Month: October 2012
Through the Political Glass Ceiling in Britsh Library
Now in Britsh Library: Dr Kris Rampersad, author, presents a copy of her book Through the Political Glass Ceiling – Race to Prime Ministership by Trinidad and Tobago’s First Female, Kamla Bersad Bissessar to the Caribbean Collections at the British Library, London.
And Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar presents a copy of Through the Political Glass Ceiling – Race to Prime Ministership by Trinidad and Tobago’s First Female, Kamla Bersad Bissessar by Kris Rampersad to Al Gore…
Consultation on UNESCO’S cultural convention gets impressive support
A wide cross section of stakeholders turned out to learn more regarding two cultural conventions which the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis hope to ratify in the near future.
At least three of the blog articles from Demokrissy moves into media
The Tomb raiders strike in Mayaro
Tomb connects global diaspora
The historic Ganteaume Tombs in Mayaro belong to one of Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest, wealthiest and most influential lineages. It has links with more than 20 prominent families with ancestries through European, North and South American, Asia and the Caribbean.
Mayaro residents take historic building in hand
If you have not yet done a blog now’s the time to do t to feel the power of communication and outreach now available to all those who have access to a computer/phone or social media tool.
Bloogng gives you direct access to a world audience no matter how small a place yu may cme from.
From Trinidad and Tobago, one of the most powerful voices in mainstream media, Trevor McDonald, has often told of how he came from a small backwater island in the Caribbean and became the toast of the media world through moving to London to to work for the BBC and then for ITN. He has had a significant impact on perceptions of the role and place and power and influence of media in shaping society. Now, through blogging, that power is in the hands of social media users everywhere ……
“In many parts of the world, we have distinct identities and we continue to occupy and share ancestral lands.”
Carib Chief complains of neglect | Trinidad Express Newspaper | News
Carib Chief complains of neglect
‘Community not getting recognition’
By Louis B Homer
A home for the Caribs
Plans for Amerindian Village in Arima
By Irene Medina: Associate Editor
This was the finding of a National Geographic Genographic Project which was conducted on some 25 members of the 600-strong Santa Rosa First Peoples (Carib) Community sometime in July 2012.
With the results just in, president of the community Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez believes it is good for the community’s identity which is sometimes questioned, as to whether it is the real thing.
As he puts it, “We never claimed to be a pure indigenous community, we know we are of mixed descent, but at the same time we are very conscious of where we came from. We can trace our ancenstry.”
The results come at a time when pottery artefacts and bone fragments believed to be of Amerindian heritage dating back to AD 0-350 were discovered by workers doing restoration works at the Red House in Port of Spain about three weeks ago.
The fragments are strongly believed to date back to the Amerindian era and Chief Bharath-Hernandez has already visited the site, which formerly housed the Office of the Parliament, and stands ready to perform the necessary ancestral rituals once it is confirmed that the fragments are indeed Amerindian.
He explained that the community was excited to participate further in the Genographic Project in an effort to trace the paternal and maternal lineages of all of its 600 members.
The results of the project were released to Bharath-Hernandez on March 28 by Dr Jada BennTorres from the University of Pennsylvania, who is responsible for administering the project to the local community.
In her letter, Dr BennTorres thanked the Santa Rosa Karina (Carib) community for participating in the project and explained, “We have completed preliminary analysis of the mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome (NRY markers). These analyses will tell us about the maternal and paternal lineages of the community members.”
According to her, the findings of the genetic ancestry of the community “indicate a complex ancestry that includes Africans, in addition to a very strong Native American ancestral component”.
She added that all 25 individuals would receive their information at a later date and that more detailed findings of the analyses would be released to the community.
Bharath-Hernandez told the Express that swabs were taken from participants’ mouths and while members were fearful of giving blood, the tests did not involve blood samples. He said a lot of people were scared and sceptical so a mere 25 participated. He, however, hopes to convince more people to test their DNA.
At present Chief Bharath-Hernandez is consumed with plans to construct permanent home for his community on 25 acres of land given to the group by the State last December.
“We plan to construct a modern Indigenous Amerindian Village, meaning we want to keep the village as authentic and traditional as possible but with all modern-day amenities.
