Our Keynote Speaker:
Born: Puerto Castilla,
of New York; B.S. in Sociology, 1970. BSEE in Electrical
University of Texas
in Dallas; M.S. in Project Management, 1998.
Married; Rita Castro,
wife & 4 Children.
Supports our Aspirations for the Future"
Good day to all the ancestors
Good day to all the Garinagu present in this gathering!
Good day to Garinagu that are elsewhere!
Good day to all Belizeans
Good day to our invited friends, guest and our Killeen
November 19th marks an important day in the lives of the
Today November 18, 2000 we gather in
Killeen, Texas to commemorate the “en masse” arrival of Garinagu
in Belize in 1832. under the leadership of Alejo Benni, a group of
Garinagu from Honduras migrated to resettle in Dangriga, Belize
after they found themselves on the wrong side of a Honduran Civil
British recorded history shows that there were at least 150
Garinagu in Dangriga, Belize as early as 1802 engaged in farming and
fishing. The British treated the Garinagu as squatters and they
weren’t allowed any rights to the land. In 1857 the British told
the Garinagu that they must obtain leases from the crown or risk
their lands, dwellings, and other buildings….To prevent
Garifuna and Maya land ownership in Belize, the British established
separate reservations for these nations through the 1872 Crown Land
Despite the hardships and barriers
Garinagu made out with what was available to them; Today we
are celebrating a Belize National Holiday a tribute to the
resilience of Garinagu.
It is said that there is no rest for the
weary; This is true for the Garinagu. There are new obstacles to
hurdle; There are new problems to solve ….. That is…if we want
to continue being Garinagu. Globalization is the order
of the day, and many indigenous cultures are disappearing and in
their place appears a new set of prescribed norms and
guidelines that enables the populace to interpret the events in
their lives. Norms prescribed by these new guidelines include
but not limited to: Self gratification above all; No
distinction between genders; No respect is due to elders; Primary
goal is material wealth etc…
Is it important to identify
ourselves as Garinagu?
What is culture?
Is the affinity to a culture exclude others in a globalized
What are the contributions of any culture to the overall
How can we best transmit the culture to the new generation?
What is culture?
It is a set of ideas and realities that enables one to self
Components of culture are:
Knowledge: The natural cycle of the world is counted in
revolutions of the moon around the earth
Beliefs: Family is the building block of the Garifuna society
In the realm the sacred, Ancestors are our protectors
Art: Garifuna music; basket making; Boat making; House decoration
Morals: Garinagu respect elders
Laws…Based on Values and Norms
Values: Abstract ideals about what is thought to be good, right
Norms: Social rules and guidelines that prescribe appropriate
behavior in particular situation.
Customs: Garinagu give without expecting something in return; The
village can reprimand one’s children.
Language: Garifuna transmits ideas that have no direct equivalent
in other languages.. Nibu, Namule, Afuru…etc.
Garifuna Language has a non spoken component as well
Is the affinity to a culture exclude
others in the globalized society? I don’t think so…
An individual’s identity is formed through the experiences he
has within a family, the group
to which the family belongs and the mainstream
The family define to a child what is
right and wrong ; It also provides guidelines for interacting with
The group to which the family
belongs re-enforce the teachings because they share the same beliefs
When an individual interacts in the
mainstream society, an affinity to a set of values learned at
the home and reinforced by his cultural group give him strength in
acting in non familiar terrain.
Without a cultural affinity,
the child is bombarded with many foreign ideas that are encountered
in the mainstream society. All may be equally valuable…but how
does a young mind determine which one is right for him?
Nurturing one’s culture is not
meant to be exclusive; The natural way is for all to have a
sanctuary where one can assure the next generation a fighting chance
for survival. If others want to join a particular culture because
they think its good for their future then I see no problem
with this…But the Garifuna culture should be the basis of the
What are the contributions of any
culture to the overall populace?
Garinagu contribute to the globalized cultures in Honduras
As much globalization is heralded; Its
cultural components are derived from many indigenous cultures.
Its right and wrong
Its emphasis on individualism
It’s culture is a hodge- podge of indigenous culture
If the globalized society want to make
meaningful any of its practices it must refer to the aboriginal
roots of that practice.
Since aboriginal cultures are the contributors to the globalized
culture then why must I, a Garifuna, give up my ancestral culture to
adapt a mixture that I can’t understand
How can we best transmit the culture
to the new generation?
We can best transmit the culture by living it.
We live our beliefs and convictions so
that the new generation can learn from us. It is not enough
to talk about the past. It is important to integrate the culture
into the dynamics of living we find ourselves in today.
It is very difficult to live the Garifuna life as it was
transmitted to us by our forefathers because we are dispersed and we
are bombarded by foreign cultures; There is hardly any reinforcement
of Garifuna values since we don’t have many of us a one
The times we gather are of short duration that it almost
have no affect on reinforcing our beliefs and less yet on the
formation of our children.
We must support our
organizations in whichever community we find ourselves if we want to
continue giving life to our culture........
That is if we want to continue calling ourselves Garinagu.
Happy Settlement day to all!!!
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