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My Garifuna -> Gari-Cultural

Garifuna Holiday

04/12/02

Nugui, Felene Michelle Cayetano, Garifuna writer scholar granddaughter daughter sister aunt niece friend, propose we as Garifuna people adopt a day of commemoration for Joseph Chatoyer, whose war against colonialism ended in his death on March 14, 1795. On March 14 of every year, we should all take a moment to reflect on our exile from St. Vincent and the subsequent exodus towards Central America. We all know Chatoyer as our chief in St. Vincent who led the second battle against British efforts to enslave us in our homeland. We also know, from a marking on his killer's gravestone, the day he died; unfortunately, we have no record of the day he was born. This idea for commemoration came about as I was preparing to lecture about the history of Belize and the history of the Garifuna people to a group of middle school students. For two weeks I was immersed in books about the country I was born in and the heritage I was born into. The historical accounts about Belize were almost as consistent as history gets, but when it came to Garifuna history, every book said something else. These subjective opinions held little for me except the determination to A. be a historian, or find a good one so Garifuna history can be told truthfully and without argument, B. resolve that Garifuna people have to do more to preserve our history, and C. put my two cents into the matter (hence this article). Let me know what you think about those two cents by dropping a line or two at mailto:grigagyal@aol.com.
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