Memorial Mass for GARIFUNA Warrior, Paramount Chief JOSEPH CHATOYER on SUNDAY March 20th 2016 in the Bronx for 2016 Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York

 

Bronx, New York — There will be a Memorial Garifuna Mass for Garifuna Warrior, Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer that will take place in the Bronx on SUNDAY, March 20th 2016 at 2pm.

Copyright 2016 by Teofilo Colon Jr. (a.k.a. “Tio Teo”).  All Rights Reserved. Telephone: (646) 961-3674.

Chief Joseph Chatoyer was a Garifuna (then known as a Black Carib) who led Garifuna resistance against the British attempts at colonization on their ancestral land of the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.   He was killed on March 14th 1795 in a battle against British forces during the Second Carib War.  Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer is now a international hero to the Garifuna (Black Caribs) people of St. Vincent and The Grenadines and also the other countries that make up the Garifuna Diaspora–Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Nicaragua.  He is a national hero on St. Vincent Island and March 14th is a public holiday there.

 

While not much is known about Chief Joseph Chatoyer, the fact that his likeness was depicted by painters of the era tells you that Chief Joseph Chatoyer made a distinct impression and was a real person.  He was not a mythological being.


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While the Black Caribs were not Catholic or of the Christian faith while on the island of St. Vincent, many Garifunas were converted to the Christian faith upon their exile to Central America.  Many, perhaps most, are of the Catholic faith.  This is due to acculturation, assimilation and overall, a mode of survival while on other lands.  You have to factor the dominant culture that was in place in much of Latin America.

Below is VIDEO of the Chief Joseph Chatoyer Folkloric Ballet of New York as they sing while exiting the Annual Memorial Mass for Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer in 2013.

 

This Garifuna Mass will commemorate the 221 years since the death of Joseph Chatoyer at the hands of The British on March 14th 1795.  This Garifuna Mass is scheduled to begin at 1 in the afternoon at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in the Bronx.  It will be trilingual with the Memorial Mass being in the Garifuna Language, English Language and Spanish Language.


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Usually, The Chief Joseph Chatoyer Folkloric Ballet of New York attends and participates in this annual memorial mass with Garifuna singing and Garifuna drumming.

 

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
832 E. 166th Street (@ Prospect Avenue)
Bronx, NY 10459

Subway: 2 or 5 Train to Prospect Avenue Subway Stop

Time: 2pm

 

About Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York

Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York (March 11th through April 12th) is designed to reflect on and observe the occasion of the Garifuna people (then known as Black Caribs) being kicked out of their ancestral land of St. Vincent Island on March 11th 1797 to their arrival in Central America on April 12th 1797.  The dates reference the period of time where the Garifuna voyage took place between their ancestral land and their new place of residence, where a new life was forced upon them.

According to a press release from the non-profit organization the Garifuna Coalition USA Inc, Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York also,

“celebrates the great contributions of Garífuna-Americans to the fabric of New York City and New York State, and pays tribute to the common culture and bonds of friendship that unite the United States and the Garífuna’s countries of origin (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras Nicaragua and St Vincent and the Grenadines.)”.

The Garifuna Coalition adds, “New York City is home to the largest Garífuna Community outside of Central America!  However, although Garífunas have been migrating here in search of a better life since the 1930s; the community was virtually obscured until the Happy Land Social Club fire on March 25th, 1990.”  Most of the victims of that tragedy were Honduran, many were of Garifuna descent. Edna Negron, (“Club Tragedy an Awakening for Garifuna”, New York Newsday, Sunday, August 18th 1991. )

 


If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.


Overall, the idea is to pay tribute to the survival and resiliency of the Garifuna people and also highlight the contributions made by Garifunas to the state of New York and the United States of America.  Also, this as well as other activities taking place in New York during Garifuna American Heritage Month in New York are designed to further visibility of the Garifuna ethnic group to the general populace of New York City.

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.  2


If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.


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 Caribbean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.  Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.  Despite their mainly Spanish surnames, their culture and history are distinct from other Afro-American and Latino ethnic groups and it’s important to keep that in mind.


If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.


St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in the Bronx.  Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr.  All Rights Reserved.   (646) 961-3674.

St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in the Bronx. Photo by Teofilo Colon Jr. All Rights Reserved. (646) 961-3674.

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