Indigenous Myths, Legends and Oral Traditions forum begins

─ several city schools participated

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Several Nursery, Primary and Secondary school students today, participated in the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s 17th annual Indigenous Myths, Legends and Oral Traditions of Guyana forum at the Umana Yana, Kingston, Georgetown.

The event, which was facilitated by the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, featured storytelling, dances, poems and a skit depicting the Indigenous culture and way of life.

The Mainstay Cultural Group performed the ‘Mari Mari’ dance and Dolly Chambers, a former Hinterland Scholarship Student of Paurima Village performed a skit demonstrating the ‘transformation of an Arecuma girl to a piaichang (spiritual curer). Fola Cadogan, a student of Anais Private School performed a dramatic poem ‘it is we’, while Michael Khan engaged the students in storytelling.

Addressing those gathered for the opening ceremony, Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton pointed out that the event captures much of what social cohesion stands for; “being proud of our different cultures and celebrating all of these in unity.”

“Today’s activity is an ideal way of bringing culture alive. Often times the excitement and true magic of our traditions get lost in text, when that happens it is important for us to bring these traditions and tales alive so that all aspect of it can be grasped and appreciated by our youths,” Minister Norton pointed out.

He encouraged the public, especially students and parents, and to make the activity, not only an educational one but an event that strengthens the bonds between them and their loved ones.

The forum, which will be held over the next two days, concludes on Friday, September 28.

Shana Adonis, Administrative Manager of the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology noted the importance of oral traditions to the country’s intangible cultural heritage; “they are living expressions inherited from our ancestors that are passed on to our descendants.” This type of expression” she said, cannot be overemphasised.

Adonis provided a brief background of the Indigenous Heritage Month and an overview of this month’s activities.

Indigenous Heritage Month is an annual observance that is held every September in observance of Guyana’s Indigenous peoples. Heritage Month has its roots in September 1957, when Stephen Campbell became the county’s first Indigenous Member of Parliament.

Synieka Thorne.

Images: Giovanni Gajie.

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