Yurumein (Homeland): the story of the Caribs of St. Vincent

Yurumein (Homeland): the story of the Caribs of St. Vincent

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John Ahni Schertow
June 29, 2013
 

YURUMEIN (your-o-main) is an upcoming documentary film about the seemingly-unlikely revival of Garifuna culture on the island of St. Vincent after a 200-year legacy of repression under British colonial rule.

The film will take us through the untold story of Carib / Garifuna resistance against slavery, recounting the painful past of the Caribs on St Vincent and the extermination of scores of their ancestors at the hands of the British, while building an intimate portrait of Garifuna culture-in-transition today. We are given firsthand accounts from both Carib descendents who remain on the island of St Vincent and voices of returning descendents whose ancestors were exiled to Central America–where Garifuna traditional culture was able to survive and flourish.

When members of the Diaspora are first reunited and make a collective pilgrimage to the sacred site of Balliceaux (where the genocide occurred) the film reveals the beginnings of a movement among Garifuna people to revitalize traditional language, music, dance, and custom. As Garifuna from around the world come together to remember and celebrate the lives and resilience of their shared ancestors, they also begin to discover possibility and hope for the future of Garifuna culture and a greater worldwide community.

Film in the making

Director Andrea Leland recently launched a crowdfunding campaign through the Center for Independent Documentary, to raise enough money to complete post-production on the film. Leland, who produced the award-winning film THE GARIFUNA JOURNEY is requesting help to finish graphics and animation, sound design and color correction for YURUMEIN.

To learn more about the film and help with its completion, visit:
http://www.cid.mimoona.com/Projects/477

When Leland began to film YURUMEIN, Garifuna culture had been all but lost on the island of St. Vincent. The Garifuna people, descendants of the indigenous Carib and Arawak Peoples and West Africans, once lived freely on the island. Forced into hiding and exile by British colonial forces, St. Vincent’s Garifuna descendants knew little of their ancestral language, rituals, dance, music or food. While traditions may have been lost on St. Vincent, Garifuna culture flourished in the exiled communities of Central America. In the film, Leland captures the efforts of St. Vincent’s Garifuna descended population to recover their cultural traditions by connecting with their brothers and sisters in the larger Garifuna disapora.

Once completed, the film will be screened at film festivals, community groups, classrooms and throughout the Garifuna diaspora. Also in the works is an interactive website where Garifuna worldwide can upload their own video stories.

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