LUBARAUN, A Documentary About Garifuna People from NICARAGUA and HONDURAS, Is Released

Lubaraun, a Documentary about Nicaraguan and Honduran Garifuna was recently shown in Nicaragua.  Poster courtesy of Luna Films.

Lubaraun, a Documentary about Nicaraguan and Honduran Garifuna was recently shown in Nicaragua. Poster courtesy of Luna Films.

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Nicaragua, Central America — Lubaraun (“Encountering” in the Garifuna Language), a documentary about Nicaraguan and Honduran Garifunas, recently had it’s Central American premiere in Nicaragua.

Co-directors of the Lubaraun documentary, Martha Clarissa Hernandez and Maria Jose Alvarez when they showed their documentary at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. on November 12th 2013.  Photo from lajornadanet.com

Co-directors of the Lubaraun documentary, Martha Clarissa Hernandez and Maria Jose Alvarez when they showed their documentary at the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. on November 12th 2013. Photo from lajornadanet.com

Lubaraun (“Encountering” in the Garifuna Language) is the latest documentary directed by Maria Jose Alvarez and Martha Clarissa Hernandez, who have received many awards for their work and have worked in media (news and documentaries) since the early 1980s.  Maria Jose Alvarez is Central American (I haven’t confirmed if she is from Nicaragua) and Martha Clarissa Hernandez is from Honduras, but is based in Nicaragua.

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Their production company, Luna Films was formed in 1990 and their last documentary was entitled, “The Black Creoles: Memories and Identities”.  In fact, the Lubaraun documentary was filmed to help complete their Black Creole documentary, as the filmmakers uncovered a lot of information, and realized that there were many more stories remaining to be told.

Garifuna Man, Mr. Absalon Velazquez Zenon (a.k.a. "Daddy" or "Dady") in the documentary Lubaraun, a documentary about Nicaraguan and Honduran Garifunas.  Photo courtesy of Maria Jose Alvarez and Luna Films

Garifuna Man from Nicaragua, Mr. Absalon Velazquez Zenon (a.k.a. “Daddy” or “Dady”) in the documentary Lubaraun, a documentary about Nicaraguan and Honduran Garifunas. Photo courtesy of Maria Jose Alvarez and Luna Films

The Lubaraun documentary features four Garifuna people who express their customs and knowledge of who they are in various settings in Nicaragua and Honduras.  Mr. Absalom Velasquez Zenon (a.k.a. “Dady”), Manuela Morales, Don Pascual Cacho and Doña Catalina.  The characters speak using their native tongues, Garifuna, Creole, and English.  Subtitles in the documentary are in Spanish and English.

Garifuna Woman from Nicaragua, Manuela Morales in the Lubaraun Documentary.  Photo from the Lubaraun Facebook Page.

Garifuna Woman from Nicaragua, Manuela Morales in the Lubaraun Documentary. Photo from the Lubaraun Facebook Page.

Filmed in Nicaragua and in the Garifuna town of Guadalupe, Honduras; Lubaraun tells the story of the Garifuna people through a journey its characters take as they undertake a journey in search of their roots as well as to encounter their ancestors.  It recounts the Garifuna people’s history of resistance, united by the same sea.

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Lubaraun was screened at the National Museum of The American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C on November 12th 2013, and while there, the co-directors and co-producers of the documentary, Maria Jose Alvarez and Martha Clarissa Hernandez explained,

“this is an ethnographic film, with elements of a road movie, filmed in the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.  It has endearing characters, characters which reveal the worldview of the Garifuna Nation.  This is a journey to the roots, encountering their ancestors.” – Maria Jose Alvarez and Martha Clarissa Hernandez.

Nicaraguan Garifuna Man Don Pascual Cacho in the documentary, Lubaraun.  Photo from the Lubaraun Facebook Page.

Nicaraguan Garifuna Man Don Pascual Cacho in the documentary, Lubaraun. Photo from the Lubaraun Facebook Page.

In fact, Ranald Woodaman, The Director of The Latino Center of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Smithsonian; said the filmmakers, “surprised with a powerful film that reflects the history of a cultured people with great spiritual wealth.  The Garifuna people speak three languages, are culturally diverse, and have a strong sense of liberty.”  The documentary was introduced by Nicaraguan ambassador to the US, H.E. Francisco Obadiah Campbell Hooker.

Garifuna Woman from Guadalupe, Honduras; Doña Catalina in the documentary, Lubaraun.  Photo from the Lubaraun Facebook Page.

Garifuna Woman from Guadalupe, Honduras; Doña Catalina in the documentary, Lubaraun. Photo from the Lubaraun Facebook Page.

Lubaraun was also screened in black actor and filmmaker Tim Reid’s, Legacy Media Institute International Film Festival in Norfolk, Virginia; on SUNDAY, November 10th 2013.

Lubaraun was screened in an outdoor screening on SATURDAY, February 8th 2014 in the Garifuna town of Orinoco, Nicaragua (where most Garifuna in Nicaragua reside).

Outdoor Screening of Lubaraun documentary in Orinoco, Nicaragua on February 8th 2014.  Photo by Maria Jose Alvarez.

Outdoor Screening of Lubaraun documentary in Orinoco, Nicaragua on February 8th 2014. Photo by Maria Jose Alvarez.

Outdoor Screening of Lubaraun documentary in Orinoco, Nicaragua on February 8th 2014. Photo by Maria Jose Alvarez.

Outdoor Screening of Lubaraun documentary in Orinoco, Nicaragua on February 8th 2014. Photo by Maria Jose Alvarez.

The Lubaraun Documentary was also screened on MONDAY, February 10th 2014 in an auditorium at Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU) in Bluefields, Nicaragua.

Audience at the screening of the Lubaraun documentary at Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU) in Bluefields, Nicaragua on February 10th 2014.  Photo by Maria Jose Alvarez.

Audience at the screening of the Lubaraun documentary at Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU) in Bluefields, Nicaragua on February 10th 2014. Photo by Maria Jose Alvarez.

Below is a trailer to the documentary Lubaraun.  It is in Garifuna and English with Spanish subtitles.  Lubaraun is 65 minutes long.

Here is another Trailer.

Here is a 30 second trailer.

Below is a report from Nicaraguan journalist Neyda Dixon (who is Creole) about the premiere of the Lubaraun documentary.  It is Spanish.

I am told that there are a small number of Garifuna people from Nicaragua in the New York City area, however, I have not been able to find them.  Hopefully, some of them read this posting and get in touch with me here at Beinggarifuna.com

I have also been told that there are a small number of Nicaraguans in Paterson, New Jersey.  I do not know if they are Garifuna, however.

How many Garifuna people are there in Nicaragua?  Numbers vary but I suspect that there are between 2,000 and 5,000 in Nicaragua.

ABOUT The Garifuna People

The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent. From this fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men,  1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.  1

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In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.

 

Notes:

  1. Nancie L Gonzalez, “Sojourners of The Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pgs 21-23

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