HomeGAHFU AcademyCultural Program/LGECommunity RadioGarifuna Legacy ProjectFitness & WellnessCommunity DevelopmentYouth ProgramGAHFU GivingAbout UsDonateGAHFU StoreGarifuna History

GAHFU's Clifford J. Palacio Garifuna Language & Culture Academy
Bacalar - Bagala
Corozal - Gurusali / Pintou
Cristales - Kristalu/ Louba
Cusuna - Gusunougati
Guadalupe - Funda
Honduras – Indura
Iriona - ?
La Ceiba – Gumaga
La Ensenada – Beidirugu
Limon - Limún
Miami - ?
Puerto Cortes - Potu
Punta Negra - Punta Négura
Punta Piedra - Dübügati
Rio Negro - Blagríba
Rio Tinto -Riutintu
Roatan Island - Rubadan
San Antonio - Márugurugu
San Juan - Durugubuti Beibei
Santa Fé - Giriga
Santa Rosa de Aguan - Lawan
Tegucigalpa – Sigala
Tornabe - Lagiriga-wewe
Travesia - ?
Triunfo de la Cruz - Dúfigati / Trompu
Trujillo - Duruwiu / Sugabiu
Barranco - Barangu
Belize - Balisi
Hopkins - Yugadan
Monkey River - Mongiríba
Punta Gorda - Peini
Seine Bight - Seinbeidi
Stann Creek - Dangriga
Guatemala - Wadimalu
Livingston - Labuga,  La Buga
Puerto Barrios - Báriu
Quehueche – Chewecha
Gangadiwali – Sacred Garifuna place in LaBuga (The Promised Land). Garinagu in LaBuga are connected to this small parcel of land through their Ancestors. It has been forty years since the exodus of the Garifuna people from Gangadiwali began.
Nicaragua - Nigarawa
Bluefields - Blufil (?)
Orinoco - Urinugu
Sandy Bay - Sandibei
Saint Vincent & The Grenadines - Yurumein
Los Angeles - Lóunagülei Faradiu
New York - Niuyóku
United States of America - Meriga
Cayetano, R. (2005). The People's Garifuna Dictionary. National Garifuna Council
Flores, J. (1983). A Study in the Reading and Writing of Garifuna Spanish and
English.  Printed in California
Garifuna Institute. Copyright 2013. Taken from website www.garifunainstitute.com


12 April 1797
A convoy of vessels arrives to Roatan, Bay Islands, an English Colony then located nearby the Honduran Coast, hailing from the Island of Saint Vincent & The Grenadines transporting approximately from 4,338 to 5,200 Black Caribs [Garinagu].  The exact number of captured, tortured, and imprisoned Garinagu varies according to the different sources.  There were men, women, children, and elderly Garinagu who suffered this exile after their supreme Chief Joseph Chatoyer was assassinated on 14 March 1797.  Unfortunately, we will never know how many of our people died during this journey after having been defeated and later confined to a small, barren island known as Balliceaux.  Furthermore, around 2,400 Black Caribs died of a rare disease between October 1796 and March 1797 while on this small island.  The cause of death could have been attributed to yellow-fever or perhaps poisoned by the English.  Also, it is Why did it happen?  Was it because we were used as baits to fight the Spaniards who controlled Trujillo mainland Honduras?  Or was it to utilize Garinagu in the frontlines in a future confrontation against Spain?
It is important for Garifuna leaders in the diaspora engaged in the celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day, April 12, to take a moment to meditate.  Is it morally correct to continue to teach our children a warped history and to continue to misguide our youth?  It would be wise to come together and revisit this history and analyze.  This genocide, in the hands of the British, which our ancestors suffered, is still happening now in the form of racism after 217 years.  Is this a reason to celebrate or to reflect? Let us reason and meditate about our true settlement day that we, as Garinagu, should celebrate upon arrival not to Roatan but instead to Trujillo, Honduras on 17 May, 1797.  Port Royal in Roatan was then an English Colony when we were left to our own devices on 12 April, 1797.  Our true arrival to Honduras then should be on 17th May, 1797 as we were granted entry by the Spaniards into the mainland.  We must reevaluate our goals and focus on the issues of poverty and inequality in our communities produced by the lack of equal rights and access to quality education. 
28 November, 1859
The Comayagua Treaty was signed by the English Crown acknowledging the sovereignty of Honduras upon the Bay Islands.
July – September 1860
The Jose Santos Guardiola administration took formal possession of the Bay Islands and Mosquitia after an eminent threat of invasion by William Walker, a pirate.  William Walker was captured in Nicaragua and/or possibly in the Honduran Mosquitia then executed by a firing squad and buried in Trujillo in the month of September.  This pirate invasion was known as “La Guerra de Los Curas” [The Priest War], a movement promoted by Miguel Del Cid, a vicar, who pretended to control the proliferation of other religions.
24 April, 1861
President Jose Santos Guardiola publicly announced a pronouncement in English and Spanish
where he pointed out to the Islanders his firm desire to incorporate them into Honduran citizenship. On the other hand, it is a fact that the British concession of Roatan, Bay Islands was in exchange of then Honduran territory which they called British Honduras, now Belize.      
Therefore, Garinagu must ask themselves when did we arrive in Honduras? Which was our port of entry? Where did we come from? Which was our country of origin? What language do we speak?  We as, ethnic Garinagu, have a country of origin: Saint Vincent & The Grenadines with a centennial history, rich customs, culture, and even more importantly our own mother tongue, Garifuna.  Moreover, many Garinagu today still speak more than one language, English and Spanish.   Niduheño, don’t forget that our youth are the future.  Remember that every moment we live is a unique moment in our universe.  We have to take responsibility and do the right thing whenever possible so that our children will be forever proud.  Let us make an effort so that each and every one of us be the cause of our victory and a positive model.   
Before celebrating Garifuna Settlement Day, April 12, let us look around to observe the deplorable conditions in which our schools and health clinics in our communities are.  Many at times [in Honduras], we use these facilities to congregate and celebrate, but after observing such unworthy conditions, do we have the courage to spend our earnings in parties?  Let us take advantage of this settlement day to educate our own and those tourists who come to visit our communities about our history because all they know is that our traditions are simply to beat our drums and to dance our Punta.  What have we learned in 217 years since the exile?  Let me give you some clear examples of proud Garinagu who have greatly contributed to our survival: Jose Dolores Castro [Lamiselu] and Nicacia Bermudez founded Punta Gorda, Roatan; Catarino Castro Cerrano, was a writer who in 1921 published the book, “Honduras in the First Century”.  He was a foreign language teacher and an accountant by trade.  He served as a government delegate who founded the first institute [high school] in Trujillo “Instituto Departamental Espiritu Del Siglo”.   Agustin Villafranca Gonzalez was also an accountant by trade employed by Truxillo Railroad Company - Standard Fruit de Honduras, S.A. , which is part of Dole Fresh Fruit International and which originated with the Vaccaro Brothers.  Villafranca Gonzalez was also well-known in the community as a “Seer”, he would predict whether a pregnant woman was having a boy or a girl.   Alfonzo Lacayo Sanchez was a doctor graduated in Honduras specializing in Gynecology.  Moises Moreira Bernardez was a union organizer fighting for the rights of the workers under the Standard Fruit company who was a victim of persecution which led to his death.   Eduarda Chimilio de Ramos was the first successful bilingual [Garifuna-Spanish] teacher working in Honduras.  Tomas Vicente Ramos, born in Honduras, formed the Carib Development Society as a way to help the sick and render financial aid to bury their dead. Ramos also fought against the discrimination of the Garifuna people. His most well-known effort was when he lobbied the Governor to establish a Public and Bank Holiday to commemorate the arrival of the Garifuna in Belize.  http://mybelize.net/thomas-vincent-ramos-created-garifuna-settlement-day/
Lombardo Lacayo Sambula founded and headed Iseri Lidawamari Movimiento [New Dawn Movement].  It was organized in the early 1990s against Honduras agribusiness mogul, Miguel Facussé, who tried to seize Garifuna land in the Vallecito Limon, Colon territory.  He was elected Limon’s mayor from 1994 through 1997.  Garinagu considered Lacayo Sambula’s election to be the consolidation of Garinagu’s political activism in Honduras.  Isidro Sabio Gonzalez served as the first Garifuna mayor of Trujillo and he held the position as Statewide Supervisor of Education; he also founded Instituto Jose Santos Guardiola [high school] in Roatan, Bay Islands.   Abel Gonzalez Caballero was a prolific teacher for more than 30 years and served as the director of Instituto Espiritu Del Siglo in Trujillo.  Erasmo Zuñiga Sanbula was a virtuoso in poetry recital, he was well-known as being the founder of OFRANEH.  He took part in seizing of the border village of Mocorón under Somoza’s administration in Nicaragua.  Fausto Miguel Alvarez Garcia was a teacher with over 30 years in the field of education so much so that he became a pioneer in researching and investigation of the Garifuna culture traveling to every Garifuna settlement in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Belize.  They were Garinagu and not Afro-descendants. 
Some of the martyrs and victims that fell defending our land from Masca to Plaplaya:  Evson Andres Castillo, Yino Eligio Lopez, Eugenio Bernardez Bonilla, Guillermo Norales Herrera.  Let us not forget the martyrs of Chachahuate in Cayos Cochinos, San Juan Tela, the burning of the Garifuna community radio station “Fáluma Bimetu” in Triunfo De La Cruz, they were Garinagu and not Afro-descendants. 
Other bright and eminent Garinagu who have left their legacy: Guillermina Blanco-Guity, Dionicia Amaya, Gerardo Martinez Blanco, Enrique Dolmo M., Salvador Eusebio Suazo, Basilio Arriola, Xiomara Cacho, Lina Hortencia Martinez, Jessica Garcia, Gregoria Flores, Miriam Miranda, Clifford J. Palacio [educator Belize living in Los Angeles], Teofilo Lacayo, Carlos Domingo Alvarez, Ruben Reyes, Mario Alfonzo Loredo; all expert Garinagu in their own field not Afro-descendants. 
After 217 years of that tragic date, Garifuna leaders celebrating our arrival to these shores in Central America, should take a moment to educate and share this information.  Let us scrutinize the information pertaining to Settlement Day celebrations and let us be consistent, positive, and give constructive education of our true historic arrival to Roatan.  We arrived to Roatan, an English Colony then, on 12 April 1797; however, our true arrival to Honduras mainland must be acknowledged as 17 May, 1797. 
Now that the word Afro-descendant has taken precedence in Honduras, there are only a few Garinagu left who can effectively speak our mother tongue, Garifuna.  Afro-descendants are called those who do not speak our language and when spoken to in Garifuna, they answer, “I don’t understand”.  In the meantime, foreigners who arrive in our communities, immediately learn how to speak Garifuna as a way to penetrate and learn our culture.  If the money that is spent today in non-sense, would go towards education, Garinagu who don’t speak our language, would be proud to speak the language of our ancestors.  Unemployment, alcoholism, and drug addiction are some of the problems in our society.  Instead of investing money in celebrations, we should reconsider and spend money in schools, health clinics, and hospitals.  It is simply immoral, illegal, illegitimate, and anti-constitutional.       
Gonzalez, Melecio R. November 14, 2010.  Los Angeles, California.  Delegated to Rony Figueroa for its translation and dissemination.  
Ins & Out of Saint Vincent and The Grenadines. 2007.
Rogers, J.A. 1989. African Gifts to America.
Clarke, John Henry. 1993. Christopher Columbus and The Afrikan Holocaust.
Douglass, Frederick. 2003. The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.
Constitucion de la Republica de Honduras. Decreto #131. Enero 11, 1982.
Flores, Alfredo. July 8, 2011. Tiempo Newspaper. La Ensenanza de la Historia de Honduras Esta Llena de Mentiras.
Gonzalez, Nancie L. 2006. Peregrinos del Caribe, Etnogenesis y Etnohistoria de Los Garifunas. Editorial Guaymuras.
Payne-Iglesias, Elizet. 2007. El Pueblo de Truxillo: Un Viaje a su Melacolico Abandono. Editorial Guaymuras.
This article was written by, now retired Social Worker, Arufudahati Melecio R. Gonzalez and it was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on April 3, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.  It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.


