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Information of Garifuna

The Garifuna or Garífuna are a ethnic group in the Caribbean Caribbean article area, decended from a mix of Native American Native American article and African Africa article people. They are also sometimes known as Garifune or Black Caribs.
In 1635 1635 article , two Spanish Spain article ships carrying slaves Slave article from what is now Nigeria Nigeria article to the West Indies West Indies article were ship-wrecked near the island of Saint Vincent Saint Vincent (island) article . The slaves escaped the sinking boat and reached the shores of the island, where they were welcomed by the Carib Carib article Indians, who offered their protection. Their intermarriage formed the Garinagu people (known as Garifuna today). The name was derived from a phrase meaning "people who eat cassava Cassava article ".
The history of the Garifuna, however, began long before the year 1635 1635 article . Saint Vincent was inhabited by a tribe of Indians who called themselves Arawaks Arawak article . On arriving on the island Carib Indians fought and defeated the Arawak Indians. The Arawak men were all killed and the Kalipuna (Caribe) warriors took the Arawak women as wives. The inhabitants of the island were then the result of the union of these two tribes. Because of this, the Garifuna speak an Arawak-based language and not a Carib-based language.
Today many Garifuna are settled around the Bay of Honduras Bay of Honduras article , especially in southern Belize Belize article , on the coast of Guatemala Guatemala article around Livingston Livingston, Guatemala article , and on the island of Roatan Roatan article , and coastal towns of Honduras Honduras article .
See also: Garifuna music Garifuna music article


By Benjamin Palacio:      Seine Bight village is located about 5 miles north of the village of Placencia and stretches about four miles along the Placencia Peninsula. It is one of six Garinagu communities in Belize. The name Seine Jancunu Dancing of Seine Bight 2002Bight originates from the type of net, called a seine, used by the fishermen that used the area for drying and salting their catch and bight meaning a depression in the coastal line.

     The inhabitants of Seine Bight are descendants of a people who originated in St. Vincent. These people who were the result of a mixture of Africans who had been intended for slaves and the local Carib Indians of St. Vincent. The Garinagu people had a long journey to reach the shores of Belize, being sent first to the island of Balliceaux, then on to Rotan before a group finally came to Belize. These arrived in Belize on November 19th, 1832. They settled in Seine Bight about the year 1869. They were led from Riversdale by Emmanuel "Walpy" Moreira.

Two other groups followed: John Martinez who settled in the southern area called Santuario, and Mateo Augustine who settled in the northern division called Augustine Ville. Many more came to the village in the 1950's when the Blair Atoll operation, which produced rice & copra, was closed down. Re-enactment of Settlement Day in Seine Bight Village 2002
     Seine Bight now has a population of over 800 people and is still predominantly a community of Garinagu. They speak English, but still maintain the Garifuna language, which is an African dialect with a strong mixture of French, Spanish and English words. Today they preserve their cultural drumming, dances and customs and welcome visitors to share their culture.

By Clifford Palacio: Seine Bight Village has been known by many names, the one most frequently used being the "Home of Young Intelligent Folks". The village holds the reputation as the home of the largest number of Garifuna teachers of Belize.
In the 1920's and the 1930's most of the Garifuna teachers of British Honduras (now Belize) were found in Seine Bight.
The man responsible for the cultivation of that brood of teachers was Mr. Simeon Sampson, Sr. who spent twenty-three years of his teaching career as Seine Bight Village teacher.
Like most village teachers of his day, Mr. Sampson held multiple posts, namely, minister of religion, post master, counselor, deputy registrar of deaths and births, health coordinator (administering vaccinations), and alcalde (with full legal duties of a magistrate).

Seine Bight's Ben Palacio

By Benjamin Palacio: Seine Bight Village is the Jewel of the Peninsula and sits right in the middle of it. Over 826 Garifuna people make up the heart and drum beat of this fishing village where the dug out canoe is still the way to the sea. Nautical Inn is situated on the north edge of this village.

Garifuna (or Garinagu - the Africanized term for Garifuna) culture and history is fascinating -- combining slavery, tyranny, intrigue, revolts, uprisings, plagues, pestilence and treachery.
Notwithstanding their turbulent history, the Garifuna have managed to preserve their unique culture with their punta and Wanaragua dances, sacred drumming, Anancy folk tales, ancestral worship, Elder's Councils and other cultural practices.

In fact, the international jury of the World Heritage Center in Paris has proclaimed the "Garifuna Culture" to be "a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity." The proclamation recognizes Garifuna language, music, dance and spiritual values to be of outstanding universal value to all humanity.

Hurricane Shelter Seine Bight Village


Seine Bight Village is close to the perfect place to learn about Garifuna culture and history. Seine Bight is small (population of approximately 826 people), so visitors are easily able to meet and talk with Village residents and elders. Seine Bight was fairly isolated until about 26 years ago when the Peninsula road was built - - allowing its unique Garifuna culture to survive and prosper.

Benjamin E. Palacio

Seine Bight Guest Book

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