A NAME FOR THE NEW GARIFUNA
ORGANIZATION IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Who Are The Garifuna? Some
The Garifunas are an Afro-Central American ethnic group
who originated in St. Vincent. They are descendants of West African,
Arawak and Carib Indian people. Unlike other individuals of African
decent, the Garifunas, never had a history of slavery.
There are a number of explanations as to how the Garifuna
people first arrived in Central America. The most common explanation
is that sometime between 1635 and 1675 a vessel carrying Africans
bound for slavery sank between Bequia and St. Vincent. Some of
the Africans survived the shipwreck and fled to the island of
St. Vincent. These so-called fugitive slaves inter-bred with the
island yellow Carib Indians, who were already present on the island
of St. Vincent.
On St. Vincent, the Africans quickly adopted the Carib
Indian’s languages and many of their cultural traditions. The
hybrid of Carib Indian and African produced is what we now call
In St. Vincent, the British colonists fought with the Garifuna
and the other inhabitants for control of St. Vincent. Despite
the fact, that the Garifuna and the other inhabitants on the island
maintained separate enclaves, they had a common interest in maintaining
the land. Initially, the Garifuna were successful at defeating
the British. However by 1796, the Garifuna lost the battle.
Five hundred and eighty Garifuna were found themselves
in Roatan, Honduras. This small group of Garifuna Survivors became
responsible for maintaining Garifuna culture, traditions, and
customs. Eventually, the Garifuna(Black Caribs) spread to Honduras,
Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize.
It is also important to note that some some anthropologist
and Garifuna people, also believe in other explanations of how
the Garifuna arrived to the Americas. For example, some Garifuna
believe that the Garifuna are offspring’s of a pre-Columbian African
element who made deliberate maritime voyages to the Americas between
1302 and 1307. These expeditioners originally came from the Mandiga
tribe in West Africa. They made several deliberate voyages to
the Americas to trade gold with the Europeans. This goes against
the theory that the Garifuna were shipwrecked slaves.
Today the Garifuna can
be found in the United States and all over the world. Most Garifuna
people migrate to larger metropolitan cities such as New York,
New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
They have created several social clubs and organizations
that focus on preserving the culture and addressing economic and
social issues in the USA and their adopted Central American homes.