Article 60 of the Honduran Constitution reads that all men are created equal in rights.  There is no privilege social class in Honduras.  All Honduran citizens are equal before the law.  It is punishable by law any act of sexual, racial, social class, and any other form of act which will affect the human dignity.  [1982 – Constitution].
Recent history proves us that the reality in Honduras is totally different, and that the law can be violated.  “Every time that an aggressor wants to break the law, it can be done”.  I would like to give you the following examples.  Every person who chose to break the law was someone who worked for the government and who had a salary, public servants, and no one was sanctioned not even by the power of the “Carta Magna”. 
12 March, 1937
One of the darkest days in the history of the Garifuna people in Honduras: The San Juan, Tela, Atlantida Massacre which was led by Tomas Martinez [caquita], a faithful soldier under the command of Tiburcio Carias Andino.
12 October, 1962
Ariel Magazine publishes “El Desprecio” [Disdain, Scorn] towards people of color, The Black Race.  An article written by Ramon Ernesto Cruz, a lawyer who later became the President of Honduras, who among other  ridiculous things he said:
“We recognize the importance of immigration and how it benefits our nation, it will bring us the satisfaction of having employment, and it will engrain us with a superior culture.  However, we abhor immigration because instead of benefiting us, it is a danger to the nation;  not only because of its complete depravity which it contributes to our already weak race but also because of the level of hypocrisy that it provides to our democratic endeavors, etc.  Almost every country in the world prohibits the migration of certain races into their territory especially those people of color, but our law does not make any exclusion including the above mentioned…let us be vigilant, as good Hondurans, for our national wellbeing and let us make an effort when reforming our immigration law, to prohibit the admission of Blacks into Honduras; otherwise in the near future, our country’s children will have to be evacuated from their own homes by this race.  This Black race is not welcomed anywhere.  [a note by Basilio Arriola. 14 November, 1989]”    
15 September, 1995
In Tegucigalpa, a Cobra Unit “by superior orders”, proceeded to the detention of 4 youth among them a Garifuna male by the name of Diomedes Obed Garcia, who was found dead the following day on the side of the highway leading to Olancho. 
In 1996
Rafael Pineda Ponce, delegate and president of the National Congress as well as a lifetime candidate to the Honduran presidency, declared: “The seashore of Tela cannot be used only by monkeys to climb the coconut trees to fetch coconut water.”  Pineda Ponce was simultaneously running for candidate to become a delegate and to run for the presidential contention of the republic. 
12 March, 2005
Tisby Jineth Bermudez Flores wrote a beautiful essay for our history when an advisor working for The Jose Trinidad Reyes Institute in San Pedro Sula [high school], denied her admission due to her braids; she alluded that “braids cannot be accepted in this learning institution”.  In spite of this racist action, the daughter of Chatoyer, did not shed a tear, nor did she ran away from the situation, instead she raised her voice in protest lifting her head up, and in the end, she was victorious and was admitted.
29 March, 2006
Miguel Angel Gamez, Intibuca, Nationalist Party delegate confesses his dislike towards Blacks when he publicly declared: “There are 6 Black delegates that is not right, that really bothers me, I feel as if I have been hit by a car”.  Yani Del Cid, Ethnic and Cultural Patrimony Secretary, responded by saying, “that expression clearly violates the anti-racial discrimination law and it is a crime” [article 321 of the Constitution].  This violation carries a sanction that includes 3 to 5 years in jail and fines of up to 30,000 to 50,000 Lempiras.”  Was he sanctioned? No he was never jailed nor fined.
5 September, 2006 La Tribune Newspaper
A clear violation depicted against women took place during the grand opening of the Ensenada Villa Resort in Tela:  Maribel Lopez Solorzano, an interim delegate, complained to the local authorities that the Liberal Party delegate for Atlantida, Antonio Fuentes Posas, called her a “Pendeja” [idiot, dumbass] because she was apparently trying to take his leadership.  As usual, nothing was done about this violation and the Congressional Committee on Ethics did not say a word either.
31 October, 2007 La Prensa Newspaper
HIV/AIDS epidemic virus is taking a toll on Honduras.  The Garifuna population is the best example.  Maite Paredes, Director of HIV/AIDS Program administered under the Ministry of Public Health, repeatedly said, at least 6 times, the word “Garifuna” alluding to the fact that Garinagu are the source of this virus in Honduras. 
12 November, 2007 Diario El Tiempo Newspaper
Diario El Tiempo from San Pedro Sula on a Monday edition published a well-documented rebuttal to the above mentioned fake article under the heading “Garinagu and HIV/AIDS in Honduras”, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
25 July, 2008
Judge Denia Fabiola Vargas from La Ceiba denounced verbal harassment including racist remarks on behalf of Judge Eduardo Cautelar.  This case came before Vilma Morales, Supreme Court Justice President but no one was admonished nor was any one capable of resolving this clear violation.  
28 July, 2009
Enrique Ortes Colindres, Lawyer and Chancellor during the “De Facto” Government declared: “I like the song ‘Negrito Del Batey’ [a Dominican Merengue song by Alberto Amancio Beltran]. Such expression in so much as ridiculous as it is, even when said by a lawyer, is as ‘Honduran’ as we are” .   Ortez Colindres was forced to retract his comments a few days later when he uttered pejorative comments against the President of the United States, Barack Obama. 
6 October, 2009 Ciriboya, Iriona, Colon
The first Garifuna hospital which opened the doors in a remote area by Dr. Luther Castillo, was violently attacked by a group of uniformed and armed soldiers who claimed to be representing the “De Facto” regime led by Roberto Micheletti Bain.  The soldiers claimed to be looking for drugs and/or weapons.  Apparently, the Honduran doctors who graduated from Cuba – excellent professional supporters who are not in disposition to accept money in exchange for the wellbeing of the town’s people, represent, one way or another, a menace to the Union of Medical Doctors who are generally made up of wealthy, mediocre, doctors.  Being a doctor should be an essential duty with social consciousness - , it should also be noted that the same level of responsibility can be assessed to the businesses engaged in the trade of health, it cannot be justified by no means, that this type of attack be directed towards a noble project with a noble cause.  The Garifuna hospital represents hope for the future of a number of communities which are abandoned in the deep jungles of the country which has given access to doctors committed with the appropriate facility to practice medicine free of charge benefiting the people themselves. 
6 January, 2010
At only six months after the coup de tat “golpe de estado” conducted by the militia against Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosale, Community Radio “Faluma Bimetu”, suffered a criminal attack.  This alternative community radio was founded in 1997 and it was destroyed for the very first time in 2006.  According Secundo Torres, a villager, member and leader of such community, “if we do not defend our property, who will?”  During the attack, he was beaten and his right arm was nearly severed with a machete, stated Dick Emanuelson.
20 September, 2010
Godofredo Fajardo, Vice Minister of Culture, Arts, and Sports, made an attempt to set up the actual Minister of this entity, Mr. Bernard Martinez (Garifuna), offering him 100,000 Lempiras in order to renounce to his post as Minister of Culture, Arts, and Sports.  Fajardo was in control of the national media and he could make it happen one way or another.  Mr. Bernanrd Martinez, as a legitimate descendant of Chief Joseph Chatoyer, did not fall into the trap and declared publicly that he is nobody’s clown to be manipulated and that he will never renounce nor quit to his post as Minister of such entity given the present conditions. 
Constitution of the Republic of Honduras Decree Number 131 – 11 January, 1982
Article 6 – The official language spoken in Honduras is Spanish.  The State will protect its purity and it will disseminate its teaching.
Article 68 – The teaching of the National Constitution of the Republic, its history, and geography is an obligation and it will be bested upon Honduran professionals. 
Gonzalez, Melecio R. November 14, 2010.  Los Angeles, California.  Delegated to Rony Figueroa for its translation and dissemination.  
This article was written by, now retired Social Worker, Arufudahati Melecio R. Gonzalez and it was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on April 3, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.  It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.


The massive influx of Blacks brought by the English to La Ceiba is intimately linked to the banana boom period and the founding of the second Barrio of the city; Barrio English.
In 1870, the first American company was organized that continuously buys bananas on beaches adjacent to La Ceiba and from the garages built in the branches of the Cangrejal River: Barra del Estero and Barra. This venture was able to place the banana production in the New Orleans market. We refer to the "New Orleans and Bay Island Company". The company’s executives made ​​the decision to go and hire, the shipping of the fruit by sea, manual labor which was better qualified than the Honduran from the English colonies in the Caribbean.  These colonies were: Belize, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent, Aruba, etc.  The  New Orleans and Bay Island Company believed that Honduran residents especially those from La Ceiba, were terrible workers, they wanted to work only a few hours a day; they would usually work only until three in the afternoon, and they would demand higher salaries.  Ceibeños would argue that La Ceiba residents were good for partying and beer drinking, since most of their time was spent drinking. 
As a consequence, in the middle of that year, and around the month of September, La Ceiba suddenly experienced a massive influx of immigration on behalf of the Black English.  Black English are those who were slaves and who adopted English last names and spoke the English language.  These Blacks came to La Ceiba with arrogance and pride.  Black English had a negative image of Honduras and came with the idea that the locals were an inferior race.  They thought that Hondurans were a group of begging, lazy villagers who could not or would not work.  They were thought of being very good at demanding excellent wages, though.   This negative image of Hondurans was planted by the high officials from the New Orleans and Bay Island Company to our parents and grandparents, who were always quick  to put down their discontent towards the Indians of this country.  The arrival of the Black English to the villages of La Ceiba posed a big problem to the banana company which was concerned about where to house these aggressive and arrogant Blacks. There was not enough dry land, by now, to quickly house the Black English and remedy this situation before it ended up being a huge conflict among them, the aggressiveness of the Olancho Indians, and the strong character of the Garinagu.  With the arrival of this new wave of immigrants, racism became more apparent in the daily life of the ever growing La Ceiba.  Ceibeños have had this conflicting image from its beginnings and it is due simply to the fact that it was made up of various ethnic groups.
The problem was so obvious: The Olancho Indians against the Garifuna and Black English and  until 1899, the Olancho Indians against the French and Spaniards.   The Garifuna against the Olancho Indians and Black English.  The Black English against the Garifuna, French, Spanish, and West Indians (Coolie) and, above all, Olancho Indians.  The French against the Spanish, Garifuna and Olanchanos.
Most Black English were highly classist, considering themselves as being "Royalty" [blue blood], dealing only with the rest of the population of the municipality as far as business is concerned.  However, many Blacks married and had children with Olanchanos.  
Once the arrival of the first Arab and Chinese immigrants around 1893, the racial discrimination got a bit more complicated and the level of aggressiveness incremented.  It all came to an end when in 1920, the famous Los Poquiteros strike [retail] took place and  everyone except the Black English came together and joined the positioning  artillery against the Sicilian family known as the D'Antoni Vaccaro clan, its supporters, as well as the rest of the Italian colony.   
The big solution to the problem of the relocation of the Black English came from Manuel Mejía who donated to the community of La Ceiba (it still was not a Municipality), a respectable amount of land along the coast known as Mazapan.  This property gave rise to the second Barrio in La Ceiba, the English Neighborhood [Barrio Ingles].  It remained for a long time as type of feudal land, territory where only the Black British could live.  Up until 1924, this neighborhood could not speak Spanish, nor could fair-skinned people walk their streets.  The only exceptions were the marines who belonged to the  Vaccaro Shipping Line Company.
Secoff, Mario. Presenta El Libro Electronico.  Taken from website:  http://www.angelfire.com/ca5/mas/H/g.html
This article was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on April 12, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.  It is the property of Mario Secoff Presenta El Libro Electronico. It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.


The reason Garifuna language became standardized is simply because without any grammatical rules and norms, how would you write the word SIx (6) in Garifuna?
Let us analyze the following combinations which are valid:

        cici        cisi          cizi                    
        cicy       cisy         cizy                   
        cyci       cysi         cyzi                 
        cycy      cysy        cyzy                 

        sici        sisi          sizi                   
        sicy      sisy          sizy                 
        syci      sysi          syzi                 
        sycy      sysy        syzy                   

        zici        zisi          zizi                   
        zicy      zisy          zizy                 
        zyci      zysi          zyzi                 
        zycy      zysy        zyzy                (36 combinations)   

And if we apply the stress mark?:
        cíci        císi          cízi                        
        cícy       císy         cízy                       

        síci        sísi          sízi                   
        sícy       sísy         sízy

        zíci        zísi          zízi
        zícy       zísy         zízy                (18 combinations)

Please note that these 54 combinations or words, I believe, that not one is repeated. That is the reason we cannot have freedom of choice when it comes to writing our language:
Who would dare to talk about Garifuna grammar and structure or even orthography?  Which of all of the example given, you think, would be the right word to spell Six (6)?

Guen to ti?         

Salvador Suazo

Sisi = 6  There is no "Stress Mark" on the first syllable because the rule says that any 2-syllable word is automatically pronounced putting stress on the first syllable unless otherwise Indicated as in the case of the word  "ayí" or "ayé".


Suazo, Salvador.  Taken from email dated October 28, 2011. garifunalink@googlegroups.com

This article was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on April 12, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.  It is the property of Arufudahati Salvador Suazo. It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.

Regional Standarization of the Garifuna Language: www.angelfire.com/ca5/mas/gobi/LENG/g01.html (in Spanish but you can Google translate it)



