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Thread: The New Miss Garifuna

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    The New Miss Garifuna

    Franka Polonio is Miss Garifuna Belize City


    Friday, 04 November 2005

    By William Ysaguirre - Staff Reporter



    A new Miss Garifuna Belize City was on Saturday, October 29 chosen at the annual pageant which took place at the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall.

    She is Franka Polonio, a second form student of the Gwendolyn Lizarraga High School.

    She won the judges’ approval for her fluency in the Garifuna language, her ability to dance the new and traditional Garifuna dances and her scores in the question and answer segment about Garifuna culture, traditions and history.

    Hyrra Martinez was named first runner-up and Karima Martinez was chosen as second runner-up. The two other contestants were Sody Bernardez and Vashti Roaches.

    Franka goes on to represent the Belize City Garifuna community at the national pageant to be held at the Punta Gorda multipurpose sports complex on Saturday, November 5.

    That pageant will have candidates from Punta Gorda Town, Dangriga, Seine Bight, Hopkins, Barranco and Belmopan. There will also be a guest appearance by a visiting queen, Miss Garifuna Livingston, from Guatemala.

    Befor the night of the pageant, there will be a Garifuna solidarity mass at the St. Peter Claver Church at 10:00 A.M. The mass will be preceeded by a procession through the streets of Punta Gorda Town beginning at 9:00 in the morning.

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    Congratulations to Ms. Polonio.

    Your ANCESTRAL homeland, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is PROUD of U.
    Last edited by VINCYPOWA; 11-04-2005 at 04:09 PM.

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    Earth Angel dollbabi's Avatar dollbabi is offline
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    Congratulations to her. It's wonderful to see the culture alive in the youth.

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    cyan.mis.d.festival.again t-daughta's Avatar t-daughta is offline
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    That's awesome...

    I like it when pageants are used as vehicles by which to preserve and promote culture.

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    We were exiled from our Homeland Yurumein and scattered around the Caribbean Sea,
    No matter where you come from: Indurana, Wadimaluna, Balisina, Nigarawana, Merigana
    Garifuna Wagia!
    African descendants that were never enslaved,
    A celebration of our freedom!
    Recognize our diversity and our uniqueness,
    Knowing who we are and never forgetting our ancestors.
    Garifuna Wagia!
    The combination of peace makers and warriors,
    Is the ingredient of our Being.
    Garifuna people have the heart and the peaceful soul of our Arawak ancestors,
    We also possess the strength and courage of our Carib and African ancestors,
    Garifuna Wagia!
    We are people, who never lost our heritage,
    We never lost our Mother’s tongue.
    We never lost our Forefather’s traditions and beliefs.
    We keep our Ancestors’ Spirits alive within us.
    We are peaceful by nature,
    But we will always remain warriors in defending who we are.
    Garifuna Wagia!


    A poem by Cheryl L. Noralez

    If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at mamagapg@yahoo.com

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    The time has come for us to reclaim our heritage. Our culture should not be a theme for certain days of the year to celebrate. Our wardrobe should not be a costume that we pull out of the closet only on special occasions. Being Garifuna is an everyday duty. Garinagu are a well-mannered, respectful, proud and intelligent people. That is the kind of Garifuna that I was raised up to be, but I seldom see it nowadays around my community. I observe people who are embarrassed and ashamed to claim their Garifuna heritage. Yet other cultures do not shy away from representing and embracing who they are.

    Learning about oneself begins at home from our language, food, history and proper upbringing, traditions and clothing. We hardly appreciate and cherish our rich and colorful heritage. Many of us still allow the negative, insulting and biased remarks to affect us today. Those who insult us only do so because they are jealous and prejudice of the fact that we still maintain and nurture our culture, language and traditions that was not forced upon us by the Europeans.

    Our language is not being spoken at home. Our traditions are not being passed on. We are not teaching our children about our beliefs. People tell us all the time that we have to adapt and forget our back-home traditions and ways. I firmly believe that we can adapt into modern society and still preserve our culture and lifestyles. Other people like the Chinese, Indians and Samoans have been able to adapt and assimilate, yet they still maintain the sanctity of their culture. Garinagu can do the same: assimilate and adapt!

    All of us need to speak our language and those of us who do not know how to speak it, must take the initiative to learn it and speak it. We must start in our own homes with our children. Speak, eat, dress and live like a Garifuna. For those of us who know how to speak Garifuna instead of ridiculing those who don’t know it, teach them and help them to embrace the Garifuna language. A message to the parents: instead of waiting for your kids to come and ask you about their heritage, educate them about everything that has to do with Garifuna.

    There is no reason for us to hide and be ashamed of whom we are. We are no to be embarrassed about what we eat, the music we dance to and the clothes that we wear. We need to take every opportunity we have to represent our culture. The preservation of our culture is in our own hands. Don’t let others steal our heritage away from us and use it for economic reasons and for their own personal benefit. Let us take charge of our own destiny!

