, and the Garifuna music band ‘Generation X’ will showcase modern Garifuna dance and music at the Peace Memorial Hall, Heritage Square and at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) as part of the International Music, Dance and Cultural Festival.

All activities lead up to the wreath laying ceremony and journey to Greiggs for the annual Heroes Day Festival on March 14.

Speaking at the event launch, president of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation (TGHF) David ‘Darkie’ Williams said that these activities have been held over the years with a high degree of success and this year he hopes to “take it up a notch,” although there would be no new activities.

“Every year we will build huts and put information into these huts that people could walk in from off the streets, groups of students could

come in and get information to help to enlighten them,” he added.

Also speaking at the launch, head of UWI Open Campus Deborah Dalrymple, who will be partnering with TGHF, said Garifuna heritage, Kalinago heritage and African ancestry form the backbone of who we are as a people and is a heritage that we should claim.

She further stated that it is critical that young people

have that sense of pride and dignity which cannot be obtained unless they understand the impact, the heritage and influence of the Garifuna people.