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Monday, September 03, 2012

“A person not rooted in his heritage loose his identity”

– President – at opening of Heritage Month

Georgetown, GINA, September 1, 2012

Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations kicked off with zest and vigour as Guyana’s first peoples began their annual month-long celebrations under the theme: Embracing Our Identity, Celebrating our Culture.

The grand official opening of celebrations at the Amerindian village, Sophia Exhibition Site was dominated by youthful spirits during the cultural extravaganza and surrounded by a wide variety of indigenous foods, drinks, and craft.

President Donald Ramotar during his feature address stressed on the Amerindian culture urging Amerindians to preserve it. He also warned that if they allow their languages to die, it would be the beginning of the end of their culture. Focusing on the theme of the celebrations, the Head of State said, “a person who is not rooted in his heritage loses his identity, and is thus akin to a rolling stone”. He added that Amerindians must continue to pass on their culture to the younger generations.

He reiterated Government’s support towards the preservation of the Amerindian culture and languages, which is indispensible towards the protection of their identity.

President Ramotar outlined government’s agenda towards the continued development of Amerindian hinterland communities through major projects, road networks, electrification and easier access into communities. He noted that the delayed attempts by the Parliamentary Opposition to correct their mistake of cutting the national budget had delayed a number of initiatives.

Two beautiful ladies: Miss Canada 2012 Jaclyn Miles and reigning
Miss Amerindian Heritage Queen Naomi Samuels sit side by side
during the Grand Launch of Amerindian Heritage Month 2012.

The President stated however, that “this experience has strengthened the resolve of Government to reject and resist attempts to stymie Government’s support for greater development in the hinterland”. He stated that in order to move Guyana forward and not imperil national development, all political parties need to be responsible and work together. That the indigenous people will be the central part of Guyana’s development clearly shows that there is reason for celebration, the President added.

“It is only when we practice our traditions and culture, that we don’t allow our heritage to die,” he urged the gathering as he invited the rest of the nation to join with the Amerindians in their celebrations.

A group of Amerindian dancers dramatise their culture in song and dance at the start of the Heritage celebrations.

Meanwhile, Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai stated that Government had taken great steps to preserve the Amerindian rights and heritage. “Cultural protection has also found a place in the Amerindian Act of 2006,” she stated.

She said that leaders are legally mandated to preserve the Amerindian traditional and cultural way of life. Minister Sukhai echoed the President’s sentiments on the preservation of the culture and identity of Amerindians and recommitted her Ministry’s support towards this.

Guyana’s Amerindian vaqueros demonstrate that cowboys can not only ride horses and chase cows, they can dance too!

Other activities during Amerindian Heritage Month will include the continuation of cultural presentations, indigenous craft exhibitions, food and craft tents and other events at the Amerindian Village, Sophia.

On Heritage Day, September 8, the Grand heritage village celebrations will take place at Micobie Village, Region 8, while the Sports & fun weekend will take place in Georgetown at the Carifesta Sports complex on September 15 and 16.

Large tents outside the main Benab accommodated the overflow of patrons who attended the opening of Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations at the Sophia Exhibition Site.

The annual Heritage walk showcasing the active lifestyle of the Amerindians will take place on Sunday Sept 23, while the children will be involved in mural painting at the Kitty seawall on Sept 22 -23 from 9.00 hrs daily.

The celebrations wind down with a Dinner on September 28 at the Regency Suites Hotel in Hadfield Street.

Some of the intricately woven and hand designed handiwork displayed in the Craft Tent at the Amerindian Village, Sophia Exhibition Site.


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