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Jan 29, 1998

New book on Garifuna experience published

Story Picture
The history of the Garifuna people and their struggles has been well documented over the years. But there remains no shortage of people wanting to take just one more look at their remarkable survival. “Journey On,” researched and written by Orange Walk native Nelita Doherty, is the latest publication to tackle the issue. Doherty told News Five that it took her ten years to put it all together and has set out the history of the Garinagu in story form, making it easier for young children to understand.

Nelita Doherty

“”Journey On” deals with the Carib Indian Tribes who were in St. Vincent, who later mixed with an African tribe that got ship wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent. It has to do with the Garifuna culture because that group, that tribe later broke off and called themselves the Black Caribs or Garinagus.”

“I chose the name “Journey On” because the main character of the book, Nisani, was exiled from her tribe because she fell in love with an African boy and ahm, she had to journey until she got to his tribe and also journey on because the Garinagus are later exiled from St. Vincent and they had to keep on with their journey.”

“”Journey On” is the first of three books, the second book is “Aba Wama,” which means “we are one,” and it deals with the Garinagu tribe. Like I said “Journey On” is the first and deals mainly with the Carib Indian culture and leads up to the mixture and then “Aba Wama” deals with the Garinagu culture — their food and a lot of their rituals that they had and their beliefs in the Gubidas. The last book is “Garinagus Exile” and that deals mainly with again with the Garinagus and the transition up to their exile from St. Vincent, and ends in Belize when they made their way here to Belize with Alejo Beni leading them.”

“Yes, it?s a history of a people; it?s a history of my people and I wrote it because I think that children need to know about their culture and there?s a lot we don?t really know still about the Garinagus. And ahm, I am not claiming to be an expert on the subject but there is a lot of information that I gathered that I think would be a benefit to all kids.”

“I didn?t quite know what I wanted on the cover but I wanted to project the Carib Indian and I wanted the Africans to also be projected on the same picture. If you notice the cover, the colors are the colors of Africa and I ahm, wanted all that projected on the picture. I enjoy painting and so I decided to paint it myself.”

Doherty and her Husband, a former Peace Corps Volunteer, work with the U.S. Foreign Service. She is currently on assignment in the Dominican Republic. “Journey On” is available at bookstores in Belize City and Orange Walk.

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