    Any comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at: mamagapg@yahoo.com

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    GARIFUNA ORIGINS PART 1: THE ARAWAK
    02/17/05
    By: Cheryl Noralez

    According to general history, around 10,000 B.C. a group of nomadic people, from Asia following migrating herds of animals, crossed the ice-capped lands from Siberia to Alaska. The Eskimos, Mayas, Incas and Aztecs are the descendants of these first travelers. Their migration eventually reached down the Amazon River and north into the Orinoco Valley, along the coast of Venezuela and continued through South and Central America. The Garifuna history begins with the Arawaks who are the original inhabitants of Yurumein (St. Vincent) the land of our ancestors.
    In 500 B.C., the Arawarks emerged on the banks of the Orinoco River. They traveled in dugout hollow canoes in treacherous waters and arrived to St. Vincent. They were the aboriginal settlers of the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The Arawaks were tall in stature and ranged in complexion from fair through dark with straight long black hair. They are a matrilineal society-people who trace their lineage from the mother. The women’s responsibilities were to take care of the family, cook, tended the farm and harvested the crops. The Arawaks practiced polygamy, meaning that men were able to have more than one wife. Arawaks believed in worshiping their ancestors. They believed that the spirits of the dead remained in their bones so they kept the skeletal remains of relatives in baskets inside their homes. The bones were kept in storage and hung from the ceiling of the house. The Arawaks’ belief in life after death was so powerful that great care was given to the departed and they were buried with gifts, and food.
    The Arawaks were an agricultural tribe who farmed, hunted and fished. They fished by using net and fishing lines made from plant fibers. They made spears from wood and tipped it with sharpened bone or shell. The Arawaks also used poisonous plant to catch fish; the poison would stun the fish so they could be caught by hand. They also had a taste for shellfish like conch, oysters and crab. The cassava or yucca was their primary food, from which they made flour and cassava bread. The process of preparing the cassava was extensive then and still is to this very day. The cassava had to be peeled and then grated. The Arawaks developed a way of straining out the poisonous liquid by placing the grated cassava in a “ruguma” which is a woven sleeve like snake that hung from a pole to squeeze out the poison. The dried flour would then be baked on a large hot griddle called a “comal” that was placed over stones and fire. The cassava was then laid out in the sun to further dry. The cassava bread did not spoil so leftovers where stored and eaten for months to come. The Arawaks made use of the poisonous sap by making beer and soup out of it. Their diet also consisted of vegetables and fruits that they harvested like corn, guava, mamey, papaya, squash, yams, and pineapple. The Arawaks also used twines from stripped palm branches to make string and they utilized it to construct hammocks “uguru”. The Arawaks had an uncomplicated way of life and lived in peace for thousands of years.
    The Arawak story is the first part of our Garifuna history that is often ignored and seldom told or known in our community. We tend to just dwell on the infamous sinking of the slave ships in the 1630’S that inadvertently saved us from a life of slavery. But, there is more to our historical accounts than that singular event. The foundation of Garifuna language, beliefs, food and tools can be traced back to our ancient Arawak forefathers. This vital part of our history should also be remembered and appreciated. Our Arawak ancestors contributed directly to our evolution. Remember that the fusion of the Arawak, Carib and African is what makes us Garinagu.

    If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to write to: mamagapg@yahoo.com

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    The inner-sense of being Garifuna that cannot be taught
    The core of Garifuna belief that you cannot read about
    The soul of our people is ancient.

    We continue to baffle those who try to explore and explain us
    A chameleon people who can adapt to any situation and environment
    A people who can camouflage among any race

    You will try to learn our tongue
    But we will learn yours first
    And make it our own.

    We defy explanation!
    We are a ghost of people who were left for dead on the Island of Roatan
    From those few, we have grown to be many.

    Our reach is vast from sea to land
    The mystique of our being will continue to intrigue you
    We are the past, the present and the future.

    We are the unity of three that makes us one
    The body of the African, the soul of the Carib and the spirit of the Arawak
    This is the essence of a Garifuna Being.

    A Poem by Cheryl Noralez
    mamagapg@yahoo.com

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    My Garifuna -> Garifuna 101
    DID YOU KNOW Part 2
    11/16/04
    By: Cheryl Noralez

    1. The meaning of the colors of the Garifuna flag: Yellow is for hope and liberation. White is for peace and freedom. Black is for Africa, death and suffering. This is a combination of 2 different definitions given by Garinagu from Honduras and Belize.

    2. The meaning of the colors of the Saint Vincent’s flag (Yurumein): Blue is for the Caribbean Sea. The green diamonds in the shape of the “V” is for Saint Vincent and the plural nature of the many islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Gold for the warmth and bright spirit of the people. Green is for the lush vegetation and the enduring vitality of the people.

    3. Did you know that the Garinagu owned over 9.000 acres of land in Saint Vincent.

    4. A small group of Garinagu woodcutters lived in Punta Gorda, Belize as early as 1802 according to records.

    5. One of Joseph Chatuye’s wives was a courageous woman by the name of BARUDA.

    6. Chatuye also had a brother by the name of Tayusan Du-Vallet.

    7. Did you know that the trend in the island of Saint Vincent is to name their children Garifuna names.

    8. In 2001, the United Nations recognized the Garifuna as a World Heritage Culture.
    9. The locals in Saint Vincent call the island “Hairoun” which means Land of the Bless.

