Minister Norton meets with “Kawanalu Yamuk Culture Group” in Mahdia

Ministry of the Presidency, Social Cohesion, Press Release – Monday, March 11, 2019

On Saturday, March 9, 2019, Minister of Social Cohesion, with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, met with members of the Kawanalu Yamuk Culture Group in Mahdia, Region 8.

The name Kawanalu Yamuk is Patamona in origin and means Cock-of-the-Rock in English. The Group which consists primarily of children aims to foster an environment conducive to the preservation of Indigenous culture and languages.

“Through the children we can ensure that the culture of the Indigenous people is not lost. The creation of this group is primarily to ensure that the culture is transferred from one generation to the next” explained Head of the group, Marilyn Gouveia.

Gouveia disclosed that as a result of the influx of persons to the Potaro/Siparuni community, the culture of the Indigenous people was slowly becoming a thing of the past; “Persons are coming with different cultures, languages and experiences which create a challenge to ensure the Indigenous language and culture is preserved amongst the younger generation.”

“Lots of people no longer speak the indigenous language, the culture is shifting to accommodate persons who don’t understand the culture and the language” Gouveia added.

Minister Norton expressed satisfaction with the work of the group and through the meeting, promised to provide the necessary support from the Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport in the interest of ensuring sustainability and development of the group.

“This intervention is timely as 2019 was declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations” said Minister Norton.

The declaration of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations support the notion that languages play an important role in our daily lives and among other things is the heart of each person’s unique identity, cultural history and memory.

The loss of the native languages can have a huge impact on the Indigenous people’s basic human rights. The complex knowledges and cultures fostered are recognised as strategic resources for good governance, peacebuilding, reconciliation and sustainable development according to one aspect of the Declaration’s justification.