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Feb 15, 2023

Dr. Joseph Palacio Introduces Three New Books

He was Belize’s first trained archaeologist. Over the years, his passion and commitment to culture have earned him several titles, including former Resident Tutor of the University of the West Indies Belize Campus and former Commissioner of Archaeology. Now, Doctor Joseph Palacio introduced three new books. The collection entitled “Building a Nation,” “Cultural Diversity and Caribbean Indigenous Peoples,” and “Garifuna Peoplehood and Barranco” are scholarly essays resulting from his years of research. They were presented during a ceremony at the Belize House of Culture. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Retired educator and promoter of the Garifuna language, Dr. Joseph Palacio, introduced three new books in Belize City today. The books are essays that delve into the cultural aspects of people, specifically in this region in one and in Belize in the other two. Dr. Palacio’s daughter, Arreini Palacio-Morgan, shared a bit of her dad’s early life that helped to shape the retired professor we appreciate today.


Arreini Palacio-Morgan

Arreini Palacio-Morgan, Daughter of Dr. Joseph Palacio

“The youngest of three siblings, he grew up in rural Toledo, immersed in the Garifuna and Maya culture language. He spent much of his primary school years with his brother, the teacher, Theodore, in the southern village of San Antonio. At the age of nine, Joseph was awed by a speech on nationhood by the then Legislative Assembly Leader, George Price, no doubt, prepared remarks that the future prime minister used at several schools that he attended around the country. However, his words and this new concept of nationality and nationhood left an indelible impression on my father that he carries on to this day.”


Dr. Palacio returned to Toledo after he graduated from St John College and won a scholarship to study archaeology, a subject in which he attests he was not interested. But his studies would mark the start of an interesting career. He became Belize’s first trained archeologist for quite a few years. During that time, he was instrumental in establishing the archeological department. Minister of Education and Culture Francis Fonseca paid tribute to Dr. Palacio’s contributions to Belize.

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture

“The common thread of Dr. Palacio’s work is a consistent and passionate commitment to Belize’s national development. This passion and commitment is reflected in his numerous essays on archaeology and social anthropology. His research and writings range from topics on food and social relations in a Garifuna village to social-economic integration of Central American immigrants in Belize, the Garifuna Continuity in Barranco, settlement and land use, and, one of my favorite essays: The Garifuna Across Borders.”


But while many Belizeans have these books of essays to enjoy, for the retired professor’s family, taking holiday trips with him was never an ordinary occasion. His son, Dr. Vincent Palacio, who heads the University of Belize, told News Five that those trips always included a bit of work.


Vincent Palacio

Dr. Vincent Palacio, Son of Dr. Joseph Palacio

“I remember going to Xunantunich when they were excavated; the entire family would go on Saturdays because when we were in California, the family was there. So it’s always everybody there. When he did some field work in Barranco, he moved there; the family was there. So a lot of his work was done with the support of the family.”


Marion Ali for News Five.


The books are available on Amazon and will be available shortly at the Image Factory in Belize City.

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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