Birth of Villa de Duruwiu [Trujillo]
Trujillo is the oldest city in Honduras, and it was founded on 18 May, 1525 by Juan de Medina.  Today, one can still observe vestiges of colonial architecture, such as the Fort of Santa Barbara, which dates back to the sixteenth century.  The city is nested in the beautiful Trujillo Bay. This is the place where the first mass was held in the mainland American continent on 14 August 1502, and it happens to be the burial ground for filibuster and soldier, who became president of Nicaragua, William Walker. There are many attractive tourist places in Trujillo, including the San Jose and La Culebrina Batteries, Port Arthur, the tomb of William Walker, Cuyamel Caves, La Piscina, the cemeteries, the Pedregal Riviera, Rio Grande, Rio Mojaguey, Guaymito lagoon, and the Rufino Galan Museum.
Punta de Caxinas, named after the many trees that bear this fruit, was the first region in Central America discovered by Christopher Columbus in the sixteenth century while on his 4th and last voyage.   Punta de Caxinas is the same place where Villa de Trujillo [Trujillo today], it was also known as Trujillo del Pinar, Puerto de Honduras, Villa Ascension, and Puerto Juan Gil.
The First Capital of the Provice
In 1539, Pope Pius 111 declared Cathedral the church of Trujillo, from that time it was the headquarters of the Archbishop in colonial times; in 1561 it was moved to Comayagua. Punta de Castilla was the first port of entry into Honduras where the Spanish vessels would anchor as the bay was spacious and sheltered from the winds. In 1825, it was annexed to Olanchito, Yoro, which had the category of a State [Departamento]. In 1881, Trujillo was segregated from Yoro to form, along with the Mosquitia, the State of Colón, and Trujillo being the capital.  Trujillo was given the designation as capital of the State in 1532.  According to its territorial political division of 1889, Trujillo appears as District, with the towns of Trujillo and Santa Fe.
 The city of Trujillo was founded by Francisco de las Casas, Knight of Trujillo, which is the origin of the Port’s name. It is located on the Caribbean Coast and at the bottom of the Bay of Trujillo.  It is positioned to the North of the Sea of the Antilles, to the South of the Town of Tocoa, San Esteban, and Iriona; to the East of Limon and Santa Rosa de Aguán, and to the West of Santa Fe and Sonaguera.  The territorial extension is: 1.532 km ² It celebrates and honors San Juan Bautista [John The Baptist] on 24 June. It is surrounded by 7 villages and 114 caserios [hamlets] which include Bonito Oriental hamlets.  The population of Trujillo is around 43,498, and the region is considered among the most lush and impressive worldwide.  This port city is located in one of the largest protected bays and most beautiful in the Caribbean.  It was founded by Juan de Medina on 18 May, 1525, and whose colonial history is full of battles, fires, and invasions of pirates.  This left a legacy of Spanish, English and French architecture, such as Fort Santa Barbara, the Church Cathedral and an assembly of wooden buildings that adorn its architectural surroundings. The Museum of Don Rufino Galan is located in the a place known as “Pedregal Riviera” highlighting an interesting collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial pieces, which is annually visited by thousands of tourists especially during the summer holidays  and  Easter.  Moreover, Trujillo has the largest Garifuna population in Honduras giving it a different flavor with its own idiosyncrasies, unique to the rest of the country.
Garinagu, proud of their African and Native-Caribbean origins, jealously preserves their folklore and their language. Trujillo offers tourists good restaurants and recreation centers along the beach, where you can enjoy delicious seafood dishes.  The development of Trujillo was also attributed to the arrival of Garinagu, who settled on the shores of the bay.   Around the Garifuna community you will find a number of attractions.  South of town you can find Caverns Cuyamel, where archaeologists have found remains of pre-Columbian cultures.
Approximately 14 kilometers from Trujillo, via a dirt road, you will reach the town of Santa Fe [Giriga], a Garifuna community established in one of the most beautiful, unspoiled beaches in the world.  Down the road, you reach the town of Guadalupe, inhabited by Garifuna excellent craftsmen. Another point of interest is the Laguna Guaimoreto, exceptional birding in a totally natural environment. In the vicinity of the lagoon is the Tumbador Hacienda, where alligators are bred. Turtle Tours, is a local tour operator, offers tours to visit the crocodile reserve. A short distance from the entrance to the Laguna Guaimoreto on the road from Trujillo to Puerto Castilla, is a cozy little house called Kiwi.  
Garinagu settled in Barra del Cangrejal in La Ceiba and contrary to popular belief and opinion, they were proud and had a strong African, European, and Amerindian ancestral culture.  According to Brazilian Ruy Galvao de Andrade Coelho:  "One of the most extraordinary characteristics of the Black Carib culture was, their unity as a people; unity that was conceived by the combination of elements generated from their African, European, and Amerindian origin.  An outsider, non-informed individual about the history of the group would have difficulty in admitting that the current Garifuna culture, so complete, is the product of being a hybrid people which has coexisted with these three different traditions. "
Professor Angel Moya Posas published in, "The First Society from La Ceiba", that the first Garifuna who arrived in La Ceiba, Honduras, were strong and a resilient people more so than what the current ones show.  Garinagu were agile, having thick athletic bodies perhaps because they had just come from fighting long wars in their centennial struggles against the French and English; therefore, they were accustomed to facing adversity and resolving their problems successfully (22).
Recent writings confirm the assertions by Professor Angel Moya Posas:
"Secondly,  Ceibeños did not know that Garinagu were skilled in the art that later would be known as" guerrilla warfare"; for that reason, Garinagu stayed away from any conflict.  Garinagu boasted about their resounding victory over the invading French.  As soon as Garinagu returned to firm land from battling the French and as a farewell, the British ordered a discharge of cannon to repel the Black Caribs. To their surprise, Garinagu answered the attack with a barrage of shots with short range rifles, the English captain said, that was a fine combination of shots that I'd ever heard. "
Don Pedro Devaux, Teodoro Castaing, and Joaquin Laffiteau, French businessmen in who had recently arrived in La Ceiba, while at the Olympia Hall, commented that they were perplexed and amazed to find out how Garifuna elderly were speaking perfect French, hiring them to work in their businesses.  Moreover, Garinagu again, surprised them due to the fact that they could read and write in French, and computed perfect mathematical operations very quickly.
Vicente Gámez Nolasco reassured that. "Many Garinagu dominated French and English languages while on the island of St. Vincent, which facilitated their access to books and other documents in these language.  It was a common thing in La Ceiba to enter more than one Garifuna home and find elderly men and women, reading books in English and French "
Recent writings on black Vincentians recount:
"Most of the men spoke fluent French and English in addition to their own language, which they were very proud of" (26).  "Everyone can speak French ... and many of them are Catholics" (27)
Another example, "The next day, Braithwaite returned to the island and, on this occasion, was received by the Garifuna Chief in the company of 500 armed men with rifles. To his amazement, no one needed interpreters to communicate since the Garifuna chief and sub-chiefs, spoke excellent French "(28).  Once Garinagu established themselves in Trujillo, they easily learned the Spanish language.
Secoff, Mario. Presenta El Libro Electronico.  Taken from website:  http://www.angelfire.com/ca5/mas/H/c.html
This article was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on April 12, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.  It is the property of Mario Secoff Presenta El Libro Electronico. It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.


Garifuna Capsule No 70: (revised 30 March 2014)

There is a variety of artistic and cultural expressions within Garifuna society but the most popular ones are the festive dances, town’s celebrations, and ceremonials. Festive dances are observed on special cases celebrating the real Garifuna life. Town’s celebrations are observed during festivals dedicated to the patr...on saint of each community. Ceremonial dances take place during special events dedicated to the ancestors. Festive dances have this joyful character such as: Paranda, Purisilama, Hüngühüngü, Punta, Wanaragua, Gunchei, Satisi, and Chunba.


This is a protest dance by excellence and it is well-known as the Garifuna gathering dance. All of the songs that are written using the paranda rhythm are of masculine inspiration. The songs tell stories that satirize anguish, distress, anxiety, and happiness. These rhythm or dances are for all occasions and they can be used to serenade and entertain any informal event.


This rhythm is well-known also as Burusulama o Koreopatia. It is the pantomime, comedy, or farce dance, where in a festive scene, men are courting women. All the men dispute all the women that are present, but one of the members is singled out by both the men and the women. This is exclusive dance for the men where some of the men dress up as men and some in women’s clothes.


This is also known as Fedu, which is the feminine dance by excellence and very popularly celebrated during the Christmas festivities. All of the melodies that enhance this dance are uniquely of feminine inspiration. These songs are loaded with stories telling of anguish, distress, and happiness. It is danced by women of any age and the only masculine element present during the dance is made up of the banner bearer and the drummers.

This is also known as Bángidi, Pakün or Lándânu; it is a Garifuna people’s funeral dance.It symbolizes family unity not only among the living but also among those who live in the spiritual world. Punta is danced during wakes and in other ceremonies having to do with the passing of someone. Its rhythm is engaging and it can be danced in couples. The lyrics are generally of feminine inspiration.


This is known as the war dance of the Garifuna people. It emerged during the colonial days and it symbolizes the struggle against the European man. It ridicules the expansionist pretentions of man to colonize abroad at the expense of Garinagu. Wanaragua’ s attire symbolizes the traditional European colonial clothing, using masks depicting Caucasian features as well as vividly colored crowns worn on their heads with which they depict the appearance of kings in Europe’s Colonial era. Wanaragua is also known in Honduras as Masked Dance “Baile de Máscaros”.


Gunchei is also known as Ina we, and it is the revolutionary dance of Garifuna society. It commemorates the advent of the French Revolution: a new system of liberation for those people who were oppressed. In its beginnings, Gunchei was known as, by excellence, as the Garifuna aristocracy dance.


This is an exclusive dance for the elderly usually older than 40 years of age. Satisi is smooth and cadenced and it is rich in a variety of rhythms. It is characterized by its instrumental melodies. This is a dance that is in danger of extinction due to the lack of young musicians who could embrace its qualities in tones and because Satisi is difficult to register in musical notes due to its instrumental nature.


This is the dance of ability and liberation of sluggish energy. It is exclusive danced by males. It is danced in an individual form where the level of ability and skill in order to imitate the actions of the people around him. It simulates excellence, virility, superiority to the genius who surrounds him. Salvador Suazo states, “I reminisce about those celebrations back in my days in the Garifuna communities which have been slowly disappearing, it looks like those days will never be back.”

This is a list of legendary celebrations observed in the calendar during Christmas (December):

During the entire month of December, children’s games: Spin top, marbles, and putapaníñe
Day 12: During the morning time Indiuhaní - Indio Dance Day.
During the afternoon The Celebration of Indio Bárbaro - Warrau Indians
During the night time Lagumeserun Asayahani – Christmas Play (Pastorals)
Day 24: During the afternoon, the arrival of Wárini
During the night time Asayahaní – Christmas Play (Pastorals) and Misagáyu – Midnight Mass (La Misa del Gallo followed by Fedu Dance (Hüngühüngü)
Day 25: All day Wanaragua dance going from house to house
All day Purisilama Day (Koreopatía)
Day 27: All day Piamanadi Dance (Charikanari)
Day 28: All day Satîsi Dance
Day 29: During the afternoon Gunchéi Dance
Day 30: During the afternoon Sanbái Dance and Chunba Dance
Day 31: During the evening Asayahani- Christmas Play ( Pastorals) followed by Fedu Hüngühüngü Dance

In January

Day 1: During the morning Abusuraguagülei Day – Garifuna Salutation Day
During the entire day also Wanaragua Dance
Day 6: During the morning Esederehaní Day – Three Kings’ Day
During the afternoon Asayahaní – Closing of the Christmas Play (Closing of Pastorals)
Installation of Matahánburi
Day 7 through the 14: During the afternoon Hesederehan Matahanburi – Looking for Gratifications
Day 15: During the afternoon Closing of the Matahánburi – The return of Wárini marking the end of Christmas festivities

(All Rights Reserved).20.11.2012.
This article was written by Honduran Professor Salvador Suazo. It was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on March 26, 2014. This material was translated for the purpose of educating only. It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.


Garifuna Capsule No 2:

How many Garinagu arrived in Honduras?  Let us analyze first the number of Garinagu who were displaced from the big island, as they were placed into the small barren island of Balliceaux, later to  Bequia until they finally arrived in Roatán, Bay Islands.  1. How many Garinagu were captured in St. Vincent & The Greandines?  A lot has been written about the number of Garinagu who were captured in Yurumein as a prelude to their deportation to Honduran shores; let me present to you some facts:

War Office reports 22 June, 1796 that there were 5,000 Caribs (Garinagu) capturaded which included men, women, and children.  General Hunter reported that 4,633 Caribs (garinagu) had surrendered or had been captured between 4 July and 18 October 1796.  Shephard established that by 26 October 1796, a total of 5,080 Caribs (Garinagu) had surrendered and that only 4,044 were shipped to Balliceaux.

Nancie González stated that by 2 February 1797, 4,195 Black Caribs (Dark skin tone Garinagu) had been captured, 41 were slaves who belonged to them, and 102 were known as "Yellow Caribs" (Fair skin tone Garinagu), yielding a total of 4,338 prisoners, who were exiled to Balliceaux.  Version 6 confirmed by Cornelius Baptiste Sam, that a Vincentian Garifuna confided to me that, after many years from the expatriation to Honduras, several skeletons were found in the barren island of Balliceaux in a fetal position laid inside small baskets - gaunwere (this conversation took place in los Angeles, California during the celebration of the First Garifuna Symposium in 1992).

7 PRO, ADM. 1/1515, Cap. B 131a in Davidson William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: The Arrival of Garifunas to Honduras, 1797; 1983:91. It looks like González’s account in the number of Garinagu are definite and accurate, when she attests to the number of people reported by the War Office being 10 % higher than the actual number; in addition, it has been the same numbers used by several historians. This fact could have been the result of poor arithmetic skills or the need to exaggerate the numbers to suit their own interest.  I had access to the official list of delivery, of which, when adding them day by day, it yielded the number of men, women, and children who had surrendered; therefore, the total number tabulated officially is 10% fewer than the totals reported.


Immediately after, they were sent to Balliceaux [pronounced Bahlizó], and while they were in prison in this small island with no fresh water and food, crowded, unsanitary, many were victims of mistreatment, torture and assassination.   On 5 February, the order came to remove the survivors from Balliceaux and exile them to the Roatan Bay Islands under the leadership of Captain John Barret.  Barret transported Garinagu to Honduras: take on your convoy the necessary transportation and move forward towards St. Vincent utilizing with extreme caution the shipping of Caribs (Garinagu).  As soon as the vessels are prepared and ready to sail, you can proceed with your cargo Honduras Bay bound.  You can take them to Roatan or any other island located within the Honduran Bay coast that you see fit and appropriate for the settlement making sure that all provisions and tools are provided for the relocated Caribs.

On 20 February, John Barret sailed from Martinica bound for St. Vincent, and five days later he arrived in Balliceaux wherefrom the prisoners were taken to the Port of Bequia [pronounced Bekwei], and where the vessels were anchored ready for the repatriation.

Vengeance was to be expected and it was justified due to, among other things, the high cost of the displacement of the Black Caribs and the excessive number of prisoners which exceeded the capacity of the vessels.  7. 8.  Prisoners were embarked into a convoy of 11 vessels made up of: HMS Experiment (war ship with 20 canons), Ganges (ship with 16 canons), Boyton (military supplies ship), Fortitude (transport ship), Britannia (transport ship), Sovereign (transport ship), John and Mary (transport ship), Sea Nymph (food supply ship), Hospital Ship (no name), Prince William Henry (transport ship), and a Pilot Ship (from the Jamaican Navy).  

Garinagu onboard, provisions loaded for their survival, the squadron sailed towards the Bay of Honduras.  They left Bequia on a Saturday 11 March 1797.  11. 2. How may Garinagu were sent from Bequia to Roatan?  On 18 January 1797, it was reported that there were approximately 2,500 Caribs including men, women, and children; however, the British Admiral onboard reported on the same date that only 2,300 Caribs had been embarked.

González, attributes 11 March 1797 with a different number, 2,248 prisoners onboard a float made up of several vessels 12. 13. Two months before -18 January 1797- an official registry accounted for 2,500 caribs.  4. 15. This appears to be the final, official count 16.  During the journey, the convoy made a stop in Jamaica that lasted about two weeks (21 March –3 April) in order to repair the John and Mary ship which had water sipping problems.  After the vessel was repaired, the convoy continued its course towards the Honduran coast.  As the convoy was at a few distance from the Island of Guanaja, Bay Islands, the Prince William Henry transport vessel with 289 Garinagu and 29 guards onboard, changed course and it sailed away from the escort ship HMS Experiment and was captured by a Spanish ship and was taken to the mainland Honduras in the fort town of Trujillo along with its crew.  18. 17.  It was a coincidence that Capitán Saenz from the Spanish vessel, met up with the Prince William Henry vessel since its mission was to supply the Real Hacienda de Trujillo from Habana, Cuba.

22 During the journey, there were 806 women onboard.  The mortality rate during the five weeks of the journey was at 10.7% for the entire contingent, and I estimate [wrote González] that out of the 806 women, only 720 survived along with 643 children among whom disembarked in Port Royal, Roatan on 12 April 1797.  Meanwhile, the English convoy was approaching Roatan Islands, where  they landed at Port Royal Southeast side of the island, on a Wednesday afternoon  12 April 1797.

Port Royal was the designated end of the journey. It was a well-known English port facing the Western Caribbean sea. The Bay Islands area had been the focus of frequent territorial disputes between the English and the Spaniards since 1638.  As a matter of fact, seven port maps, at a greater scale, had been drawn by British officials between 1742 and 1785. The strategic importance of this port was due to the fact that it was well protected away from the strong Western Caribbean winds.  Its deep ocean waters close to the coast, had Keyes which were ideal for heeling of boats and sufficient enough to anchor a float of considerable size. Located at only 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the coast, the port was fit for anchoring to attack or protect the main ports located along the Central American coast such as Omoa and Trujillo.  Port Royal happened to be the biggest port in the Bay Islands where 20 to 30 vessels could anchor at the same time.  Its entrance is narrow and its coastal land is abundant with the Santa Maria trees which were used as masts for ships. 21.

