Second Garifuna INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE – Call for Papers

The Garifuna Heritage Foundation
the Second
March 13th– 15th, 2015 Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

“The Garifuna, A Nation displaced – Cultural Rights, Economic Survival 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, “Yurumei”
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, analysed 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 issue of Reparations. However, there are insufficient opportunities for scholars, activists and practitioners to engage with Garifuna communities and with each other in this conversation in relation to the existing realities of the Caribbean and Central America .

In this context The Garifuna Heritage Foundation will be hosting its Second International Conference in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines from March 13th- 15th 2015. The First International Conference was held in March 2012 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and resulted in the Yurumei Declaration which specifically made a call for Reparations for the Garifuna people. This Second Conference will be enhanced by an Exhibition, Film Series and Drum fest to be held simultaneously.

Topics may include but are not limited to the following :

The Garifuna Nation? :

  • The impact of geography, politics, social and economic realities on the shape of the Garifuna Nation. Can the Garifuna Nation be defined?
  • How have Garifuna in various countries negotiated and engaged in the political/social/economic frameworks of these countries? Prevailing conflicts/alliances and relationships determining the strength/weakness of the Garifuna within any particular country.
  • Is it possible for Garifuna to have coherent policies, interests and decisions across National borders?
  • The issue of Yurumei as an Ancestral Homeland and its significance to Garifuna people internationally;Trauma, Memory and Loss.

Valuing A Hybrid Culture?

  • 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.
  • Legacies of Kalinago / African in the Garifuna mix

The culture of Resistance – reshaping the context.

  • The role of Garifuna people in shaping a culture of resistance in the Caribbean
  • Garifuna Spirituality and resistance –
  • The role of women in promoting and preserving the Garifuna culture;
  • The history and impact of the struggle by the Garifuna against European colonialism
  • The Garifuna Language, Music, Spirituality – preserving the Garifuna Heritage & Culture / valuing loss.

The Socio-Political /socioeconomic dynamics of Reparations for the Garifuna

  • Preservation of land rights and rights to Sacred Places –
  • Land Issues confronting Garifuna People resulting from discriminatory policies;
  • Organising Garifuna Communities – Experiences of Advocacy around the issue of Reparations
  • Reparation for the Garifuna – Past experiences, present and future challenges and opportunities
  • Legal and practical Issues relating to establishing a case for Reparation for the Garifuna

We are inviting proposals from scholars, practitioners and cultural activists. Papers may include those presented at previous Conferences, Seminars or workshops. We particularly welcome Proposals from Panels.

Papers may be presented in English, French or Spanish, however a written translation of the paper into English should be provided.

Guidelines for Panel/ Paper Submissions 


  • Abstracts must be no more than 200 words for Individuals and 300 words for Panels
  • Panel Chairpersons and Individuals must submit 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, IGRC Conference Secretariat, at by December 15th, 2014 .
  • Titles for Individual Papers or for Panels 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.


We are inviting Film producers and documentalists to screen their work during the Conference. Participants interested in screening films/documentaries/videos with a Garifuna related content are invited to do so. Kindly email a brief summary of the film/documentary/content to the above email address by December 31st, 2014.

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

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