24 Things About The Garifuna Culture



  1. The culture started in the North Eastern South America and the Caribbean (From the edges of the Orinoco River into the Caribbean Sea)
  2. The Roots of the Garifuna culture come from Black Caribs and Arawaks. Labeling is topical – ROOTS is where the answer is!
  3. Saint Vincent is the place where between 1000AD to 1796AD the Garifuna were formed.
  4. For the Garifuna, God is feminine.
  5. The Arawaks moved up from South America (Orinoco Basin) around 0AD (birth of Christ); the Caribs moved into the Caribbean around 1000AD.
  6. Christopher Columbus met the Island Tainos (Arawak)
  7. On the islands, the Arawak had gold, elaborate dances, used tobacco and other drugs, they were a loving people who were organized via matriarchal lines.
  8. The Caribs were raiders and traders. Among their raiding, they collected the Arawak women – which will sooner be a part of the larger Garifuna cultural mix and language
  9. After the biological mixing of Caribs and Arawak, the children were organized with a patronymic organization. They started to take their names form their fathers
  10. The Garifuna people move extensively in a extensive territory
  11. In the early days the Garifuna were dominant in long distance travel by land and by sea
  12. There was egalitarian gender relations – where women could engage in extra-domestic realm, including warfare
  13. In Garifuna culture, the Shaman – a one-person operation, dominated spirituality.
  14. The British wanted to get rid of the “Devil Garifuna” from Saint Vincent
  15. The Garifuna village system was dominated by kin groups with their head men
  16. The Garifuna today, collectively, have blocked the period of violent terrorism of their fore parents from their minds
  17. When the Garifuna first came to Belize it was basically only men who came. They worked in the mahogany camps. Families eventually started to come from Honduras and formed their own villages: Barranco, Hopkins Seine Bight, Dangriga.
  18. Garifuna children are not as conversational with the language as the older generation today. Cultural change is having a stark effect on the transmission of the language to the new generations of Garifuna.
  19. Garifuna language is dualistic – forms for male and female. Garifuna is an Arawak language – not Carib
  20. In the Garifuna language, when there is a word with 2 syllables, the stress goes on the first syllable
  21. There is no “Z” in Garifuna language; there is no distinction between “sh” and “ch” – “Sheese” and “Cheese”
  22. In Garifuna culture, the religion is based on the concern for the unknown. To the Garifuna religion brings them to relationships with spirit ancestors. The religious process is done by ceremonies, music, dancing, healing ceremonies and they communicate through dreams.
  23. In Garifuna culture everybody gets to Seri (Garifuna Heaven). Hell is an introduced idea. In general, there is forgiveness
  24. The greatest challenge for Garifuna cultural erosion is happening now.

hopkins-belize-sea-foodPicture Credit: www.visithopkinsvillagebelize.com

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