New York March 14, 2019 – The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization is proud to celebrate St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Heroes Day as part of Garifuna-American Heritage Month which celebrates the contributions of Garifuna-Americans to the fabric of New York City and New York State.

On March 14, 1795, Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer Paramount Chief of the Caribs was killed by British troops at Dorsetshire Hill, Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines. He led the nation in preventing the Europeans from colonizing the islands.

On March 14, 2002 this date was declared that Joseph Chatoyer The Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer Paramount Chief of the Caribs (Garifuna) was declared the first National Hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Accordingly, March 14th was declared National Heroes Day, as well as a public holiday.

On this day, the country honors their national hero, The Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer Paramount Chief of the Caribs (Garifuna). As part of the Heroes Day celebration, a wreath-laying ceremony is held at the obelisk at Dorsetshire Hill. (Click to see pictures)
The inscription on the monument reads as follow:

This Obelisk (Monument) is dedicated in honor of the Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer Paramount Chief of the Caribs

Joseph Chatoyer was elevated to the position of Paramount Chief and King in 1768. He was a freedom fighter, liberator, a staunch enemy of colonialism. He was a military strategist, head of the Garifuna (Black Caribs) and head of their war council.

Chatoyer was well respected in this nation as well as by the British and French.

In 1773 he headed the Garifuna Delegation to the signing of a peace treaty between the British and the Caribs at the Grand Camp Macaricau.

Chatoyer spoke fluent French in addition to the Garifuna tongue.

His role as Paramount Chief, made him a high priest, Commander-In-Chief of all the Carib warriors, and the head of state of the Garifuna Nation.

Thus, he was responsible for the Garifuna Nation, socially, politically, economically, military, and otherwise.

The Garifunas are a hybrid people resulting from a biological and cultural mixture between Caribs and Arawaks of the Caribbean and people of African origin. This process of hybridization, which took place in the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent, gave rise to a new group called the Garifuna or the Garinagu. All of the communities in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua descend from just over two thousand Garifuna people forcibly deported from Saint Vincent by the British in 1797. They are therefore one people who share the same history and a common tradition in language, music and dance among other things. St Vincent and the Grenadines or “Yurumein” is the ancestral homeland of the Garifuna People.

Happy National Heroes Day and Garifuna-American Heritage Month

References

E. Kirby and C.I Martin, The Rise and Fall of the Black Caribs (Garifuna) by I, 2004

Taylor, Christopher, The Black Carib Wars: Freedom, Survival, and the Making of the Garifuna, University Press of Mississippi, 2012

Preliminary notes on the quantification of reparation from the British for the lands stolen, for genocide and forcible deportation of the Garifuna People and for enslavement of Africans in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister ofSt Vincent and the Grenadines, April 05, 2013

UNESCO CANDIDATURE STANDARD FORM Proclamation of masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity

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