During the night, the British crew started disembarking all the Garinagu.  For the very first time, 2,026 Vincentians made up of men, women, and children (19.20.22) had touched firm Honduran land.  A new cultural group had begun its life’s journey in Honduras. 23. 3.  Nancie Gonzalez reported 2,026 as the number of Garinagu who disembarked in Port Royal, Roatan on 12 April 1797.  In the first days of April, the British had occupied Roatan and left 2,000 Blacks to guard the island.  On 18 May  1797, Jose Rossi and Rubí estimated that around 2,000 Caribs (Garínagu) were left on the island by the British.  A British report dated 3 July 1797 registered approximately 2,000 Caribs (Garinagu) which included men, women, and children.  The year 1797, registered 2,000 Blacks having been exiled by the British in Roatan and during the same year, many were taken to the mainland Honduras in the port of Trujillo which is located in the vicinity. At the time of the arrival of Garinagu, there were plenty of provisions left with them to last at least 6 months consistent of: food, seeds, tools, fishing equipment, rum, tobacco, including riffles, munitions, and military uniforms. 29.


Article written by Honduran Professor Salvador Suazo and translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on March 26, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.


1.2. 3. 4. 1 PRO,WO 1/85 folio 224 en Davidson William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:96-97.

Idem Davidson, William V. 1983:96. 3 Shephard Esq. Charles: A historical Account Of The Island of St. Vincent; 1831:171 and González 1988:35. 4 WO 1/82:645 in Gonzalez, Nancie: New Evidence On The Origin Of The Black Carib", Utrecht, vol. 57 (3/4). 5 Idem González New Evidence … 1983:165.

(González 1983:148).  23 Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:92. González Nancie L. New Evidence on The Origin Of The Black Caribs Utrecht, vol. 57 (3/4) 1983:147-148. 24 González Nancie L. Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of The Garifuna 1988:21.

8 Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: The Arrival of the Garifunas to Honduras, 1797; 1983:91. 6.

10. González, Nancie L. New Evidence On The Origin Of The Black Caribs, 1983:148. 9 González Nancie L. Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of The Garifuna 1988:21. 10 (Fuente: PRO, Adm.1/1515, Cap B131 b,c; Adm.51/1226; Adm. 52/2976 a,b en Davidson 1983:91). 11 Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:91. González Nancie L. New Evidence On The Origin Of The Black Caribs, 1983:148. Shephard Esq. Charles: An historical account of the Island of St. Vincent; London, 1831:172. 12 PRO, WO 1/185, folio 224 en Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:96.

13 PRO, WO 1/690 page 57 In Davidson, William V. 1983:96. 14PRO, WO 1/690 folio 45 in Davidson, William V.1983:96. 15 González Nancie L. Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of The Garifuna 1988:21. 16. See González, Nancie L. New Evidence on The Origin Of The Black Caribs Utrecht, vol. 57 (3/4) 1983:165.

(Davidson 1983:92). 18 Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:92. 19 González Nancie L. Sojourners of the Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of The Garifuna 1988:39. 20 Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:92. 21 Vallejo, Antonio R: Primer Anuario Estadístico Correspondiente Al Año De 1889; Tegucigalpa 1997:90.

24. Others expressed that : 25. 26. 27. 28. 25 Durón, Rómulo E. Bosquejo Histórico de Honduras, 3ª edición No 1, 1982:108-109. 26 Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña: La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:97.  27 PRO, WO 1/ 692 folio 58 en Davidson, William V. Etnohistoria Hondureña:  La llegada de los Garífunas a Honduras, 1797; 1983:97. 28 Leyva, Hector M: Documentos Coloniales de Honduras. Colección Padre Manuel Subirana 3, Tegucigalpa 1991:298. 29 WO 1/82:719 en González Nancie L.: New Evidence on The Origin Of The Black Caribs Utrecht, vol. 57 (3/4) 1983:151 and in Burdon 1933:248.





Garifuna Capsule No 72:


A day like today, but in 1937 in the Garifuna community of San Juan [Durugubuti], an unprecedented event took place in the political history of Honduras.  Approximately a dozen Garinagu who sympathized with the Liberal Party, were executed in this region.  They were under the command of Tomás “Caquita” Martínez along with a confident of President  Tiburcio Carías Andino, who happened to be his bodyguard, and with the help of the local authorities among them , Pascual Valerio [the commandant], Florentino García [Waikara Free], Casimiro Reyes, Luciano Cayetano, Cipriano Estrada, Aniceto Castillo [Banyé] and Emérito Estrada2.


This crime took place at 9:00 am on 12 March, 1937 in front of the community’s Catholic church and it was christened with the name “The Massacre of San Juan” even though a local Honduran poet renamed it with the nickname “El Día De Las Fotos” [Day of The Portraits].




The Carias [Cariista] dictatorship was just beginning.  Tiburcio Carías Andino had been elected constitutionally as president of the young Honduran Republic for a period of 4 years (1933-1937), according to article 110 of the political constitution of 1924.  Therefore, in 1936, it was time to celebrate new elections in order for the newly elected president to take office in the month of February of the following year.  However, calling for new elections, it meant for Carias, to give up his throne to the Liberal Party.  The consequences of this turn of events happening would bring drastic changes which meant to modify the “class system” that prevailed.  It meant to elect a Capitalist that was committed to the people.  Such possibility was objected by the big players at the time made up of the banana republic monopolies who opposed a formal democracy professed by the Liberals and alleged enemies of the Liberal leader at that moment, Ángel Zúñiga Huete, whom they criticized for his arrogance and pointed remarks.  


The banana companies and the land owners accorded then not to call for elections and to prolong even more Carias’ period as president of the Honduran government.  This move would preserve the scheme of the dominant forces of the moment.  The premise of this move was to maintain peace obtained supposedly by the Carias regime, but in reality, it was the product of the understanding convened by the rivalry largely kept among the banana republic monopolies



Once the decision was taken, Carías set aside the established norms and called for a National Constituent Assembly with the idea to reform the Carta Magna, proclaiming on 28 March 1936 a new Constitution of the Republic.  According to the new constitutional law, Death Penalty was instituted and the new period for the presidency went from 4 to 6 years3.

Carias’ legislators, vested to comply with the newly established plan, devised a chapter that delineated an adhoc [solution designed for a specific problem] called “De la Observancia” [the watchful eye].  This chapter highlighted article 202, which literally reads: “The Constitutional Presidency and Vice Presidency of the Republic headed respectively by Doctor and General Tiburcio Carias Andino and Engineer and General Abrahm Williams Calderon, will effectively leave office on 1 January 1943; thereby, articles 116, 117, and 118 will be suspended until the above mentioned date of this Constitution”.  In order to mitigate organized protests which had already started in the previous presidency by the people, President Carias ordered massive and expansive repression.  In fact, some of his party members and friends had to go into exile because they protested against slight disagreements caused by his organized dictatorship.   A clear example was Venancio Callejas [one of the 3 delegates who opposed altering the Constitution in 1936], he was a national leader of the National Party and a Carias supporter from 1933-19364.


Members of the Liberal Party and other anti-Carias protesters abruptly reacted to these changes by rebelling against Carias and organizing revolution movements around the country.  Among some of the rebels was General Justo Umaña, “the only man with the necessary courage and determination to scare General Carías” 5.  Justo Umaña functioned as the Major of the Plaza in La Esperanza, Intibucá, one of the 18 Departments of the Republic in the preceding government.  He participated in the revolt known as “uprising of the Plaza Majors”, a movement whose objective was to impede the official swearing of the newly popularly elected president Carias in 1932 whose runner up was José Zuniga Huete member of the Liberal Party6.  Immediately after this popular upsiring, Umaña went into exile.


Garinagu who had affiliated and supported side by side with the Liberal Party from its beginnings in the decade of the 1930s, “were accused of being responsible for secretly bringing into the country, the exiled Justo Umaña.; the news came in 1937 that Garifuna leaders from San Juan, Tela were accomplices7. “  Justo Umaña had migrated to Belize and Mexico, then came back and landed in a boat nearby Tela [towards the end of that year]. Before his arrival to the San Juan village, he was in El Porvenir and San Francisco, close to Ceiba, inciting people to revolt; then he commissioned one of his men who lived in Tela, who was only known by his last name Bonilla, to persuade Garinagu who were willing to come together and travel to El Progreso and  Tegucigalpa, the capital, to fight against the soldiers commanded by General Carías. This event gave Garifuna leader Pedro Martínez a motive to become an active member and to expedite his participation along with other Garinagu who volunteer as guides for the transportation into the country of weapons and soldiers coming from Pavisco, Mexico, in order to fuel the revolt led by General Umaña3.


Unfortunately, there was a list with the names of all the insurgents, one of them being Florentino García, a despicable traitor to the cause.  This list was delivered to General Eduardo Rosales, Mayor of Tela, who warned them that if they did not desist and dropped plans to revolt, he would immediately notify the authorities in Tegucigalpa.  By now, the revolutionaries had been in hiding in a secret place near San Juan known as Sálvame, located by Puerto Arturo’s side; the other component of the guerrilla, was stationed in Cola de Mico, Tornabé, wherefrom they would come down in the middle of the night anytime into San Juan looking for food which was made available by the villagers8.


Tela authorities realized the trouble brewing in San Juan and they ordered the capture of Pedro Martinez.  Pedro Martinez was released almost immediately after popular demand by the people opposite to what happened to Modesto Trigueño, another Garifuna who was incarcerated.  In February 1937, once the patriotic group was organized ready to fight the regime, Justo Umaña and his contingent attacked El Progreso, Yoro Plaza9.  The following is the list of those who participated in the attack: Román Martínez, Antolín Martínez [both Pedro Martínez’s sons], Álvaro Castillo, Jerónimo “Chombo” Arzú and others. In the meantime, a group of fighting Garinagu were in El Progreso and another group was infiltrating the country bringing weapons from Belize.  The weapons disembarked by night time along the Tornabé and Miami sandbars [known before as Barra Vieja], wherefrom the insurgents transported the weapons to El Progreso on mules’ backs taking a shortcut which led to Toyos, or by a place kwnon as El Retiro, in Atlántida, passing through Morazán and Negrito, until reaching their destination10.


In February 1937, the infamous incendiary bombs were used against Garinagu for the very first time in San Juan close to a hill in El Progreso11.  General Umaña’s forces were defeated by the Carias militia and where Garinagu such as Chombo Arzú and one of the sons of Pedro Martínez died on the scene.  Defeated in the scuffle, the general ran to Guatemala, where he was killed by the chief of the secret police of that nation on 3 August of the same year12.




According to research, this beautiful place becomes a Garifuna community around 1889. Evidence of the presence of Garinagu in San Juan Tela is found in an official communique when 20 April 1891, the Municipality of Tela orders the community aids located in the San Juan River, West of Tela, to create sanitary teams in order to fight back the smallpox outbreak in the area.  This is where a Garifuna man by the name of Guadalupe Reyes took part in the Sanitary Committee of the locality2.  This community was founded by Dionisio Lorenzana3 with the name of Durugubuti Baibai. Immediately after, Marcelino Gamboa, Timoteo Lino, Claro Lamberth, and Alberto Martínez arrived and settled there. On 21 Februry 1891, Eleuteria Castillo was born making her the first daughter of the community and firstborn in the town.

The town adopts the name San Juan due to the heavy Catholic influence and in honor of the patron Saint John the Baptist.  San Juan Durugubuti happens to be the martyr community of the Garinagu due to the horrific massacre that took place there. It was an unprecedented political event in the country of Honduras where a dozen Garinagu who were affiliated to the Liberal Party, were executed by a firing squad5.   


Those who escaped this genocide, were lucky to have sought refuge in the country of Belize.  This last migration would bring along the formation of a new settlement which was named New Town and it would later adopt the name of Hopkis7.  Back in San Juan, and in 1993, community leaders started to proceed to take legal ownership of their land by registering them under land titles.  This was a move led by Wilfredo Guerrero Bernárdez who served as a board council [Fiscal de Patronato], and conjointly negotiated through the local Community Development Center (CEDEC) under the executive direction of Salvador Suazo and the legal representation of attorney at law Francisco Álvarez Sambulá.  The community obtained their titles of ownership of their land under full domain on 6 June 2000, officially endorsed by National Agrarian Institute (INA).  The title obtained includes three hundred and twenty eight hectares (328.31 ) of superficial extension.


This article was written by Honduran Professor Salvador Suazo.  It was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on March 26, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.  It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.




1 Coelho, Ruy Galvao: Los Negros Caribes de Honduras 1995:48.

2 López García, Víctor Virgilio: La Bahía del Puerto del Sol y La Masacre de los Garífunas de San Juan, Editorial Guaymuras, 1994: 33.

3 Longino Becerra: Evolución Histórica de Honduras; Litografia Lopez, Tegucigalpa, Honduras 1995:156.

4 Idem Longino Becerra: : Evolución Histórica de Honduras; Litografia Lopez, Tegucigalpa, Honduras 1995:156.

5 Medardo Mejía: Historia de Honduras Tomo VI, Editorial Universitaria, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; 1990:402.

6 Idem Medardo Mejía: Historia de Honduras Tomo VI, Editorial Universitaria, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; 1990:400.

7 Idem Coelho, Ruy Galvao: Los Negros Caribes de Honduras 1995:48.

8 Idem López García, Víctor Virgilio: La Bahía del Puerto del Sol y La Masacre de los Garífunas de San Juan, .. 1994: 51-5233.

9 MedardoMejía: Historia de Honduras Tomo VI, Editorial Universitaria, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; 1990:402.

10 Ibidem López García, Víctor Virgilio: La Bahía del Puerto del Sol y La Masacre de los Garífunas de San Juan, .. 1994: 52-53.

11 Op. cit. López García, Víctor Virgilio: La Bahía del Puerto del Sol y La Masacre de los Garífunas de San Juan, ..1994: 53.

12 Idem Medardo Mejía: Historia de Honduras Tomo VI, Editorial Universitaria, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; 1990:402.

1 Investigación realizada por líderes de San Juan en el año de 1985 de la cual obtuve copia en 1992 gracias a la deferencia de don Santos Diego Valerio.