“It will comprise a main centre to be used as a meeting and cultural space, which will be located in the centre of the village. Spiritual rituals will also be conducted there. There will also be an official residence for the Carib Queen, Jennifer Cassar; a cassava-processing plant to make farine, cassava flour, cassava bread and casaripe; a craft centre where the people will be doing the indigenous craft, as well as an indigenous museum to display our artefacts.”
The president added that there will be a guest house to accommodate visitors and students who wish to do ethnographic studies.
“The plan is to have ten to 12 families living there permanently and they would be responsible for the management of the place. We are also going to have an agricultural focus, consisting of wildlife and crop farming.
“We intend to conduct eco-tours and nature trails, because the intention is to keep a major portion of land in its natural form,” the chief said.
He spoke of the need for a natural watercourse through the land, which, he said, would have been possible, had the State granted them the 200 acres they requested.
“There is one on adjacent lands, west of the village but that plot is privately owned and we may want to ask for that as well,” he said.
Originally, he said the Amerindians were given 1300 acres of land.
“We have evidence that the Mission of Arima was established and the land was lost to the British, but with the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, one of the articles states that governments should work with indigenous communities to redress some of those wrongs.”
He said the 25 acres was long in coming.
“The journey took 40 years to reach here, starting with Dr Eric Williams in the 1970s, who, on a visit to Arima, was approached by then-Queen Edith Martinez for assistance for the Santa Rosa Festival.
He instructed the Arima Corporation to give a grant of $200, which was used to register the community.
“That grant moved to $500 and now stands at $5,000. Successive governments over the years provided some assistance by way of small grants, but the idea of 200 acres of land was first discussed with the Basdeo Panday administration in 1995.”
“In 1990, the NAR government approved a $30,000 yearly grant, but it was in 1995 when then-prime minister Basdeo Panday met with us to discuss a request for 200 acres.
“The idea is that most of the land would remain in its natural formation, because of the importance of forest to the indigenous community, it would not be cleared for commercial use.”
Chief Bharath-Hernandez noted, however, that although the 25 acres were awarded in December 2012, he is yet to receive any official documents.
“We have also not yet discussed under what terms the lands would be given. We are hoping it is not a lease arrangement, but a grant in light of the fact that the community once owned 1,300 acres.
“It has been a long process, about 40-plus years, we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. It may not be finished in my lifetime but a major part would be established, “he said.
The community observes a Day of Recognition on October 14 annually, and Bharath-Hernandez is hoping that with a permanent and spacious home, the community could do more to mark its heritage.
As to how soon the development is expected to start, Bharath-Hernandez said “it could start as soon as tomorrow”.
He spoke of forming partnerships with numerous agencies, including the Ministry of Tourism, “who sees the village as having tourism potential”.
He said the promised lands are now before the Director of Surveys, the results of which will inform the type of development to take place on the land.
Bharath-Hernandez said preliminary discussions are also on with a well-known designer for possible layout of the village.
He added that his members have mixed feelings about the Amerindian Village. “They are excited, but because most of them are old they lament they might not be around to be a part of the development.
“But we are already seeing some interest expressed by the younger ones, because, for the first time, they could have a livelihood and see ways for their own development.”
The newly registered name, Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, has also gone a long way in removing the stigma of the community being associated with an alcoholic beverage, a popular brand name chicken and cannibalism, he said.
See Also: http://kris-rampersad.blogspot.com/2012/10/centuries-old-heritage-tomb-spanning.html#more
the first European explorers cast their eyes in this direction in the quest for El Dorado. With the world re-awakening to the value of culture and heritage and the Caribbean being a repository of histories and heritage of migrant streams from all the continents of the world, El Dorado is not just the bullion or traditional objects of value as gold and jewelry, but artefacts that may be believed to fetch high prices in the world market, or become part of heritage collections that may one day be sold to museums and archives for high prices. These lie underwater, on land, in documents and in the oral memory and traditions we hold.
This siphoning out of such assets and heritage, deprive local communities and populations of enjoyment and appreciation of their heritage but also of creating and generating incomes from legitimate heritage-based industries and activities. It was partly in response to this that UNESCO developed its albeit convoluted sets of conventions related to protection of natural, cultural, built, knowledge and information heritage, assets all aligned to a complex series of processes and procedures and international legal instruments. (See list below.)