Saturday, April 09, 2005

A Guide to Garifuna Websites, by Rony Figueroa

(Reproduced with the permission of Rony Figueroa)

Thanks to the internet, the different ethnic groups are able to come together as one by only logging into their computers. A website can be used as a launching pad to keep a community together. It can be used to inform and dispel the doubts and ignorance that some of us have in regards to people who we know little about like the Garifuna.

This is how the following event has been put together without recurring to costly and messy red tape. I am talking about the big summit, meeting or forum however you want to call it which will be held at Maabatuwa Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

I can’t wait to partake in the upcoming Garifuna Community Forum LA 2005. The tantalizing idea of having all of these talented people come together for one very important and crucial event to take place on the 16 of April, 2005. I am referring to the cream of the crop, the “leche de coco”, artists, musicians, writers, doctors, entrepreneurs, executives and CEO’s and put simply the people concerned about their culture.

As I sit at home while flipping through the virtual pages on the internet, I can’t help noticing the explosion on articles and people that are coming out of the woods to communicate through the different Garifuna websites. The interest that has grown and developed about the Garifuna websites, has taken off like a boat in the horizon. People have learned a new way to communicate with one another cheaply and effectively. Our children no longer lack the access to the best and abundant information on their favorite, unusual and mysterious subjects. The websites that feature Garifuna culture, music and historical information, have began to explode into the cyber world.

As a matter of fact, I think that we all should have a website of our own. There is room for everybody to publish and disseminate information through the web about each one’s peculiar and individual qualities and talent. There is for example the more commercialized site that features not only written articles about Garifuna people, places and things but also about music, videos, DVD’s, photo galleries, arts & crafts and other gadgets for sale. is one of the leading websites that have revolutionized the meaning of Garifuna World on the net. Are you looking for a flag or how about a documentary about Garifuna? Go to

On the other hand, a cultural and purely informative website that caters to the heart and soul of the Garifuna people at no cost. You can post your announcements, shot-outs and social events for free. You can listen to Ciego’s Heaven Punta Rock radio or merely browse through the pictures posted by Garinagu from all over the place in the Gallery section. Is your website lost in cyber space where nobody can find it? Then link it up at List your family members’ birthday greeting in the Birthday section.
Are you planning a trip to La Buga – Livingston and don’t know where to stay? Go and visit this most colorful website with the flavor of Guatemala at

Then, we encounter the more serious and traditional website like This site specializes in grass roots information about the people and events that affect the people of Belize’s Seine Bight village. There, you would find history, cultural information as well as the root of the Garifuna people that settled in that region. Want information of traditional Garifuna medicine? Then, you will find it at How about researching the Family Tree? Learn more about the history and the traditional ways of the people by reading the articles by Mr. Clifford Palacio. Photos, hotel listings, garifuna lessons, all of these things are found in this unique and interesting website.

I have come to find out more about Garifuna from Honduras through a controversial website that has a fascinating written content on their arrival from Saint Vincent to the actual settlements along the cost of Honduras. I truly challenge you to read, understand and perhaps discuss its contents with your parents or elderly because it certainly picks your mind. I have included the link to this site but I warn you; get a Spanish speaking person to help you translate it because the translation featured by the search engine is confusing and not accurate:

From an artistic point of view, I recommend you visit This website is Felene Cayetano’s creation. She will navigate you through her poetry and artistic approach to Garifuna culture. There you could read her biography, leave your greeting on the guestbook, check out and purchase a book published by herself. She writes, “On the eve of this new year, the eve of my return to my birth country after over a decade, I am left questioning my identity. Like so many other immigrants who go to a new country as children and return to their birth countries as adults, I harbor cultural insecurities”.

These are some of the most influential websites that I have surfed during my research for this article. These sites are only 5 of the many more that are out there. I encourage you to do your own research and visit each one of them for the sake of cultural awareness.

The diversity that these websites represent is just a token of proof for the uniqueness and creativity of individuals that strive for a better tomorrow for the Garifuna people. Survival through education is the call of action.