2 Op.cit Elvir: La Villa de Triunfo de la Cruz en la Historia, 2000:94-95.

3 Según Inés Lino que nació el 21 de enero de 1900 y llegó a San Juan en el año 1907.

4 Investigación de líderes de San Juan en el año de 1985.






Garifuna Capsule No 79: (revised 28 March 2014 – Thanks to Mr. Clifford J. Palacio for correcting my grammar)


The first sign of the Garifuna presence in Belize dates back to 1799 when Garinagu used to travel to “Wallace” (Peter Wallace a Scottish Buccaneer) [Belize] looking for employment in the woodcutting industry spearheaded by the British.  On their way back to Honduras, Garinagu would bring back contraband goods and products for resale1. Nancie González speculates that  Deep River and Stann Creek [Dangriga]  were occupied between the years 1799-1800 with the help of Garinagu2.


Recorded Belizean history recounts that Gulisi [Marie-Louise Chatoyer], daughter of Chief Joseph Satuyé, was one of the first Garinagu who arrived in that country in company of her family.  However, when analyzing this compiled testimony,  it is safe to say that her family settled in Commerce Bight [Kamasbaidi], Belize during the decade of the 1820s.   [Why you would ask?] The matron arrives in Roatán in 1797, she had 13 children in Honduras then she migrated to Belize3.   Among the evidence found in the Honduran archives, there is a document dated in the year 1801 which indicates that the Honduran government was well-informed about the fact that Garinagu frequented Wallace (Belize) for the purpose of financial gain:   “…it is well-known to the government that the Black Caribs traveled undetected to Wallace [Belize] having a post in  Punta Quemara Port [Punta Betulia]…and after eight to fifteen days of absence, they would come back and reappear  in their huts…’Wallace, a warehouse to our misfortune and a sponge of our ruins’, is located at the entrance  of the Honduran Gulf.4. This document was referring to the practice of contraband, such activity was the fundamental norm of the time, which was exercised along with and by the English and Spaniards as well.


The first evidence of the Garifuna presence in Belize is found in the British documents of the magistracy dated 9 August 1802, which reads “that the admittance of the Charibs [Garinagu] in the establishment is the business of the Superintendent5”; due to the fact that there was a considerable opposition to their admittance by the current Colony.  However during the same week, Garinagu found out that the Superintendent had granted permission to 150 Black Caribs who had entered Belizean territory looking for jobs in the woodcutting industry.  This very decision caused conflicts among the British authorities.  The magistrates saw with distrust and suspicion the Garifuna presence in their territory to the point that Garinagu were forbidden from practicing agriculture, granting them only permission to work as laborers in the woodcutting industry.  The inconvenience felt by the colonists caused by the Garifuna presence was so great that the Magistracy document dated 17 December 1802, has an entry that reads the recommendation given by Andres Cunningham Esq, to expel all Garinagu out of the Colony as they were considered extremely dangerous and undesirable elements.  These assertions had their foundation based on the British experiencing hostility on the hands of Garinagu while fighting each other in the motherland, Saint Vincent & The Grenadines6.


During the years 1803-1812, English as well as Spaniards intensified their hostility against the French  [for their revolutionary ideas which the French brought to America], and a number of strict measures were taken to prevent Blacks to establish the French connection7.  These restrictions included and applied mostly to Garinagu who had French surnames, spoke the language, and had been allies during the Carib Wars in Saint Vincent.  In 1807, the superintendent of the British Magistracy expressed his surprise, “to find out that – in spite of their warnings against Garinagu, not to trust them, they had been shipped to guard and occupy the post found in Caye Caulker.  Caye Caulker was one of the major and most important military objectives”  for the English at that time8.  In spite of these notifications, Caribs were always needed for the economic life of the Colony and finally Garinagu were admitted into the country due to their cheap labor and the scarcity of slave labor9.


In 1811, the repression against immigrants takes precedence and on 11 July, the High British Commissioner limits and controls the influx of Garinagu into the colony by using tickets (a written license issued by the Superintendent)10.  On 16 July 1811, the Joint Magistracy ordered “that the Charibs [Garinagu] now in  Gaol, they could volunteer in good faith and acknowledge the orders of  day 11, or they could be shipped back to their country of origin onboard any of their country’s vessels as soon as possible, by the High Commissioner11.   Having reason to be suspicious about the loyalty that Garinagu have had towards Europeans, a (50)-Pound-Sterling fine was established under order dated 6 July 1812, for anyone willing to hire Garifuna workers, French Blacks, or Free Spanish Speaking Blacks in Belizean territorial land12.  This law caused a lot of conflict in the Colony as not everybody was in agreement and willing to apply the new law.  In spite of this new law, taking into account the fear to hire these elements, the Belizean woodcutters continued to employ Garinagu.13.


In 1815, the report coming from the Spanish Colony in Honduras read “from Trujillo and Omoa, [Garinagu] were engaged in contraband of precious metals [silver and gold], clandestine business with the British and with the establishment of Wallace.  It was nearly impossible to control contraband due to the numerous ports available without any vigilance.”   These transactions would take place in complicity with the representatives of the Spanish Crown.14.


Again in 1830, there is mention of Caribs being hired in large numbers by the woodcutters to work in their land contracted for 5-6 months at a time and sometimes even longer. Once their contract expired, Garinagu would come back to their place of origin loaded with home appliances, always dressed-to-impress, English-official-style (bukra).   By now, Methodist missionaries informed having found Garinagu who had settled in Stann Creek and in Punta Gorda, Belize.15.  In the meantime, as the Colony was dealing with its immigration issues, the counterrevolution and political upheavals between Guatemala and Honduras were taking place.  Ex-president Manuel Jose Arce had launched a counter-offensive to recover his power and the Spanish National aristocracy’s privileges.


At the beginning of 1832, there were a series of incidents that occurred each with a mission.  Three different allied armies attacked simultaneously the government forces in Morazan [He was the president of the Central American Federation].  One was executed by ex-president Arce, in the interior of the country, another one in  Trujillo, under the command of Colonel Vicente Domínguez; and a third army in Omoa, under the leadership of Ramón Guzmán.  Appropriately, Garinagu fought along the three armies16. While in San Felipe De Lara Fort located in the Guatemalan gulf inside Rio Dulce, it was protected and guarded by Garinagu, but it was later taken by the counterrevolutionary force17.


Two hundred blacks [Garinagu] were partaking in the capturing of Omoa’s Fort where the victorious army were waving and raising the Spanish flag in front of many indignant Spanish Nationals [Criollos] including those who opposed Morazán’s government18.  Although the Superintendent of Belize hoped and believed that Arce and his followers would win the scuffle, the Federal forces [Morazan’s] came up victorious in all the fronts in conflict and the defeated rebels were accused of high treason to the Federation.  The leaders of the rebellion were brought in front of the firing squad:  Ramón Guzmán was executed in Omoa on 13 September, and Colonel Domínguez was brought to justice and shot in Comayagua the next day.


Garinagu, fearing for their lives, sought protection under King Mosco [Rey Mosco], who granted them to settle in the Western side of Río Tinto or Negro [Black River]19.  The great majority of Garinagu living in the territories fighting the struggle such as Trujillo, Omoa, Livingston, and San Felipe de Lara, fled to Belize, where the British merchants had secretly supported Arce’s causee20.   It was reported that “around 500 Garinagu solicited British protection and settled 30 miles to the South of Belizce21.  Others, under the leadership of Alejo Benin [Alejo Beni] and navigating onboard two dories (durogá], in the company of 28 adults and a dozen children fled from Trujillo and  Roatán bound towards Belize arriving in Stann Creek District on 19 November 1832.  They met and interviewed with the Superintendence from British Honduras [Belize] granting them permission to settle in the area of Stann Creek, even though S. Cayetano reasserts that they had sought refuge in Mullins River area22.



(All Rights Reseved).20.11.2012.

This article was written by Honduran Professor Salvador Suazo.  It was translated from Spanish into English by Rony Figueroa on March 26, 2014.  This material was translated for the purpose of educating only.  It is strictly forbidden to use and reproduce this material with the intent of financial gain.




1 Burdon John, editor: Archives of British Honduras pp; 57 y 60 en González 2008:94).

2 El corte ilegal de madera comenzó en Stann Creek entre los años 1797-1800: (CO 123/15, 123/18 en González 2008:97).

3 Joseph O. Palacio: Reconstructing Garifuna Oral History – Techniques and Methods in The Story of a Caribbean People. Publicación S/f.

4 Boletín del Archivo General del Gobierno, visita hecha a los pueblos de Honduras por el Gobernador Intendente Ramón de Anguiano, informe elaborado en 1801 y publicado el 10 de mayo de 1804 Tomo XI pág.121 en Rubio 1975:II:411-420.

5 Burdon 1931:57 en Cayetano, Sebastian, 1991:29.


6 Tomado de Burdon John 1931:60 en Hadel E. 1976:562 y en Cayetano 1991:29.

7 Crowe 1850:204 en González 1988:56.

8 Burdon John 1934:102 en González 1988:48

9 Hadel 1976:563 en Cayetano 1991:30.

10 Burdon John 1934:146 en Hadel E. 1976:563.

11 Burdon John 1934:146 en González 1988:49.

12 Gaceta de Honduras 2/84 del 17 de Octubre 1827 en González 1988:564.

13 idem González 2008:98.

14 Durón Rómulo E. 1982: 126-127.

15 Squier 1855:238 en Gonzalez 1988:61.


16 Estos garifunas que formaban parte de la soldadesca federal luchaban a favor de uno u otro bando, quienes se aprovechaban de sus servicios de acuerdo a las circunstancias [vea pildorita No 58].

17 González Nancie 1988:57.

18 Montufar 1970:152.

19 Galvao 1981:38.

20 FO 15/11 en González 1988:58.

21 Hadel 19 76:564 en Cayetano 1991:31.

22 [..] que los refugiados en la zona de Mullins River eran garifunas que habían huido de Honduras junto con Alejo Benni. (Cayetano S. 1991:31).

Brief History of the Garifuna

The Caribs and Arawaks were indigenous inhabitants of South America (specifically in the Amazon basin of Orinoco in Guyana ) and the Caribbean. These people were also hunters, fishing and farming society. Although their language was different, after living in close proximity to each other and also because of intermarrying, a bilingual society emerged, where both the carib husband and the arawak wife could understand each other.

In the early 1300s, Abubakari, brother of Mansa Musa of Mali ventured on an expedition that brought them to the new world. These West Africans were the first who made contact with the caribs and arawaks. It was the fusion of these three people through marriage, music dance and spirituality that would be known as the Black Caribs or the Garifuna People.

The Garifuna were skilled sailors, who travel to trade among themselves in the Caribbean . Tensions arose when the european colonists began to demand land to cultivate sugar. Those tensions grew and eventually turned to war. On many occasions, French and british troops waged war on the Garifuna. On many occasions they failed. Eventually, after the death of Joseph Chatoyer, the Paramount Chief of chiefs, the Garifuna lost the war and surrendered in 1776. Children, women and men were gathered and left on the island of Baliceaux .

The british not knowing what to do with the Garifuna, left them on Baliceaux, a barren island that had no shelter or running water, for eight months. As a result of being imprisoned under those deplorable conditions, more than half of them died. Eventually the Garifunas were shipped to Roatan Island off the coast of Honduras . Some traveled and settled in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize.

Current Issues

After the loss of St. Vincent to the British, the Garifuna Nation is currently in a state of refuge. One would ask why? In Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize, the Garifuna are treated as second-class citizens. They are discriminated upon and have little or no political clout. The government is taking away their land. The Garifuna language is not implemented in the educational curriculum. The police and the military are murdering the Garifuna people in the streets of Guatemala . Many Garinagu families are affected by the Aids Virus, and unemployment within the Garifuna community is at an all time high percentage.

According to James Lovell, a Garifuna Artist, “That is the reason why I sing, to let the world know about the accomplishments and struggles of my people, and to put the pride back into the disenfranchised Garifuna. I will sing our sadness and I will sing our joy.”

On May 18th, 2001 UNESCO for the first time awarded the title of “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangibles Heritage of Humanity,” to 19 outstanding cultural spaces of forms of expression from different regions of the world. The Garifuna Language, Dance and Music of Belize were among those nominated.

The oral and intangible heritage has gained international recognition as in cultural identity, promotion of creativity and the preservation of culture. It plays an essential role in national and international development, to promote harmonious interaction between cultures.

In an era of globalization, many forms of this culture are disappearing, threatened by cultural standardization, armed conflict, industrialization, rural exodus, migration and environmental deterioration.

One of the proclamation’s main objectives is to raise the awareness and recognize the importance of oral and intangibles and the need to safeguard and revitalize it.


We ask people to add more things that they know are facts to the list and over time it will grow and add to the history and culture of our people. For Example;

1-The Garifuna are the only ethnic group in Belize to have a National Day in their honor.
2-The Garifuna people speak the most languages in Belize.
3-The Garifuna people educated the most people in Belize.
4-The Garifuna people fought in the Battle of Saint Georges Caye with the British against Spain
5-The Garifunas fought in the Revolutionary Wars that took place in Honduras
6-During the war between Honduras and El Salvador the Garifuna Language was used by the soldiers to avoid detection by the Salvadoreans which gave Honduras an edge in the war

There are several more things that could be added by other Garifuna Historians as we go along.


On April 12th,1797, los Garinagu arrived at Port Royal, Roatan ,a British colony,located about 35 nautical miles off the coast of Honduras.

On May 17,1797,the Spanish authorities accepted our request to be admitted to the main land,in Honduras’ coast,and when we arrived to Trujillo, the Garinagu founded the two earliest communities in the main land :{Garivalu}Caribal,East and ,{Cristalu} Cristales,West..

On November 28,1856,in Comayagua,Honduras, a bilateral agreement was signed between the Inglish government at Honduras'by which Ingland acknowledged that the islands were part the Honduras sovereignty.And on April 24 of 1861,the president of Honduras General Jose Santos Guardiola,announced in Inglish and Spanish,the incorporation of the islander to the hondurenian nationality.

.Contradiction: The majority of the population of 10 out of the 18 Departments [States] in Honduras,is African descendants : Colon,Islas de la Bahia, Atlantida, Cortes, Gracias a Dios, Olancho, Yoro,Comayagua, Francisco Morazan and Lempira.However ,because the color of the skin is “clearer”and they do not speak Garifuna,they considered themselves “white”,and they called Garinagu :”Trigueño”,or “Moreno”

On September 15th,1821,the five Spanish colonies: Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica ,in Central America proclaimed their independence from Spain. The Declaration of Independence,in its Article 4th granted full citizenship to those of AFRICAN origin {GARINAGU] .However,today 211 years after such proclamation ,the governments of the Central American contries, specially the hondurenian found their ways to distort the legal system to justify the injustice,the oppression and denials of the basic human rights of those, with darker skin than theirs.

