Call for Papers (2016)



 The Garifuna Heritage Foundation Inc. In collaboration with UWI Open Campus of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Presents The 3rd INTERNATIONAL GARIFUNA CONFERENCE

October 10th – 12th, 2016 Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

 “The Garifuna Diaspora:   Yurumein  and St. Vincent and the Grenadines –   Retrieval, Inclusion, and Reparations”

The Garifuna, who once dominated the island of St. Vincent in the Eastern Caribbean, now live displaced in many countries, particularly in Central America, a consequence of the 1797 forced removal from St. Vincent by the British.  In each of the countries where they reside the challenges and opportunities differ.  Nonetheless, the memory of the homeland, “Yurumein” is revered and still evokes painful responses.  This memory and the journey it symbolizes from homeland to Diaspora is one that has not been sufficiently confronted, analyzed and brought to closure collectively.

The Garifuna Heritage and Culture has become one of the more important symbols of resistance in the Caribbean, informed and formed as it has been on the history of resistance to European Colonial domination.  As a unique hybrid culture, it captures the African as well as the Kalinago experience forged together through the crucible of colonial expansionism.  In  2001 UNESCO proclaimed that the Garifuna Heritage and Culture is a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.  The Garifuna are also represented in and supported by the 2007 United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and form part of that Indigenous struggle as well as the struggle of people of African Descent.

The survival of the Garifuna along with their heritage and culture in the historical context of attempted genocide, emotional trauma and displacement has not been fully examined in relation to the issue of Reparations.   For the Garifuna, there is a continued imperative for more research, dialogue, discussion, information and networking on this issue to inform creative decision making grounded on the history and culture of resistance.  For Caribbean people and for the Indigenous Peoples Movement and the Afro-Descendants Movement, the Garifuna struggle and its embodiment of so many aspects of colonialism and neocolonialism is one that provides opportunities for reflection and action that should not be ignored.  The Caricom Governments have in 2013 determined that Reparations should form a significant agenda item for CARICOM in the next few years and several Governments, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines have formed Reparations Commissions to coordinate the legal, social and political process.

There are still significant challenges and opportunities for scholars, activists and practitioners to engage in the work of understanding, conceptualizing and creating policy dialogues in relation to the Garifuna Experience and the issues of Historical  Land Rights, Cultural Retrieval and Reparations.  However, there are insufficient opportunities for scholars, activists and practitioners to engage with Garifuna communities in this conversation in relation to the existing realities of the Caribbean and Central America.

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation in collaboration with the University of the West Indies Open Campus – SVG will be hosting its Third International Conference in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines from October 10th – 12th 2016.   The First International Conference was held in March 2012 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and resulted in the Yurumein Declaration which specifically made a call for Reparations for the Garifuna people.  CARICOM has since established a commission to secure Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery.

Topics may include but are not limited to the following: 

  • The impact of geography, politics, social and economic realities on the shape of the Garifuna Nation. Can the Garifuna Nation be defined?
  • Opportunities and Challenges in the engagement of the Garifuna Diaspora with Yurumein (Language, Geography, etc)
  • The issue of Yurumein as an Ancestral Homeland and its significance to Garifuna people internationally; Trauma, Memory and Loss.
  • Engagement of Garifuna from the Diaspora in the current political/social/economic framework of St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Potential conflicts/alliances and challenges.
  • Land Rights claims of the Garifuna resulting from historical  legacies;
  • Regional and International Experiences relating to redressing land rights Claims and rights to Sacred Places
  • The role of the Garifuna Diaspora in reclaiming The Garifuna Language, dance and Music, food etc in SVG.
  • Regional and International experiences/ Challenges/ Successes of Indigenous People in the process of cultural retrieval;
  • The issue of Addressing Opportunities/ Challenges in accessing documentation, information, artifacts and other intellectual materials for the retrieval process.
  • The issue of reconnecting with Garifuna spirituality as part of the retrieval process in Yurumein
  • Regional and International Experiences, challenges and opportunities of Advocacy around the issue of Reparations for Indigenous Peoples
  • Legal and practical Issues relating to establishing a case for Reparation for the Garifuna
  • The Garifuna within the context of the Indigenous Peoples Movement and the Afro Descendant movement regionally and internationally –: network, dialogue and the issue of reparations.

We are inviting proposals from scholars, practitioners and cultural activists.    Papers may include those presented at previous Conferences, Seminars or workshops.   Papers may be presented in English, French or Spanish, however a written translation of the paper into English should be provided.

Guidelines for / Paper Submissions


  • Abstracts must be no more than 250 words for Individuals and 300 words for Panels
  • Titles for Individual Papers must not exceed 85 Characters.
  • Papers must keep to a reading time of 15 – 20 minutes (approximately 7 – 8 pages). Participants can submit Papers which have a Practice focus, which describes exemplary practices or programs in the community and which may take the form of a case study, demonstration or technical report. Presentations may also be based on the reporting of original research or on the general application of any theoretical framework.
  • SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS: Individuals must submit along with their Abstracts  Submissions a half-page biography , including Mailing address, Presentation Format, Email address(es) Telephone contacts/phone,  and fax number(s) and Skype addresses by email to David Williams or Lucinna Poyer, Conference Secretariat,  at by July  5th, 2016 . 
  • SUBMISSION OF FULL PAPERS: The deadline date for Submission of Full Papers is September 30th, 2016

For more information, call 784-45-62124 or send an email to the above address.

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