One of the indigenous delegates from Guyana
This morning I went to Arima after seeing in the papers that there was to be a celebration of indigenous people at Arima Town Hall (part of the indigenous celebrations taking place all week). There are indigenous delegates from Latin America, The Caribbean and Canada here to take part in these celebrations. The Canadian delegates opened this morning's ceremony with a sacred performance to invoke our ancestors. The man played a beautiful flute (one like I’d never seen before) while two little girls (his daughters?) shook small rattles and the woman (his partner/their mother?) read a prayer: The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
One of the indigenous Canadian delegates
The ceremony started an hour later than advertised and, having other things to do, I unfortunately had to leave early. But I was there long enough to experience the opening prayer, stand for the national anthems of each country present (TT, Belize, Guyana, Canada, Dominica, Puerto Rico), listen to a few short talks and witness the giving of gifts (from Dominica and Canada). Being there reminded me of a striking dream I had had last year about my experience with an Amerindian girl
On behalf of indigenous people everywhere, the leader from Dominca said something very true ... about land having been ‘granted to the Caribs in Dominica’. As he said, how can land be ‘granted’ to you when it belonged to you in the first place?!
On Friday morning I will go to their healing workshop. Being part indigenous myself (Carib) I may pick up an ancestral thing or two.