A Few years after the proclamation of the independence,the new republics formed the Central American Federation,which was further dissolved ,due to animosity among the members . Honduras became a separate republic in 1838. Noted, that some Garinagu backed up the president of Central American Federation,the General Francisco Morazan,who was executed by the government headed by the land owners TERRATENIENTES,on September 15th of 1842,in San Jose, Costa Rica. The most prominent Garifuna soldier in that journey was Juan Francisco Bulnes,aka{Walumugu or John Bull}However,the Garinagu,whom were allegedly supporters to the mexican general Vicente Dominguez,were expelled from Honduras by Morazan's order.

On the 26 th of August of 1842, in Comayagua, the General Francisco Ferrera,[1841-1842] signed a presidential order to have the “morenos “ returned to their homes,under the protection of the law. These morenos had been expelled by the President Francisco Morazan Quezada,because allegedly they were supporter to the mexican General Vicente Dominguez,[1832]

June ,1856,the filibuster William Walker,overthrown the Nicaraguan Goverment.and proclaimed himself as the new president. The general Guardiola ,president of Honduras declared his direct opposition to Walker's audacity. Along with the rest of cental america's governments,fought against,Walker, who was overthrown ,arrested in Nicaragua and lastly executed on September of 1860,in Trujillo, Honduras,where he was buried .


On September 19,1847,the National University was opened .The School of Medicine was opened on 1,882 . However it took 115 years to graduate the first black individuals : Awstin Bowman and Alfonso Lacayo Medicine Degree ;one Civil Engineer ,Santos Arzu and one Attorney ,Hipolito Laboriel, all by 1960

NOTE: 115 Garinagu ,graduated at ELAM,Cuba in 12 years.

Though the Constitution of the republic of Honduras says literally that :the government guarantees the right of every child to the basic education and health services and that the Government will promote employment for those, whom have children under their care. We the Garinagu ought to work as twice as much than the so called latino/hispano,to be able to make it to the educational and health systems ;even with the same level of education and in many instances,better, we are denied positions in both ,public and private sectors ;the schools and clinics physical structures are depressing.But despite of all the most Garinagu own their houses,and the Garinagu are healthier.

HONDURAS is identified by International Amnesty as the most racist country the continent.even thought the constitution says the Following:

Article 60. All men are born free and iqual in rights.In Honduras there is no privileged classes.All honduran are iqual before the law.

Declares punishable any discrimination on grounds of sex,race class and any other injurious to the human dignity.The law will established the offenses and penalties for the violetors of this precept

Today,214 years later,the life of the Garinagu in Honduras it is still crippled by the chain of institutionalized segregation and racial discrimination.

Brothers and sisters: today,214 years after our vanishment from our mother land, there is no time for lamentation,for tears,to speak ill. As human beings, parents ,and citizens of the various individual contries in which we were born,we have rights and responsibilities,because there is also encouraging developments ,in which we must play our duties,with dignity,commitment,and responsibility. .

Do not ever forget that in order to be a good citizen we all have moral and legal obligations towards our individual family, the local community ,our villeages,and the nations in which we were born ,and the contry in which we reside, and to the humanity as a whole. We should never use the color of our skin to beg nor to bend our faces ,nor to knell down to any body,nor to let any one look at us as a second class citizen .As tax payers, we must obey the law and utilized the legal system to excersise our human rights with dignity and responsibility,even when we ought to risk our own lives. As the Rev M.L.King ones said: “the one who has nothing to die for,does not deserve to live.”

Brothers and sisters: as Garinagu ,we must 1.-Be aware that we as parents , are the role models for our children. 2.-We must develop a positive self image,based on self-respect ,education and cultural heritage,so our children could feel proud of their heritage .3.-We must have a constructive/positive involvement in community activities .4.-We must utilize our human potentialities to demonstrate that we can be Excellent Garinagu, Excellent Citizens and Excellent Professionals whatever the discipline we are involved in. With this hope . We must carry the light of human spirit to shine brighter against the shadow of political oppression ,economical deprivation, and the persistent land holding system,which leaves a big gap between the rich ,and poor,black and white in each one of our communities

N O T E :

FIRST .Congressman. Catarino Castro Cerrano,[1927-1932. Writer,Mathematician and professor.

SECOND: Substitute [1957 – Hilario Mena Melendez.

THIRD Congressman,Abel Gonzalez Caballero ,[1972-1974.].

MARCH 12, 1937, marks one of the darkest dates in Garifuna's history in Honduras: The Masacre in San Juan,Tela, led by Tomas Martinez [Caquita] loyal soldier to the dictator Tiburcio Carias Andino - It is unknown how many Garinagu were killed.

Inmediately after the above mentioned incident,the involvement of Garinagu in politics almost came to ZERO because the persecution of the Garinagu leaders,begun,many of whom flee to contries such as Guatemala,Belize,Costa Rica, Panama and USA..It was at early 50’s when the Garinagu newly began their activism..In the Military, Erasmo Zuñiga Sambula participated in the recovery of MOCORON villeage in La Mosquitia,during the war against Nicaragua, on April the 30th ,1,957. Later,many young Garinagu were enlisted in the Air Force during the Government of Ramon Villeda Morales [1957-1963].

During the so called “Guerra del Football with El Salvador in July 1969, the Garifuna soldiers played an important role in this crucial event in our history.  One can see it as an absolute truth that it was the Garinagu’s participation which changed the course of the conflict in favor of Honduras.  The Commander in Chief placed a group of Garinagu in charge of the Communication System ,in the so called [Teatro de Operaciones]. The Garinagu soldiers Lisandro Mejia, Froilan Reyes Gil and Waldorf Fernando Lozano [ Trujillo]. Francisco Valencia, [Limon]; Justino Fernandez [Sangrelaya], inclined the actions on Honduras' favor utilizing the Garifuna language, which confused the Salvadorean troops. It was then when the Honduran politician acknowledged at least for a “minute” the presence and importance of the Garifuna Culture in Honduras.

Los Angeles, CA June 25,2011

Melecio R. González

THE REAL HISTORY OF ROATANEANS PEOPLE..( something the dont teach us in school )  Brief historical and ethnographical account of the Bay Islandsby David Evans (dkevans@wfu.edu)

The first records indicating permanent English settlements in the Bay Islands (other than the intermittent occupations by the logwood cutters and buccaneers, and the abortive attempt by the Puritan sponsored Providence Company) show that Port Royal, on the island of Roatán, was again occupied in the year 1742. In this year the British made an attempt to gain possession of most of the Caribbean coast of Central America, and in doing so, rebuilt the old fort on Roatán (Squier 1858:615-616).The archives at Belize record a Major Caulfield in command of Roatán as early as 1745. On August 2nd of that year, the Major wrote a letter to a Mr. Trelawry, Govenor of Jamaica, describing Spanish harassment of English settlements (Archives, vol. I: 15). These settlements appear to have been well established on the island of Roatán by 1775. A map of that year, drawn by Thomas Jefferys, Geographer to His Majesty, Clearly shows essentially all of the present older settlements, bearing their current names, with the exception of Calkett's Hole (now Coxen's Hole) and Falmouth Harbour (now Oak Ridge).The Spanish, as soon as the early dawn provided enough light, directed a well-coordinated attack against the English at Port Royal on the early morning of March, 2nd 1782. "After a heavy cannonade, detachments of the troops landed and opened regular trenches against the forts, which were so closely invested and hotly pressed that on the 16th of the month they surrendered at discretion. The lives of the defenders were spared, but all their dwellings, to the number of 500, were destroyed" ( quoted by Squier in 1858: 616-617).Six years later, in 1788, England completely evacuated all of her settlements in the Bay Islands as well as on the Miskito Shore. The islands then lay deserted of Europeans for almost fifteen years until 1797, when the English removed by force some 5,000 "Black Caribs" (a mixture of African Negro and Carib and Arawak Indians) from the Windward Island of St. Vincent, and marooned them on the then empty beaches of Port Royal on Roatán (Squier 1858:172 and Taylor 1951: 36). Conzemius tells us that these unhappy people were first taken from St. Vincent to the small island of Balliceaux, then to that of Bequia, both in the Grenadines. At Bequia they were loaded aboard H.M.S. EXPERIMENT under the command of Captain Barrett, and then shipped to Roatán. They were landed on Roatán on a stormy day of February 25, 1797 (Conzemius 1928: 189). According to the Honduran historian, Durón, the British employed two men-of-war and a brigantine, landing the deportees in April, not February, in 1797 (Durón 1927:99). My own (DKE) personal research both in Belize and in Berkeley indicates that this landing was indeed in the winter months, and most likely February. The History of the Garifuna, as well as the history of their most famous dance, "La Punta", seems to spiral outward from this day, whatever month it was in.Except for these "Black Carib" now known as the Garifuna, and a few Spanish attempts to settle colonists from Spain and exiles native to the Canary Islands, the Bay Islands remained unoccupied for almost thirty more years (Parsons 1956: 9), until in 1821, the newly-founded Central American Federation claimed the Bay Islands, and declared the independent of Spain. No serious attempts were made to settle them, however, or to protect them from encroachment by other powers.We next hear of British interest in 1825, when a Mr. Marshall Bennett, on a visit from Honduras to England, wrote a letter to the Colonial Office. He stressed the great strategic importance of possibleBritish settlements on Roatán, at that time being claimed by Guatemala. Bennett felt the latter, not being a maritime nation, presumably did not regard the islands of any great importance. No immediate action followed this letter, and we know the Bay Islands were still unoccupied by Europeans when visited by Roberts in 1827 (Roberts 1827: 276).At some time between 1827 and 1834, English settlers began arriving on the island of Roatán. A memorandum, drafted in Belize, dated November 24th, 1834, noted that at this time the islands of Roatán and Bonacca (Guanaja) were inhabited by 50 people only, mostly English (Archivesm, Vol. II: 361).At a convention held in Guatemala on April 30th, 1859, England, under a great deal of pressure from the United States, agreed to surrender the Bay Islands and the Miskito Coast of both Honduras andNicaragua, if allowed complete freedom of action in the territory known at that time and until recently as British Honduras, now independent since 1974 and known as Belize. On July 9, 1860, in a message to the Superintendent at Belize, the British Consul at Comayagua (Honduras), acknowledged receipt of a dispatch informing him that the Colony of the Bay Islands were to be ceded to the Republic of Honduras. In this same letter, however, he asks that this be delayed on the request of the Honduran government, because General William Walker, the American Filibuster, intended to take possession of the islands and use them for operations against the mainland. [ The islanders were alarmed about this, and one can read a copy of the letter they themselves wrote to Queen Victoria at the Museum at Anthony's Key in the IMS building, Roatán. Many of the names of families still on the island were attached to this letter. Its worth your while to drop into the museum and read it]. {see Roatan Activities for details}On July 14th, 1860, the Government Gazette of Belize ran a notice that the Colony of the Bay Islands had been ceded to the Republic of Honduras, and noted that an offer was included to island inhabitants of free grants of Crown Land, as well as transport of any movable property to any of Her Majesty's Colonies in the British West Indies. There is no evidence that any Bay Islanders took up the Queen's offer.The Government of the Republic of Honduras took little notice, however, being heavily embroiled in troubles on the mainland, and had little interest in her newly won possessions some 10 to 50 miles off her northern shore. Honduras took no action at all until April 12th, 1861, when her Minister of Foreign Affairs sent a brief note to a Mr. Hall, then British Consul to Honduras. This note informed Hall that Honduras was not yet prepared to take possession of the Bay Islands, and requested that England remain patient a little longer (Archives vol. III: 239).On May 23rd of 1861, however, British patience ran out. Belize demanded that the Commandant of Trujillo visit Roatán in the near future to take over the sovereignty of the colony, and on June 1st, 1861, after having been a British Colony for less than nine short years, the Bay Islands became the "Departemente de las Isles de la Bahía", under the struggling Republic of Honduras.As most visitors to the islands know, English is still spoken by the majority of the old islanders over thirty years of age, and is at least a second language for the majority of the somewhat heterogeneous population, even though Spanish became the official language in the year 1872. It was not until 1902, a year after the death of their beloved Queen Victoria, that many of the islands' English population realized that their assumed British nationality and claims to British protection were no longer valid (Strong 1935:16, from Rose 1904 : 15). Jane Houlson wrote in 1934 that many islanders were still denying Honduranian nationality (p.68); and Peter Keenagh, an Englishman visiting the islands in 1938, wrote:"Since the ratification of the Treaty of Comayagua there has been a continual struggle between Islanders and Mainlanders. The island families, for many reasons, consider that their British stock is superior to the confusion of Spanish, Indian, and Negro blood which populates the mainland, and there has never been the slightest feeling of subjection" (1938: 57).Adams briefly visited the island of Utila in 1957, and noted that there were some residents there who still claimed British nationality, even though both Honduras and England agree that any person born in the islands subsequent to the treaty of 1861 are Honduran citizens (Adams 1957: 640). And as late as 1961, when my wife and I first set foot on Roatán off the heaving deck of the little freight boat "Edith Mc", there was a sign hanging in the tiny post office in French Harbour. It was hand-printed in red ink, the work of the local postmaster of that day. It read:"COUNT YOUR MONEY IN LEMPIRA {in lieu of U.S. currency, then called by all islanders "gold"} REMEMBER, WE LIVE IN HONDURAS ".When I asked why the sign didn't read ... Remember, we are Honduran"..., the postmaster only smiled at me, shook his head, and said as he handed me my change...."You'll find out, when ya stays here awhile."Additional information about the history of Native peoples of the Caribbean Central Amerindian Centrelink can be found on this link.

How Did the Garifuna Become Indigenous People? - Reconstructing the cultural persona of an African-Native American People in Central America

"However, anthropology has been forced to come to terms with the realities of the modern world in which displaced identities and recuperated identities go to form what has been called a global ethnoscape" Neil Whitehead(I998).


The reason for asking the question how did the Garifuna become indigenous is

that they are black within a region, highly conscious of skin colour, that ascribes indigenous identity only to persons with olive skin colour. This chromatic reason for questioning will always remain at the popular level especially forthcoming from other indigenous people, who have accused the Garifuna of usurping an identity that is not truly theirs1. The other reason to ask the question is to understand how the Garifuna have maintained continuity in their identity notwithstanding an accumulation of destructive experiences, each of which could have derailed them from the track of being one people with one identity. These experiences include migration across large areas in northeast South America and spilling over into the Eastern Caribbean, systematic genocide in St. Vincent, massive displacement across hundreds of kilometres in the Atlantic Ocean, and over 200 years of pervasive racial discrimination in Central America leading many persons to forsake their cultural identity altogether and join the majority within their respective societies.

