More than spelling bee, Karrau Village hosts competitions to preserve indigenous language


The first indigenous language spelling bee competition will take place on September 08, 2022 at Karrau Village, Region Seven.

The village council believes it is important now more than ever to preserve and promote the Lokono or Arawak language.

“We are having our first ever spelling bee where we can use Lokono words,” the Village Toshao, Shane Cornelius told the News Room.

The spelling bee will be held in two categories – children aged 7 to 9 and 9 to 12 – and is part of the village’s indigenous heritage celebrations.

Cornelius is confident it will connect the kids to their culture and also ensure the language lives on.

“We at the council are just thinking of different ways of celebrating the culture and heritage during September, we want to move away from the kind of things we used to do and we thought we could use [the spelling bee] as a means of reviving the language as a start and also introducing the children to Lokono or Arawak words,” Cornelius explained.

Toshao Shane Cornelius

Trophies and cash incentives will be presented to the first, second and third place winners.

The council has planned a week of activities which includes passing knowledge from the elderly to the youths through craft and other teachings.

Meanwhile, Cornelius revealed that the village is being positioned as a driving force for tourism and business.

“Karrau is a small village that is developing and growing I would say at a reasonable pace, we got 525 residents including children, we are close to Bartica in the Lower Mazaruni in Region Seven, we got descendants of the Arawak or Lokono tribe and some amount of Akawaoia and Carib as well,” Cornelius explained.

Meanwhile, three months ago the village council began planning a 10-year village sustainable improvement plan for Karrau.

This plan will guide the village’s development over the next decade and was done in collaboration with Conservation International and the National Toshaos Council.

A Planning Team comprising 25 members including youths, women, farmers, loggers, and miners will look at the health, education, livelihood and culture of the village.

“We are looking at all areas of village life and we are planning for 10 years and looking at projects that are a priority, we are also doing like skills assessment needed to execute these projects, skills that are available and resources in the village.”

“In this time of Guyana’s exciting history, we are getting a lot of projects so we want to be prepared when opportunities arise,” Cornelius told the News Room.

He also serves as a member of the government’s Youth Advisory Council and the secretary of the National Toshaos Council.

He has managed to establish shade houses and farming materials that will be used to improve the village’s food security.

Residents of Karrau

To ensure the people of Karrau have equal opportunities, an ICT hub is also being established and a beautification project at the center of the village is also being undertaken.

Meanwhile, the government recently announced that the village will benefit from some $70 million in road works.

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