If you have any questions, comments or rebuttals, please feel free to contact me at:

Friday, April 08, 2005

Garifuna Poetry

New poems by Cheryl Noralez, a Garifuna, are available, along with other writings at:

A History of the Ancient Caribbean

Taller Puertorriqueno
2721 N. 5th Street Philadelphia, PA 19133. (215) 426-3311. (215) 426-5682

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Yolanda Colón
Marketing Director

Philadelphia, PA-- On April 23rd, 2005 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., travel through time as you explore A History of the Ancient Caribbean, a public symposium on the Taínos at Philadelphia's own Taller Puertorriqueño.

A History of the Ancient Caribbean is a public symposium that will celebrate the closing of the highly acclaimed exhibition Island of the Burén: The Taínos and their predecessors in Puerto Rico. Admission is $15 to the general public and $8 to Taller members and students.

A History of the Ancient Caribbean will serve as a vehicle to explore the Taíno culture, the first people Columbus encountered and the most highly developed culture when Columbus reached Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) in 1492.

Serving as the context will be Taller Puertorriqueño's current exhibit Island of the Burén: The Taínos and their predecessors in Puerto Rico. This exhibit presents a comprehensive interpretation of unprecedented works of art from the Taínos. Edward Sozanski, art critic from the Philadelphia Inquirer, called the exhibition "an elegant and ambitious installation." Island of the Burén presents rare and beautiful objects in stone, ceramics, shell and bone that illustrate
diverse spheres of Taíno culture.

Among the distinguished scholars that will participate in the first panel discussion of its kind will be Peter E. Siegel, PhD. of John Milner Associates in West Chester PA, John G. Crock, Ph.D. of the University of Vermont, Luis A. Curet, Ph.D. of the Field Museum in Chicago, IL, and Dicey Taylor, PhD guest curator at Taller Puertorriqueño PA and El Museo del Barrio NY. Glenis Tavárez Maria, director of the Museum of Dominican Man of the Dominican Republic will moderate the discussion.

After the symposium in Taller’s Rafael P. Hernandez Theater 2557 N. 5 th Street Phila., PA, continue the voyage with a guided tour to the Island of the Burén: The Taínos and their predecessors in Puerto Rico in the Lorenzo Homar Gallery 2721 N. 5 th Street Phila., PA.

To register for the symposium please send a check or money order to Taller Puertorriqueño, Inc. 2721 N. 5 th Street Philadelphia PA, 19133, call 215.426.3311 with your credit card information or visit our website

The symposium A History of the Ancient Caribbean will bring to a closing the magnificent exhibit beautifully installed by guest curator Dicey Taylor, PhD who has curated other Taíno exhibitions in El Museo del Barrio in NY and by Taller Puertorriqueño's visual arts curator Anabelle Rodríguez.

A History of the Ancient Caribbean is made possible by generous support from Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Washington Mutual, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and others. Island of the Burén includes important loans from The Museo de Historia Antropología y Arte of the University of Puerto Rico, The Museo de Arte de Ponce, Ponce, Puerto Rico, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA.

Created in 1974 and celebrating its 30th anniversary, Taller Puertorriqueño, Inc. has served as a multidisciplinary community anchored arts and cultural organization. Taller Puertorriqueño is dedicated to the preservation, development and promotion of Puerto Rican arts and culture and is committed to the quality representation of other Latino cultural expressions and our common roots. Located in the heart of the Latino community at the entrance of the Golden Block in Philadelphia PA, Taller Puertorriqueño stands as a beacon for the community's cultural expression and pride.

Participating Scholars:
John G. Crock, PhD
Dr. John G. Crock is an associate professor of anthropology and director of the Consulting Archaeology Program. He has conducted archaeological research in Maine, Vermont and the British West Indies. His research interests include maritime adaptations, the development of chiefdoms and prehistoric networks of trade and exchange. He received his B.A. from the University of Vermont, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, before joining the UVM faculty in 2000. His dissertation research focused on late prehistoric Amerindian society in Anguilla and the development of socially complex chiefdoms in the northern Lesser Antilles. John has authored dozens of technical reports for consulting archaeology projects and also has published articles on his research in New England and the Caribbean.

