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Nov 22, 2011

Garifuna Book on Barranco Settlement published

Renowned anthropologist Dr. Joseph Palacio, a native of Barranco Village, the southernmost Garifuna enclave in the country, along with Carson Tuttle and Judy Lumb, has spent the past thirty years researching and studying land ownership and occupation in that community.  It was a broad project which saw the trio in pursuit of information which brings into sharp focus the settlement of the Garinagu in Belize.  That research has culminated in Palacio’s latest publication entitled Garifuna Continuity in Land: Barranco Settlement and Land Use 1862 to 2000.  The book was launched this morning at the Image Factory before an audience of writers and historians as well as members of the Garifuna diaspora.  Palacio told News Five how the idea for the project came about.

Dr. Joseph Palacio, Anthropologist/Author

“The origin for it started off with the reason why there are so many lots in Barranco that would seem to be deserted, unoccupied, in talking to the villagers and finding out that they are not deserted, that the owners are out of the village for whatever reason.  So that becomes a problem and based on that problem then we started asking whose land it is and in who’s name it is.  That took us to the Lands Department, that took us to the Archives Department and putting all that information together is how the book eventually was compiled.”

Isani Cayetano

Joseph Palacio

“Explain to us the usefulness of this particular project as a tool, as you had mentioned with Flowers Bank, for instance, and its historical significance to Belize.”

Dr. Joseph Palacio

“Well, as we said earlier, as far as we know there is no study like this in Belize which traces ownership almost over a hundred years.  This has not been done.  This is the first time it is being done so certainly if you call us pioneers, that we are charting somewhere, that there are certain methods that we have to use, we can share that with other people who want to do this kind of work.  So the same thing would go for other communities in the Caribbean, in Central America for that matter and what comes through is that you start to understand such things as customary land rights.  The values that people have towards land which is so important how it fits into the cultural landscape.  So these are the things which we got into in a way, in a kind of bumbling fashion, one after another but we think that we’ve done quite a bit of work, solid work, solid scholarly work which others can learn from and maybe do better.  It’s a scientific piece of work which can be replicated.”

Isani Cayetano

“I imagine it was a very extensive undertaking.  In terms of the length of time to put all the information together, the compilation itself, you mentioned that it may have taken somewhat ten years or thereabout.  Can you speak to us about the length of time and finding all the pieces to put together?”

Dr. Joseph Palacio

“It was thirty years really in compiling bits and pieces of information.  The actual writing which means making the tables and fitting things together was about ten years and this is for three people.”

The book and an accompanying tee shirt are both currently on sale for thirty dollars each at the Image Factory.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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