The short answer to the question how did the Garifuna become indigenous is that they added the label "indigenous" onto themselves when they and other bio-cultural groups of Native American descent within the Circum-Caribbean acquired the generic term in the late 1980s. Beforehand, these people, also called Amerindians, had used their own traditional names, such as Maya, Kekchi, and Garifuna. The acceptance of "indigenous" came through the influence of indigenous activists in the political movement originating in North and Central America. One regional indicator was the formation in 1989 of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP) by peoples in the former British colonies from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent, Dominica, and Belize

1 In discussing the view of some Dominica Caribs on promoting tourism on their island, Whitehead noted. "It is firmly believed that Black Caribs do not sufficiently conform to the touristic ideal of the Amerindian, and so should be hidden away, erased from the culture and history of the Caribs." (1998)

Palacio 2006: 215-234). The larger global validation came in 1992 when the COIP was accepted as member organization of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WC1P) (Palacio 2006: 215-234). The use of the designation "indigenous peoples" has been refined by multilateral agencies including the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

This essay follows on the theme of this Gathering - "An inquiry on the notion of persona - reconstructing the notion of persona in Mexico and Central America" - with a focus on the Garifuna. I amplify the scope of reconstructing cultural identity in three ways. Firstly, I trace the formation of the cultural matrix of an indigenous people over several hundred years and several hundred square kilometres. Secondly, 1 accentuate the efforts of the people to consistently retain their cultural identity, while taking advantage of available opportunities. Thirdly, I integrate my own experiences in the consolidation of Garifuna peoplehood in Belize within the past thirty years.

There is implicit in this essay the spirit of an odyssey that starts with the trajectory of a people and ends as my own personal experience as scholar and activist among indigenous peoples. This paper is still very much a work in progress. I thank the organizers of this Gathering whose initiative has helped me sharpen my focus on the definition and formation of social and cultural identity among a people, who have been doing so despite overwhelming odds for thousands of years. I am grateful for questions and comments as I move forward.

Garifuna Studies

It is impossible to arrive at a population figure for all the Garifuna because of their large scale geographical spread across four countries within the northeast coast of Central America and their dispersion within North American cities, such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. The figure normally quoted is about 300,000. The largest proportion lives in Honduras with additional numbers in Belize, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (see Fig. 1). In these countries they have settled for a little over 200 years initially in tens of coastal small villages, many of which are being overrun by ladino immigrants displaced from their own hinterland communities. In response the Garifuna are moving in larger numbers to coastal towns, such as Puerto Cortez, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba in Honduras and Belize City in Belize, as well as further away into North American cities.

This last succession within urban frontiers is generating probably the greatest threat to the survival of the Garifuna as a socio-culture, which previously had always been located within small, kinship based rural communities. The longevity of Garifuna culture as we know it has been due to its incubation within small villages all along the coast of Central America for the better part of the last 200 years.

For their relatively small population size the Garifuna have been hosts to several ethnographers, since the 1950s. Douglas Taylor, Nancie Gonzalez, Virginia Kerns, Catherine Macklin, Mark Moberg, Byron Foster, Carol Jenkins, Alfonso Arrivillaga, and William Davidson are only a few from the large body of anthropologists. Additionally there are several Garifuna men and women, who have published works about their own people. They include Sebastian Cayetano, Marion Cayetano, Roy Cayetano, Jorge Bernardez, Felicia Hernandez, Joseph Palacio, Myrtle Palacio, Godsman Ellis, Zoila Ellis, Salvador Suazo, and Virgilio Lopez Garcia. The relatively large numbers of native scholars within the Garifuna population, a large part of which still remains at limited levels of literacy, indicates a strong dedication to unravel the story of their people through the written word. On the other hand, there is a large body of oral literature that is untouched and needs to be captured.

The published data about the Garifuna falls into segments on history and contemporary issues. The topic of cultural identity, which is the theme of

this Gathering, is pervasive within both of these segments. One of the most comprehensive analyses of the history of cultural identity is Nancie Gonzalez's 1988 volume on ethnohistory and ethnogenesis. She traces the historical formation of the Garifuna and uses the configuration of select traits to identify their ethnic identity in coastal Central America. Taking a parallel approach - also based on coastal Central America - has been the interest of mainly Garifuna students on genealogy, more specifically on first settlers of given localities and subregions by family groups (Arrivillaga 2005: 64-84). Both Davidson (1980: 31-62) and Palacio (2005:43-63) have extended their genealogical reconstruction as far as families in St. Vincent.

Indeed, it is tempting to peel back the layers of the Garifuna persona through time and space from South America and West Africa through the Eastern Caribbean, and eventually arriving in Central America. Such effort awaits the work of several scholars in history and anthropology. However, it is possible to outline a schema, as I have done in Fig. 2, which could be the skeleton of such a longitudinal reconstruction.

The schema has three parts - the pre-St. Vincent, St. Vincent, and post-St. Vincent periods. The pre-St. Vincent falls into the prehistoric period that took place in northeast South America and West Africa together with the historic period centring on the efforts of the Island Caribs to wrest control of their former East Caribbean subregion from the British and French. The St. Vincent period starts from the mid-seventeenth century and ends with the exile to Central America in 1797. The post-St. Vincent period extends from 1797 to the present. Within the schema I attempt to retrace the building of a pre-Garifuna identity and follow major episodes in its transformation to the state that we know it today. Whereas the core traits that the modern day Garifuna people can claim as theirs originated in northeastern South America and West Africa, the congealing of the overall socio-culture to its present stage took place in St. Vincent. Afterwards, the people have been opposing being relegated to an ethnic group in their Central American states with the ideology of peoplehood that resonates with their original status as sovereign nation in St. Vincent.

The Pre-St Vincent Period

If the Garifuna culture has been a cumulative body of various sub-cultures, is there a place and a point in time that marked the genesis of its cultural matrix? While we can be certain about the broad parameters of the location, we can be less accurate about the time. The location was the Orinoco River basin, which cuts the map of Venezuela into two parts running in an east-west axis. Because of the overlap among socio-cultures extending south of the Orinoco, Neil Whitehead (1988: 9-20) uses the name "Guayana" for the larger subregion extending from the Orinoco to the Amazon River. Furthermore, this confirms the designation Amazon Rainforest Tradition for the cultural matrix of the ancestors of the Garifuna. In narrowing the location of genesis, we refer to the part of the Orinoco River basin nearest to the Caribbean islands into which the Garifuna ancestors dispersed. The island of Trinidad is located a short distance north of the delta of the Orinoco and further south along the Atlantic Ocean there are the Guianas. Presently located in French Guiana and Suriname are the Galibi Karinya, who were culturally related to the Island Caribs. Some anthropologists have added that the Galibi were precursors of the Island Caribs (Allaire 1997: 177-185).

The question when the cultural matrix started falls into the hands of archaeologists and diachronic linguists and in both groups there is great uncertainty. We are safe in saying that it would have been earlier than 2000 B.C., the earliest time marker for habitation in the Caribbean islands, although it cannot be said that these pioneer settlers would have originated on the South American mainland (Rouse 1992). Needless to say there is also doubt as to who these pioneers were. Of more importance than name designations were the larger set of preconditions that facilitated the welding of peoples who eventually became the Island Caribs. The Orinoco River basin is replete with a wide variety of small and large micro-environments producing riverine, terrestrial, and coastal resources that could be exploited and traded (Whitehead 1988: 7-20). After centuries of these reciprocal exchanges the Karinya emerged among the more dominant groups, who were able to command greater share of the resources. As in the other cases of reconstructing a history with many unknowns, it is safer to conclude that along with the Karinya there were other groups with similarities in language, belief systems, and material culture; and that they formed alliances for their mutual well-being. From such an overlap came groups who crossed at various time periods into the Caribbean islands, following a pattern of overcoming ever new frontiers. It is worth emphasizing a caveat that will be recurring in further discussions that
ascribing place names to groups living within overlapping geographical subregions is not fruitful. Holdren (1998: 1-8) refers to the dilemma that ethnonyms can create in the historical description of groups in the Caribbean.

The discussion that we have covered so far falls into the prehistoric pre-St. Vincent period. Taking place simultaneously across the Atlantic in West Africa would have been another set of factors consolidating groups, who would eventually travel to the New World first as free men on exploratory missions and later in much greater numbers as slaves. There has not been any attempt at a chronological coordination about events taking place among groups on both sides of the Atlantic, whose descendants would eventually join to become the Garifuna nation in St. Vincent. Both the origins of Africans who ended in the Eastern Caribbean and their intermixture with the Island Caribs are topics least known in Garifuna history and are awaiting much needed research.

The next stage in the prehistoric pre-St. Vincent period was the movement and consolidation of the descendants of the Orinoco River basin peoples, who came to be known as the Island Caribs or Caraibe, the term that Holdren (1998) prefers. The adjective 'Island' differentiates them from the mainland Caribs, who remained in South America. There is agreement that if they had left the mainland as separate tribal groups, they narrowed many of their differences as they formed a "confederacy" of "politically autonomous" groups (Holdren 1998), extending from Grenada in the south to the Virgin Islands in the north. The amalgamation came from their opposition to European colonization resulting in recurring warring expeditions by men drawn from the islands as well as from their allies on the South American mainland.

While there was scant information about who had been main operators during the Orinoco River basin period, what they traded with whom, and the level of complexity in their social structures, there is much information available about the Island Carib period originating in reports by French missionaries and the archives of colonial authorities. Interestingly, one of the most knowledgeable about this period Louis Allaire (1997: 177-185) gave much credit to the statements of the Island Caribs themselves that reportedly they gave to Columbus and his chroniclers. Based on the documentary sources available, Allaire concludes that by the mid 17th century they had a strong identity characterized by traits, such as the women's ornamental wear ^and drinking manioc beer (not done by the Arawaks). Allaire (1997: 180) adds ".... they shared a strong national character and ethnic identity. They claimed openly that they were of the same ethnicity as their Carib neigbors of what is today French Guiana and Suriname."

A main characteristic of the Island Carib was their use of multiple languages even within their own community and household. According to Cooper (1997: 186-196) women used Island Carib when speaking to their male peers and Arawak with their children and other women. On the other hand, the male children spoke Island Carib to their fathers. Among themselves the men used a Carib based pidgin, which was a widespread trading language in South America (Allaire 1997:177-185). This pidgin resulted from centuries of trading and warring practices in which mainland Caribs had engaged with several tribes. In an illuminating article Cooper (1997:186-196) has analysed the differences that existed between women and men speech, some of which exist in modern day Garifuna society.

We can summarize what we know about the descendants of the mainland Caribs, whom we had earlier seen within the Orinoco River basin and had started their island hopping probably as far back at least as 2000 B.C. By the end of the 17th century A.D. they had a strong cultural identity that had been tested several times in wars first against other native tribes and subsequently against Europeans. The French and British had suffered so much from their guerrilla raids that both agreed in 1686 and again in 1748 that Dominica and St. Vincent (see Fig. 1), the two sub-capitals of Carib aggression, should remain as neutral territories for either side. In other words, they would be sanctuaries for the Caribs within a region that was quickly becoming the colonial territories of Britain and France.

Engaging in wars, of course, has been the stereotypical perspective of the Island Caribs. However, we need to include their strong role as traders, in which they had engaged from their early mainland era and received much impetus through the introduction of European trade goods. As in their war effort, trading necessitated covering long distances over land and ocean, accumulating much needed skills in boat building, navigation, and how to negotiate with different sets of peoples across several cultures on everything from pathways to buying and selling trade items. They had acquired remarkable ease to succeed when dealing in multiple situations across space and time, demonstrating an uncanny skill to know and pre-judge reactions.

As people with enduring spirituality they had adjusted their long held mainland iconography to the ecology of the islands. In a highly reflective essay Honychurch (2002) has traced how they used newly appreciated island images, such as the summits of volcanic mountain outcrops, as symbols for their deity. Similarly, they could no longer hunt larger mammals in the islands, such as tapir and jaguar that had been available on the mainland. Instead they fashioned traps to catch smaller game animals. Finally, they adjusted traditional ceremonies to mark the annual seasons that were slightly different in the islands.

The cultural plurality, already so well established among the Island Caribs, took on added ingredients from groups arriving after Columbus. Europeans intermarried with their women notably in Dominica and St. Vincent. If these marriages were of a predatory nature where white men took advantage of native women, there was another type of intermarriage initiated by men escaping slavery and desperately in need of refuge within a host community. These were maroon
African slaves escaping from plantations in nearby islands, and especially taking advantage after Dominica and St. Vincent had been declared neutral islands.

The intermarriage of Africans took place extensively throughout the Eastern Caribbean and the entire archipelago. The fusion between the two parties taking place in St. Vincent was unique insofar as there was a consolidation into a cultural matrix with a sustained past and continuity up to the present. Among corresponding intermixtures in other islands this level of welding has not endured. While there have been distinct socio-cultures formed from the mixture of Africans with Native Americans in other pars of the Americas, notably Brazil (Bastide 1972), the only example in the Circum-Caribbean is the Garifuna. The following description of the St. Vincent era explains further the process of consolidation.

St Vincent

The next period in the schema in Fig. 2 takes place in the island where the Garifuna, the name the Black Caribs use for themselves, were formed. There is much that is available in the literature on this period from a wider variety of sources than for the previous periods that we have reviewed. In addition to the traditional anglophile sources, such as (Young 1971), there is the account by Kirby and Martin (1972), which presents a perspective that is as close as one can
get to the Garifuna viewpoint. There are also French sources that present a humanist perspective highlighting their interactions with the residents of St. Vincent (Hulme 2005: 21-42). Curtis Jacobs' essay (2003) gives a view of the French records about the 1794-1796 Brigands War, also called the Second Carib War. Unfortunately, there would seem to be even fewer accounts of the socio-culture than what had been available from French missionaries in the previous era. The result is that we know much more about their fighting with the French and British than the things they did in their daily life. The regret is that it was large parts of this socio-culture that eventually arrived in Central America.

The Island Carib stranglehold of the Eastern Caribbean that had taken place in Pre-Columbian times was bound to dissipate in the face of the superior military might of the British and French. By 1700 Dominica and St. Vincent had become little more than symbolic vestiges of a previous regional domain in the hands of indigenous people. The two questions that are appropriate for this essay are how would the end take place; would Garifuna be able to preserve as a socio-culture or
would it haemorrhage to the point of gradual extinction as had happened in other parts of the Circum-Caribbean earlier and would do so later.

