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Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St Vincent and the Grenadines “Yurumein” Timeline

2009
The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. achieves the proclamation designating March 11th- April 12thof each year as Garifuna American Heritage Month. The achievement was an integral part of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc.’s efforts to raise awareness about the Garifuna Community in New York City and promote the self-determination and unification of the New York Garifuna community through grassroots organizing and community building.

As part of the awareness raising campaign, the Garifuna Coalition partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau for Census 2010, so that together, they could secure a complete and accurate 2010 Census count of New York City’s population. Through the partnership, the Garifuna Coalition formally pledged its commitment to share the 2010 Census message and mobilize its constituents in support of the Census Bureau’s goal of achieving a complete count.

The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc organized The Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Reunion launched the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines “Yurumein” the Ancestral Homeland of the Garifuna People.

The Garifuna Reunion in St Vincent and the Grenadines Yurumein
While the USA Garifuna Diaspora had maintained links and connections with the Central American countries of birth, that was not the case with St. Vincent and the Grenadines “Yurumein” “Hairouna” the Ancestral Homeland of the Garifuna people.

Therefore, in an effort to reestablish the link, the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., submitted a proposal to the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU) Office of the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to plan The Garifuna Reunion as part of Vincy Homecoming 2009.

On July 18th, fifteen Garinagu traveled from New York City to the Garifuna Reunion in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Garifuna Reunion provided an opportunity for Garifunas to become the subjects of our own history, by launching the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The following milestones demonstrate this achievement:

2009
During the Garifuna Reunion, The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc. (TGHF) and the Garifuna Coalition USA Inc. signed A Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work towards a Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. TGHF was formed in 2001 with the aim of promoting the culture and heritage of the Garifuna people.

In November 2009 The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc. (TGHF)first Regional Symposium under the Theme: “Forging Connections, Re-Envisioning Futures: Re-Framing The Experiences of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples.”

2010
The Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc. a nonprofit, presented The Garifuna Heritage Foundation of St Vincent and the Grenadines a Garifuna Heritage Award on March 13, 2010.

Mr. David Williams, president of The Garifuna Heritage Foundation, traveled to New York City to receive the award on their behalf, the award was in recognition of The Garifuna Heritage Foundation’s grassroots activism and contribution to support the Renaissance of the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines “Yurumein” the Ancestral Homeland of the Garifuna people.

2011
July 2011, James Cordice, James Lovell and Eleanor Bullock, lead a revitalization program to take the Garifuna culture and heritage back to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. James Lovell and Trish St Hill continue it. The program was so successful that the Government of St. Vincent named it “The Garifuna Language Retrieval Program.”

2012
The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc. of St. Vincent and the Grenadines organized the First International Garifuna Conference to address a range of critically important issues in the various fields that impact on the Garifuna Heritage and Culture today.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, January 3, Chairman of the TGHF David “Darkie” Williams stated that the Garifuna culture is still alive in other parts of the world. As the birthplace of the Garifuna people, it is important the St Vincent and the Grenadines recapture the Garifuna culture. The establishment of the International Centre, Williams said, will facilitate the revival of the Garifuna culture in this country. Garifuna heritage to be revived – 2012 Searchlight, January 10, 2012

The Black Carib Wars: Freedom, Survival and the Making of the Garifuna by Christopher Taylor is published an the Acknowledgement and Note on Text states: “First and foremost I would like to thank all the members of the delegation, organized by the Garifuna Coalition Inc. and led by its president, Jose Francisco Avila, who visited St. Vincent in July 2009 and who so generously allowed me to share the experience of their return to Youromayn.”

2013
José Francisco Ávila, participated as the only representative from the Garifuna Diaspora, in CARICOM’s Reparations Conference, held in St Vincent and the Grenadines, from September 15th – 17th, 2013.

The Reparations conference was intended to bring together representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments, the national reparations Commissions/Committees, civil society groups from within CARICOM and its Diaspora, the University of the West Indies, and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the struggle for reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery in CARICOM member countries.

2014
First National Garifuna Conference, Theme: “Back to our roots – Strategies for Survival and Sustainability of Indigenous Peoples in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”

2015
The International Garifuna Summit 200 +18, Theme:“The Garifuna, A Nation Displaced- Cultural Rights, Economic Survival and Reparations.”

2016
3rd International Garifuna Conference, Theme: “The Garifuna Diaspora: Yurumein and St.Vincent and the Grenadines- Retrieval, Inclusion and Reparations”

2017
4th International Garifuna Conference, Theme: “Celebrating Our Indigenous History, Heritage and Cultures – From Mainland to Islands and Return: Strengthening links, Forging networks, Claiming Ancestral space”

2018
5th International Garifuna Conference, Theme: “The Island of Balliceaux: Sacred Lands or Economic Opportunity?”

2019
6th International Garifuna Conference, Theme: “Exploring the Garifuna & Kalinago Heritage and Culture- Cultural Survival, Youth and Opportunities in Heritage Tourism ”

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