Through words and music

─ ‘Beyuka Irekida’ promotes Indigenous culture

─ second event held

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, July 26, 2019.

The second Beyuka Irekida was held at the Indigenous Heritage Village Sophia on July 26. The event hosted every last Friday in the month showcases the culture of the Indigenous peoples through song, dance, art, handicraft and food.

The inaugural Beyuka Irekida – meaning a musical gathering in Arawak- was held on June 28.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe joined the wide cross-section of persons gathered at the Indigenous Heritage Village.

We welcome all musicians, all artists, those who want to recite a poem, those who want to tell a story about your village, about the legends and myths of the hinterland, of the Indigenous people; we want to educate our people, we want to learn the various Indigenous languages,” she said.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Hon. Valerie Garrido-Lowe interacts with some members of the audience.

There were performances by several Indigenous persons and a fashion show by local Indigenous designer Vanda Allicock-Calistro. Food and drinks were also on sale.

It was highlighted that 2019 has been declared the Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations. The aim is to raise awareness of the consequences of the endangerment of Indigenous languages across the world and to establish a link between language, development, peace, and reconciliation.

Event Coordinator, Ovid Williams.

Event Coordinator, Ovid Williams said a calendar of event to observe the year was officially launched in January at Aishalton in Region 9. “We have activities to revitalise the languages that are going extinct, Warrau, Arawak, Loko and the Carib languages.

Williams explained that the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs also is working to preserve the Indigenous languages that still exist – these are the Waiwai, Macushi, Wapician, Patamona, Akawaio and the Arakuna languages.

“We have printed some books and some dictionaries, we will soon be launching the Patamona dictionary in September coinciding with the Indigenous Heritage Month celebrations,” he said.

The ministry has completed the translation of the Arawak Alphabet to establish a writing system so that persons of Arawak descent can document their culture.

Looking ahead to activities to observe Indigenous Heritage Month, Williams revealed that there will be a grand music festival in September, however, this will be preceded by preliminary rounds in the various regions before the finals, which will be held in Georgetown.

Other plans for the month include a storytelling competition in the Moruca Sub-District to capture the rich history of the Indigenous peoples. There will also be a children’s art competition where winners will be awarded cash prizes and have their pieces featured on a Calendar. There will also be a short story competition regarding Indigenous stories and legends.

“It is all about celebrating our Indigenous languages and this activity [Beyuka Irekida] is just one many that will promote the language, culture and talent of Guyana’s Indigenous people,” Williams remarked.