The end came about as a protracted attrition of rights to natural resources. As a result, the Garifuna lost their natural resources but in the process consolidated their nationhood or their persona as a people. Europeans firstly denuded the forest of St. Vincent and secondly acquired all lands that belonged to the Garifuna. By 1700 Barbados with a land area of only 451 square kilometres already was severely overcrowded with a population of over 65,000 (Beckles 1990: 42). To satisfy the need for fuel as well as timber for construction, the British had long looked to St. Vincent located a mere one hundred and forty square kilometres to the west. Further environmental degradation came with the overflow of French and British colonists who clear-cut forests, while introducing their domestic animals. In the advance of these incursions the remaining Caribs and Black Caribs were forced to relocate to the more remote portions of the leeward side of the island. In the end they encountered ever greater difficulty to retain their traditional system of living with the land in reverence to the wishes of their ancestors and as stewards for the next generations (Miller 1979: 79).

The larger numbers of arriving maroon slaves and the correspondingly declining numbers of yellow Caribs were by themselves sufficient reasons for the welding of the Blacks and Yellows to form the indissoluble Garifuna socio-culture. But there was also taking place the struggle for sovereign control of the island, which became a political act with which there was disagreement between the Garifuna and the British but around which the French and Garifuna formed an alliance against the British as their common enemy. While the Garifuna fought for the land that was their patrimony as a nation, the French were fighting for the same land to reclaim as their possession. Archival information that Jacobs retrieved from French archives are most revealing in tracing the various machinations of master Brigand2 Victor Hughes to bring St. Vincent under French control, although the colonial motivation in Paris at that time had weakened, as there was much more focus on rehabilitation after the disastrous French Revolution.

* The Brigands, name given to French soldiers who fought in the Eastern Caribbean in the late 18th century to restore for France islands that had been taken over by the British.
The diverging reasons for the collaboration between the Garifuna and French are summarized by Jacobs,
"Hughes, however, was the representative of a country and government that on one level, had been locked in a struggle with Britain throughout the 18th century, and despite France being in the throes of revolution during this period, had not abandoned their ambitions for territorial expansion.
"On the other hand, the groups [including the Garifuna] nursing long-standing grievances over British rule were not, in the first instance, concerned with France's colonial ambitions. Their immediate aim was the redress of their grievances." (p. 3) (the words in parenthesis are mine).

Articulated clearly in this statement was a calibre of inter-cultural political negotiation, a skill that the Garifuna had honed going as far back as their time in South America.

The high stakes political gamble that the Garifuna played with the French against the British was not successful. However, this last series of fighting had further galvanized a national character among the Garifuna for two reasons. They had fought for the lands bequeathed to them by their ancestors, both Yellows and Blacks, and in doing so they literally fought to death, building a tradition that would forever remain among their descendants.

The fixation on land as primary cause for the conflict came forward in the response of the British at the end of the war in 1797. Jacobs continued,

"In 1804, an Act was passed in the St. Vincent legislature that re-vested in the Crown the lands that they [the Garifuna] had held at the time of the Treaty of 1773. By rising in rebellion, the Caribs had forfeited all claims to their lands. The Caribs remaining in St. Vincent were later pardoned by an Act of the Legislature in 1805, but they lost all claims to the lands they formerly occupied." (p. 11) (the words in parenthesis are mine)

Post-St Vincent

While those remaining at St. Vincent lost the vigour of their cultural identity,
among those coming to Central America it has flourished. However, in the aftermath of their traumatic experiences in St. Vincent, they became a nation in exile; a nation that lost its territory, sovereignty, and the political/military power to engage in alliances with other nations. Instead, they were subsumed as minority ethnic groups into emerging states and in the case of Belize, a colony of Great Britain. The question to be posed for this part of the essay is as follows. While it has been impossible for them to regain the core of their identity, namely sovereign ownership of their homeland and their socio-culture, would they be able to retain their peoplehood?

Although the banishment to Central America took place in 1797, it has not been until the past fifty years that their ethnic identity has been subjected to modern day anthropological rigour in theory and methods. The people themselves have shifted in their identity from being mere appendages in often unwelcoming national societies to reclaiming the indigenous identity, which had always been theirs prior to their exile.

The analytical model of ethnic group within the nation state has received much support from Nancie Gonzalez. Her important 1988 volume, entitled "Sojourners . of the Caribbean - ethnogenesis and ethnohistory of the Garifuna", has a Part Two entitled "The cultural basis of ethnicity" and a Part Three "The making of a modern ethnic group". Critical to Gonzalez's thesis is the centrality of the nation state as a society and that its parts (i.e. cultural groups) can be identified as ethnic groups. This thinking in western social science has been surpassed by the concept of peoplehood, which holds that indigenous people are a priori nations in their own right.

The ideology gained widespread recognition in the 1990s and has received confirmation from the United Nations and the Organizations of American States. Apart from being appropriate to the Garifuna as indigenous people, as we have already shown in the previous phases of their evolution, the designation of peoplehood lays bare the traditional lack of acceptance in their host countries in Central America. In other words, why should they be part of a whole that either rejects them for racist reasons or accepts them, only on becoming assimilated into the national society? Gonzalez may have been alluding to this conceptual abyss when she admitted in the above volume,

"In relation to ethnicity, there are in this study both theoretical and practical problems of continuing concern to many social scientists. One such problem relates to the structural position of an ethnic group vis-a-vis the larger society and what that or any other configuration may mean for the continued well-being of both. One aspect of this problem is how the individual segments of a transnational ethnic group can sustain a sense of unity." (p. 10)

What to Gonzalez in 1988 had been a "transnational ethnic group" was actually "The Garifuna - a nation across borders", the main title of a volume that I edited in 2005. Indeed, the acceptance of the ethnic concept in western anthropology came from a conviction that inevitably natives would have become either extinct or fully assimilated into national societies by the end of the last century. The realization that this had not taken place was the theme of Marshall Sahlins' introductory essay in the 1999 Annual Review of Anthropology entitled "What is anthropological enlightenment? Some lessons of the 20th century" (p i-xxiii). Having confirmed that the predictions of anthropology in the last century about the fate of native peoples had been inaccurate, he observed that many cultures had survived through their own adaptation of western technology and other aspects of the capitalist economy. Actually, there had grown a self-consciousness of culture or "a demand of the peoples for their own space within the cultural world order" (p. x). There has been now a much greater acceptance not only of the survival but also of the demands of natives to be regarded as peoples. With special reference to the Caribbean, Maximilian Forte's edited volume (2006) presents several case studies and a wide variety of methods that anthropologists have been using in their analysis.

As in the case of any ideology attendant on a larger social movement, the acceptance of indigenous peoplehood varies among the target group. There are many Garifuna, who accept their position as an ethnic group as an immutable fact, even when the nation-state has not defined them as a people and continues to deny them such rights. I relate briefly how a group of us struggled to initiate the ideology of peoplehood among the Garifuna in Belize.

The genesis was the resurgence of a Black Nationalist movement in Belize City in the 1960s in opposition to the racism within the larger colonial society. Many upwardly mobile young Garifuna men and women became members. This by itself was unusual; as normally they would be set within the established society in such fields as the religious ministry, teaching, and the public service. The realization gradually dawned on some of us, however, that not only were we black we were also part Native American with a vibrant culture that could not be subsumed within a Black Nationalist movement. We needed to heed the call of our ancestors even as we would link with fellow blacks or other oppressed groups. Most specifically, the ancestral heritage component of Garifuna culture grabbed our attention. Roy Cayetano's poem "Drums of Our Fathers" was symptomatic of the collective re­awakening taking place among us.

As this realization grew, a liberating exhilaration overtook us. We argued that our designation in English should not be 'Caribs' or 'Black Carib' but Garifuna, the name that our ancestors have always used for ourselves. The success of this insistence is that even in the social science literature the name changed permanently from Black Carib to Garifuna. Why should we give our children African names when we could give them Garifuna names? As a result, we compiled a list of names that we shared far and wide with those who wanted to join us in giving the 'appropriate' names to the next generation. Why should we dance to Jamaican reggae at parties, when we have our own drums and songs? Why should we confine our religiosity to only the western church when we also have a vibrant spirituality? Who was going to document our technologies that were quickly disappearing as masters of the crafts were dying? The same question was appropriate for our songs, dances, and folklore? Ironically, involvement in the Black Nationalist movement exposed us to the other element in us that needed re-awakening.

Simultaneously, we travelled to conferences on indigenous peoples, as we conducted advocacy at home and strengthened Garifuna organizations that eventually became the National Garifuna Council. Gradually, we saw a full blown indigenous peoples organization take shape in which we - the group that started in the 1960s -are still active, if only in an advisory capacity as elders. Over time many of us took up senior level positions in teaching, university administration, religious ministry, community development, the private sector, and public service. However, we still retain strong interest and positions of leadership in the NGC and the international indigenous peoples' movement. ^

It is not surprising that this same group has left indelible marks at the world level in such areas as the regional Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples, scholarly publications now being used as texts at the university level, and leading the difficult work toward the 2001 UNESCO Proclamation of the Garifuna music, language, and dance as masterpiece of intangible culture for all humanity. Even more importantly we have generated a set of new, younger, dynamic leaders to carry on the never ending work.

The significance of this group for this essay is in capturing that indomitable spirit of Chatoyer and his fighting men and women to preserve Garifuna identity. We might have lost our territory and sovereignty as a nation in St. Vincent but we have done much to uphold the peoplehood that our ancestors in the Americas and Africa struggled to form.

Summary and Conclusion

This essay started with the question how did the Garifuna become indigenous people. It has shown that the Garifuna acquired the label from others in North and Central America, who were already advocating within the indigenous peoples movement in the 1980s. The historical perspective dominating this essay has shown that our friends from afar were merely re-awakening among us the indigenous peoplehood that had been the core of our cultural matrix in South America and evolved with African and European influences in the Eastern Caribbean. In short, we have been indigenous for hundreds and even thousands of years.

This essay has tried to review some of the processes that accompanied transformation within the Garifuna persona. At each stage the need for more research is glaring. However, having built a skeleton the rest of the work should be more easily achieved in the future.

One of the main deterrents to building lasting peoplehood is control over segments of the political economy, a point that has missed my focus in this essay, although I made reference to it in the experiences of the Island Caribs. As point of departure, we need to revisit the uncanny political acumen Garifuna ancestors displayed in the Eastern Caribbean. Even more, there ^is the deep struggle to continue within the same nation states that have shown a lack of empathy to the ideology of peoplehood that I have described. Fortunately, the United Nations and Organizations of American States have provided much moral and technical support. However, the next frontier, namely local empowerment through the systems of the judiciary, the legislature, the executive, local government, and public administration has to be engaged within our respective nation states by building far-flung alliances within and beyond the region.

References Cited

Allaire, Louis

1997 The Island Caribs of the Lesser Antilles. In The Indigenous People of the Caribbean, ed. Samuel M. Wilson, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, pp. 177-185.

Arrivillaga, Alfonso

2005 Marcos Sanchez Diaz: from hero to hiuraha - two hundred years of
Garifuna settlement in Central America. In The Garifuna - a nation
across borders: essays in social anthropology, ed. J.O. Palacio, Belize:
Cubola Press, pp. 64-84.

Bastide, Roger

1972 African Civilizations in the New World. New York: Harper and Row.

Beckles, Hilary

1990 History of Barbados - from Amerindian settlement to nation-state. London: Cambridge University Press.

Cooper, Vincent O.

1997 Language and gender among the Kalinago of the 15th century St.
Croix. In The Indigenous People of the Caribbean, ed. Samuel M. Wilson,
Gainesville: University Press of Florida, pp. 186-196.

Davidson, William V.

1984 The Garifuna in Central America: ethnohistorical and geographical foundations. In Current Developments in Anthropological Genetics Vol. 3 Black Caribs -a case study in biocultural adaptation, ed. Michael H. Crawford. New York: Plenum Press, pp. 13-36.

1980 The Garifuna of Pearl Lagoon: ethnohistory of an Afro-American

enclave in Nicaragua. Ethnohistory 27 (1): 31-63

Forte, Maximilian C. ed.

2006 Indigenous Resurgence in the Contemporary Caribbean. New York:
Peter Lang

Gonzalez, Nancie

1988 Sojourners of the Caribbean - ethnogenesis and ethnohistory of the Garifuna. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Holdren, Ann Cody

1998 Raiders and Traders: Caraibe social and political networks at the time
of European contact and colonization in the Eastern Caribbean, PhD
dissertation, UCLA

Honychurch, Lennox

2002 The leap at Sauters: the lost cosmology of indigenous Grenada. UWI Cave Hill (Barbados): Grenada Country Conference.

Jacobs, Curtis

2003 The Brigands' War in St. Vincent: the view from French records 1794-
96. UWI Cave Hill (Barbados): St. Vincent Country Conference.

Kirby, I.E. and C.I. Martin

1972 The rise and fall of the Black Caribs of St. Vincent. St. Vincent

Hulme Peter

2004 French Accounts of the Vincentian Caribs. In The Garifuna - a nation
across borders: essays in social anthropology, ed. J.O. Palacio, Belize:
Cubola Press, pp. 21-42.

Miller, David Lawrence

1979 The European impact on St. Vincent, 1600-1763: suppression and displacement of native population and landscape. M.A. thesis, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Palacio, Joseph O.

2005 Reconstructing Garifuna oral history - techniques and methods in the
history of a Caribbean people. In the Garifuna - a nation across
borders: essays in social anthropology, ed. J.O. Palacio, Belize: Cubola
Press, pp. 43-63

2006 Looking at ourselves in the mirror: the Caribbean Organization of
Indigenous Peoples. In Indigenous Resurgence in the Contemporary
Caribbean, ed. Maximilian C. Forte. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 215-

Rouse, Irvin

1991 The Taino - rise and fall of the people who greeted Columbus. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Sahlins, Marshall

1999 What is anthropological enlightenment? Some lessons of the 20th century, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 28: i-xxiii

Whitehead, Neil, L.

1998 Who is Carib? What is Carib society? Ethnology, Ethnicity, and History, paper prepared for the workshop on Carib Societies. Georgetown, Sept. 1998.

1988 Lords of the Tiger - a history of the Caribs in colonial Venezuela and Guyana 1498-1820. Holland: Foris Publications

Young, William

1971 An Account of the Black Charaibs in the island of St. Vincent's London: Frank Cass.