L. Antonio Curet PhD
Antonio Curet has conducted archaeological research in Puerto Rico and Veracruz, Mexico. He has led regional studies in the Valley of Maunabo, Puerto Rico and was involved in different research aspects of the Proyecto Arqueológico La Mixtequilla, Veracruz. He has been involved also in excavations in several sites in Puerto Rico and Arizona. Currently, Curet is conducting excavations in the earliest ceremonial center of the Caribbean, Tibes in southern Puerto Rico. At this site he and Dr. Lee Newsom are studying changes in social organization and economy of domestic groups or households and how they are related to the development of social inequality in ancient Puerto Rico.

Peter E. Siegel, PhD
Dr. Peter E. Siegel is a Principal Archaeologist/Project Manager with John Milner Associates and a consulting archaeologist for Latin America and the Caribbean with New South Associates. Dr. Siegel has conducted archaeological and ethnographic investigations in South America and the Caribbean since 1976. He is a Registered Professional Archaeologist and is active in various professional archaeological associations, including the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology. He has 20 years experience in the business of cultural resources consulting. He speaks Spanish and lived in Puerto Rico for seven years while employed by the Centro de Investigaciones Indígenas de Puerto Rico, and has conducted archaeological and ethnographic investigations in the Caribbean and South America. Most recently Dr. Siegel provided technical archaeological supervision on an 18-inch natural gas pipeline in Bolivia, conducted on behalf of Dames and Moore, Enron and Shell Gas Latin America. Dr. Siegel has developed contacts in the archaeological/regulatory community in several South American countries, most notably, Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Peru, and Colombia. He is familiar with the cultural resources regulatory requirements in the Caribbean.

Dicey Taylor, PhD
Dicey Taylor, PhD, has held a curatorial appointment at El Museo del Barrio since 1996, where she developed their two most important exhibitions on Taíno culture to date. She has contributed to numerous publications on archeological and anthropological issues revolving around the recent developments in the investigation of Pre-Columbian art and artifacts not only dealing with Caribbean but with Mayan culture as well. Before her appointment at El Museo del Barrio, she was the Assistant Curator of the Yale University Art Gallery’s Department of Ancient Art and the Department of Ancient Art and the Department of European and Contemporary Art. Dr. Taylor holds a PhD from Yale University’s Department of Art History.
Three brochures and flyers accompany this release:
(1) The press release, as reproduced above;
(2) A flyer for the discussion panel referred to above; and,
(3) A brochure for the symposium and exhibition.

All of these materials are in Adobe PDF format.

Belize: A Concise History. By Peter Thomson.

The information provided below is from the back cover of a new book released from Macimillan Caribbean (, Belize: A Concise History, by Peter Thomson (ISBN 0-333-77925-8).

"The small Central American state of Belize has an unusual history. It was an important part of the pre-Columbian Mayan civilisation, which also embraced most of Guatemala, northern Honduras, and southern Mexico. Having fallen between three early Spanish colonial jurisdictions, Belize was then settled in the seventeenth century by British adventurers, many of them ex-buccaneers. They were in search of logwood, a tropical softwood the heart of which was in demand in Europe as a vegetable dye. The British government, while upholding the right of the settlers to live and work there, never challenged the sovereignty of Spain over the territory, and indeed recognised it in two eighteenth century treaties. But they refused to accept later Guatemalan and Mexican claims to inheritance of Spanish sovereignty. The consequences of the former dispute live on today. Meanwhile British Honduras, now Belize, underwent a series of transformations. Logwood gave way to Mahogany as a basis for the economy. As mahogany resources were depleted, a number of attempts at diversification eventually resulted in the present sugar, banana, citrus and tourist industries. In parallel, the early tradition of government by magistrates elected by a very small white minority evolved, via a hundred and ten years of colonial rule, into the fully democratic sovereign statehood of today. This book traces the outline of this complex story in as objective a way as possible, allowing the facts recorded in files in London and Belize to speak for themselves."--Peter Thomson served as British High Commissioner in Belize from 1987 to 1990.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

"Los Nuevos Tainos"

Los nuevos taínos y la diáspora caribeña is an article that some will find has interesting information to offer, along with an analysis of current artistic productions, such as poetry, by contemporary Tainos. In fact, I personally prefer to speak of contemporary Tainos, rather than "new Tainos", which can have some negative implications.