    10. Historians in Saint Vincent believe that the Africans had arrived in the island prior to the infamous shipwreck. Therefore, the Garinagu race had already existed by the time Columbus discovered the Americas and the shipwreck just added to the population.

    11. Did you know that the British, in their struggle to infiltrate the Garinagu in their battle for the domination of Saint Vincent, tried to recruit one of Chatuye’s son by the name of John Dumney. They wanted to learn the language and the war secrets of the Garifuna people in order to effectively destroy them. Rather than betraying the Garinagu, John Dumney chose to reject the offer to sacrifice his people.

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    Registered Member VINCYPOWA's Avatar VINCYPOWA is offline
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    WALAGANTE – OUR HISTORY

    One of the concerns in our community is the lack of significance that our youths seem to have about Garifuna culture. We can not afford for our children to lose interest and abandon their customs. Without them to carry on our legacy, our traditions will surely dwindle and become obsolete. There is already a misplaced generation of Garinagu who do not identify or associate with their own people. Our youth today need constant encouragement and guidance from their family and community to become more actively involved in their culture and traditions. The responsibility of the preservation of our heritage lies in the hands of the elderly. Our children are relying on the grown-ups in order to learn the essential aspects of the Garifuna language, culture and history.

    It is time that we accept the grim reality that we adults are the ones who are failing our youth when it comes to their heritage. What are we actively doing on a daily basis to insure the preservation of our beloved culture? I’m not simply referring to the annual celebrations either, when we become nostalgic and want to dress up in our Garifuna outfits for that particular day. In order to make a significant change in our community, we adults must first acknowledge that we too have neglected part of our Garifuna culture. There are Garinagu out there who are proud to speak the language but know absolutely nothing about our history. We also have Garinagu who can recite our so-called-history by the book, but know nothing about our customs, language or traditions. All of us young and old need to work on being a more informed and well-rounded Garifuna individuals.

    The most frequent complaint in our community is that our children do not know their history. What I have observed within some of the Garifuna communities, is that the parents are not taking the initiative to teach the youth our history. I have also noticed that an alarming number of adults are unsure of the accuracy and validity of theGarifuna history. It is very understandable why some people question our past. Over the years, different versions of our origins have been told and re-written by numerous individuals with different points of view. When you read these books and articles on different websites some of the accounts do not coincide with what we were taught and told by our grandparents. We have to realize that a great deal of printed information about us was not written by Garifuna authors.

    There are published materials that are written by Europeans who have the tendency of depicting the Garifuna - Carib people in an inaccurate and negative manner. For example, the new movie The Pirates of the Caribbean II that depicts us Carib people as being man-eaters or cannibals. That is why all Garinagu must be held personally responsible for the education and preservation of our true story. In order for us to teach our children, we as adults, must first make an effort to learn more about our history. Many elders in our community feel that they know it all and that there is nothing new that can be taught or learned about our story. Historians are discovering new and fascinating information about our existence that is not easily available or known by the general public. It is in our best interest to acquire as much tangible and un-tangible evidence and recorded facts about our own history in order to study and dissect the information to weed out and separate the truth from fiction.

    Remember that before we can begin to teach, we must first learn what needs to be taught.

    Although the majority of us appreciate our Garifuna heritage, we find it more convenient to allow our kids to adapt to the American way of life and behavior. Our children are able to narrate the African–American history but know very little of their own. The basic information that our youth know is that, we Garinagu were never enslaved. Our youths do not know anything about Yurumein – St. Vincent, their true ancestral land. Our story is often told only from the time when our ancestors were exiled from St. Vincent by the English and not from the early beginnings going back to the fusion that took place between the Arawaks, Caribs and the Africans. We do not mention the life that the Garinagu had before the European invasion.

    Our children do not know anything about the Arawak and Carib natives that led to the birth of the Garifuna race. Also, they do not know the true story about our African ancestry; the Africans are merely labeled as escaped slaves and runaways in textbooks. There is a lot more to our history than what is told, our origins are more complex, our history is more vibrant and not just a simple adventure of a shipwreck in the middle of the Lesser Antilles. We owe it to ourselves and the future generations to be knowledgeable and intelligent about Garifuna culture and traditions. We can not accept knowing only fragmented information on the events that took place then.

    The Europeans had the good habit of recording the atrocities that they inflicted on their so-called enemies when they first came to the Americas. Let us find those documents in the libraries of London, Paris, Madrid and even in St. Vincent and let us evaluate the information recorded. Let us see what really happened from their point of view and compare the information that our ancestors taught us. Let us sit at the table with the governments of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Holland and all of those invaders who contributed to the attempted genocide and eventually exile of our people, the Garinagu. They need to be held accountable for their actions and allow us to have access to that information and bring closure to this chapter in Garifuna history.

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