Cultural extravaganza kicks off celebration for Amerindian Heritage Month


The National Park in Georgetown came alive on Friday.

An evening highlighting indigenous art, music, and literature through song, dance and drama.

A cultural extravaganza attended by hundreds of citizens kicked started the month-long celebrations for Amerindian Heritage Month.

The Amerindian Village of Batavia was named Heritage Village of the Year with celebrations centered under the theme: “Sustaining Our Cultural Heritage and Identity While Contributing To One Guyana.”

The first Amerindian Heritage Month was in 1994, declared by former President, the late Cheddi Jagan.

Decades later, the entire month of September is still reserved for the country’s first people. They are granted the time, space and opportunity to present to the nation their cultural traditions, customs and diversity in products.

“Here we are again in a significant time in our history when President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali is building out a philosophy where Guyana is expected to rise as one,” Minister of Amerindian Affairs Pauline Sukhai told the gathering.

FILE PHOTO: The launch of Amerindian Heritage Month 2020

The minister delivered the welcome address and said she was most proud of the evolution of the first people and their involvement in national development.

Some 243 indigenous chiefs – Toshaos – who were in Georgetown for the National Toshaos Conference attended the event on Friday.

Chairman of the National Toshaos Council Derrick John believes the month holds immense significance for Amerindians where the entire country comes together to honour the rich cultural heritage of indigenous people.

He believes activities like these will help to build bridges of understanding and cooperation where Amerindians can feel heard and respected.

Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira represented the President, delivering the featured address that recognized the diversity of the nation and the need for all citizens to live and work together as one.

FILE PHOTO: The launch of Amerindian Heritage Month 2020

“Diversity must not be a weapon of destruction but used to build the nation,” she said.

She said Amerindians are among the prime protectors of the environment.

“Through their sustainable lifestyles and practices over centuries we have managed to maintain our forests and keep our biodiversity intact.

“There must be greater appreciation for the role indigenous people play in protecting the rainforest,” Minister Teixeira said.

This too, she noted, is cultural heritage, to survive off the land and live in harmony with nature.

Throughout the month, activities will be held across the country in different Amerindian villages.

See below the full calendar of events.

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