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Postrehy z objavovania nových kultúr a zvykov, o tom ako sa žije v zahraničí, príbehy slovenských emigrantov

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Poslaťod god7manu55 » 20 Apr 2017 11:09

– Orealla struggles to hold on to its cultureClarence HenryCaptain of Orealla McLean DevairBy Neil MarksWhen the M.V Epira docked at Orealla in the dark of night, I wasn’t exactly expecting to hear the spicy Chutney song “Lootala.”But there were more “hot” tunes to come from under the sprawling benab I soon noticed, but nothing sounded “Amerindian.” In fact, Orealla is in a race against time to hold on to what is left of its Amerindian Heritage.It’s more than a century now since the village – the only Amerindian reservation in Region Six – had its humble beginnings. About the late 1800s, Orealla (An Arawak word meaning ‘chalk’ and pronounced, in Arawak tongue, “O-ree-a-ra) was occupied by but two families.However, when the Spanish influence gripped the community of Epira, further down the Corentyne River, its residents fled to Orealla, and formed the nucleus of what is today a community of more than 1,000 residents.It is unclear what Amerindian nation or tribe first occupied Orealla,Kevin Greene Steelers Jersey, but the thinking among the older folks is that they were mainly Arawaks. On the hills of Orealla today, you will find mostly Warraus, and downhill, the Arawaks. In recent times, the community has welcomed a few Caribs and Wapishanas.Last weekend, the community invited all of Guyana, and whoever else would come, to observe its way of life. Orealla was chosen as this year’s Amerindian Heritage Village as the country takes the month of September to celebrate its Amerindian Heritage. This practice of highlighting a particular Amerindian village every year has been in place since 1995.Little did I know that the history of Orealla was tied to the name of the wooden vessel I would board two Thursdays ago at Crabwood Creek for the 50-mile journey up the contentious Corentyne River.I heeded the warning to turn up early so I could get a space to tie my hammock,Dwight Freeney Falcons Jersey, and thus enjoy a more comfortable journey. In about four hours, light was spotted, and M.V Epira made the final turn to dock. Then, the saucy Chutney number “Lootala” could be heard. A little closer, the dancers were seen under the thatched roof benab that was built specially for the Heritage celebrations.Maureen Moses turns over cassava breadThe wharf was packed with people, waiting to greet their guests. But once you made it past the benab, it was clear that Orealla was in for a weekend of pure entertainment.“One More Night” blared from a bottom house I was told is a disco; and some reggae tune I couldn’t recognize emanated from a roadside shop. The village has been enjoying electricity for the past two months.FADING CULTURETo say that Orealla is on the brink of losing its traditional life is not an exaggeration. Hardly anyone in the village can muster a line in their native language. You could be forgiven for thinking that perhaps this is the case with the younger residents; but, no.Clarence Henry,Steve Grogan Patriots Jersey, who will soon be 80 years old, is among those who wish he could speak in the Arawak tongue.‘I don’t know to speak the language,” he said. He remembers his parents speaking Arawak, but not at home; most times, they would speak the language when they met with their peers.Judy Alpin, 30,Heath Miller Steelers Jersey, a Warrau mother,Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Packers Jersey, was born at Orealla, but she too cannot speak her language. She said she has heard her parents speaking a strange language and she figures it is the language of her native people.The 70-year-old captain of the village, McLean Devair, also does not know to speak his Arawak language. In fact, it’s one of the things that poses great embarrassment for him when he attends meetings with other Amerindian leaders and hears them speaking their language.DeVair blames the original residents of Orealla for not speaking the language in everyday life. He remembers that his parents would only speak the language when they were with people of their age, but never in the home.“It makes me very sad,” he told Kaieteur News, he said of the fast-disappearing native tongues in Orealla.You could imagine then the excitement of Pauline Sukhai, the Minister of Amerindian Affairs, when a young schoolgirl headed on stage during a ceremony and counted from one to ten in the Arawak tongue.Sukhai said reviving Amerindian languages is one of the challenges her Ministry faces, and an effort has to be made to revistalise languages, “if not anything else.”But the loss of language is not the only evidence that the way of life of the people of Orealla is changing.  The making of cassava bread, a staple in the diet of Amerindians, is now only left to the older folks.Alpin, mentioned above,Irving Fryar Patriots Jersey, said she doesn’t know to make cassava bread.Clarice France, 65, said she can make cassava bread, but most young people don’t, or refuse to learn. She admits it is hard work, but said the young people can learn, but they want the easy life.But not too far from her, Maureen Moses,Andre Tippett Patriots Jersey, 38,Rob Gronkowski Patriots Jersey, is keeping busy making cassava bread. She doesn’t know to speak her language, so she is trying to make good on this practice of making cassava bread so she can maintain the traditions of her foreparents.As a result, when Kaieteur News visited, she had her son Orsino, 11, involved in the act,Eddie Lacy Packers Jersey, pounding the dried cassava in a “Mata” to get it ready to go on the pan for making the cassava bread.“When we travel we feel embarrassed that we don’t know to speak our language, but at least I know to make cassava bread,” she said, proudly.The captain of Orealla, Devair, said the village is focused on improving and modernizing its livelihood, while maintaining its traditions and culture.“We have our food, Pepperpot, we can’t live without that,” Devair said.When it comes to wearing native clothing, as is the case in almost all of the Amerindian villages scattered in Guyana, this is almost non-existent, and has been this way for decades. The wearing of traditional Amerindian attire is reserved for special occasions as a sort of demonstration of what used to happen a long, long time ago.The evidence speaks volumes about the quickening loss of Amerindian culture, and begs the question of what serious effort is being made to preserve the distinct identity of Guyana’s first people, even if, in the words of the Amerindian Affairs Minister, this means working to revitalize the language, “if not anything else.”
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