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Mar 31, 2016

Is Evangelism Eroding Traditional Spiritual Beliefs?

Sebastian Cayetano

Well-known Belizean historian and Garifuna activist Sebastian Cayetano has also weighed in on the controversy.  While expressing disappointment, Cayetano also makes a striking observation in respect of the gradual breakdown of certain aspects of the Maya culture.


Sebastian Cayetano, Garifuna Activist

“I am particularly disappointed by the statement because we Garinagu we believe in God, I believe in God.  We honor our ancestors, we don’t worship our ancestors.  We honor our ancestors.  And for somebody, especially a pastor, to go out there and put out a negative feeling about our people is totally wrong and totally uncalled for.  We have a world view and in our world view, we believe and our practice has been that I for you, you for me.  I am because you are and you are because I am.  And this is our worldview and some people understand it, some people respect it and some people don’t understand it.  Some people don’t respect it and they don’t even accept it.  So be it, but this is how we live our lives, you know.  This is how we live our lives and this is what we pass on to our future generations.  But one of my big concerns Isani, is the erosion, not only of the Garifuna culture but the Maya culture, as well; particularly the Kekchi culture.  I’ve been living among the Kekchi since I was four-years-old and I have seen a heavy erosion of the Kekchi culture at the hands of foreigners, foreign evangelicals in this country.  So that I don’t know where it’s going to be, where it’s going to end.  So it’s sad that some people have also bought into it and oh, we will be the modern day Kekchi and leaving out some of the rich traditional cultures of the people.  I don’t subscribe to that.  In our case, I go back to the Garinagu people, in the past our people were excommunicated from our church for taking part in the Cupita dance, our Gubida dance.  My brother, I really appreciate our ancestors for sticking up and keeping up our culture for what it is.  I really appreciate them and love them more for it because if they had bought into discarding it we would have nothing much today.  So we are proud of them and today I continue to be one of these bulwarks, defenders of our rituals.  I am Catholic, I’m also Garifuna and I have learned to embrace both together.  With me there is no conflict, with us there is no conflict.”


News Five is informed that a press conference will be held by Pastor Scott Stirm and the Evangelical Association on Friday. On Wednesday, Stirm sent out a message offering an apology, but the Evangelical Association did not go that far with their release that preceded Stirm’s.

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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1 Response for “Is Evangelism Eroding Traditional Spiritual Beliefs?”

  1. Belizean Pride says:

    As I seadi before it has be blown out of proportion, I am a Mestizo from a strong mestizo culture and erosion of culture to happen will happen anytime. As a christian I felt on my own to leave my culture for Christ. So coming out as to say like Mr. Cayetano blaming the foreigners for changing the Maya culture to Christianity is not bad but good in many terms and he should not get vex but encourage it. I would personally say it’s a individual thing when you change to your faith of choice. If the rest of my culture wants to keep it fine but I wont get vex like Mr. Cayetano.
    Another point is who would not be happy if our whole country be a fully christian country wouldn’t it be awesome? Mein this thing is too much scandal to say more than just media attention.

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