Hundreds flock St. Cuthbert’s Mission heritage celebration

-Community commended for championing language preservation

DPI, Guyana, Sunday September 30, 2018

As the month-long Indigenous Heritage celebration winds down, hundreds of patrons from all walks of life were treated to the sight, tastes and sounds of the rich Indigenous culture, at the St. Cuthbert’s Mission yesterday.

The activity started at approximately 12:00hrs at the village Benab with poems, dances, songs and renditions from various cultural groups from the only Indigenous settlement in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), all of which depicted the way of life of Guyana’ First Peoples. There were also live demonstrations of the cassava bread making process.

During brief remarks at the opening ceremony, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe reflected on what ‘heritage’ means to the people of Guyana.

The minister said while the indigenous people use the month to showcase their culture, ‘it is more than that; it is a month of reflection and celebration of how far we have come as a people.’

Minister Garrido reminded that the entire process started with the late Stephen Campbell, Guyana’s first Indigenous parliamentarian who led the fight for lands rights for the first peoples.

“We have much to celebrate, we have come through a lot through the centuries and we have emerged strong.” She commended all those in the village who have been preserving the Indigenous identity through the teaching of the Arawak language.

Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton called on the entire community to become a ‘language champion,’ even as the community continues to lead the way in the preservation of the Arawak language.

“I recognised that time has had its effects on the various aspects of the Indigenous culture of this country and particularly that of our language. I want to call all of you to action to become a language champion, similar to that of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, for we know a connection to our language and identity is not just about an indigenous issue, it is a human issue.”

Toshao Beverley Clenkian highlighted some of the achievements of the village over the past years. She noted that the village has produced many trained teachers, doctors, nurses and medex, and successful sportsmen and women.

Clenkian said that the village is proud of these achievements and urged the residents to use the event to recognise those persons who would have made the village proud.

Synieka Thorne.

Image; Jules Gibson.

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