Indigenous Caribbean Network

This is a comment that I posted on a video of Garifuna music and dance that was shared by a brother identifying himself as HOPROPHETA. He posted the Garifuna video as a response to one of my youtube videos about Cordon-like dances.

My friend the video that you shared is a spectacularly beautiful example of traditional Garifuna music and dance and I thank you for posting it. Some of the lyrics to the song may be familiar to other Arawakan-speaking Indigenous people such as the ones depicted in my video. That said, I would like to point out that like the tradition of several other Arawakan-language Indigenous people of the Circum-Caribbean region, your Garifuna song and dance shows obvious strong influence from African culture. That is natural because thousands of African people were brought as slaves into these regions and many of them mixed ethnically and culturally with the native inhabitants. This is also obvious in my own country of birth, Cuba, where many of the original traditions of the Arawakan-speaking Tainos were eventually heavily influenced by the African culture brought to the island by slaves. I want to point out that, as beautiful as your song and dance Aban Wagia  by  Clayton Williams is,  and as significant as it is that this song is in the Arawakan language of Garifuna which is so similar to the language of the lyrics in the song and dance that I posted,  it is also important to note that  the rhythm and dance steps are more in the tradition of Africa than the tradition of the Arawakan cultures of the Americas. This is an important point because the whole reason that I posted the original Surinam video here is the fact that the arm and foot movements of the dancers is identical to the arm and foot movements of a healing dance performed by spiritist Cordon ceremony participants of Cuba. These arm and foot movements have been confirmed by several ethnologists such as Jose Antonio Garcia Molina to be of legitimate Indigenous Taino Arawakan origin. They exhibit similarities with the dances of the Arawakan Kalinagos of the island of Dominica, who are related to the Garifunas. The arm and foot movements in this dance that I posted also demonstrate remarkable similarities with dances of other Arawakan people of South America such as the Wapishiana.

I want to point out that my comments in regard to this issue are not necessarily a reference to the skin color of the dancers in the Garifuna video by Clayton Williams. I am very much aware that we modern-day descendants of Arawakan people carry African genes in varying degrees of percentage. I myself carry African ancestry. My point is that William's dance itself is more African than Arawakan even though the lyrics of his song are very Arawakan. I want to bring your attention to a different dance video from the Caribbean island of Curacao where the two cultures, Native and African, are also mixed and the dancers themselves definitely show very distinct African ancestry.

https://youtu.be/T-cTTfy33cQ

Ironically the Curacao dance that I share here is performed to the African-type rhythm of a song that is  not in an Arawakan language and in that respect that song is more African than Arawakan. But if you look closely, you will notice that the dance itself is VERY Arawakan. The arm and foot movements of this Curacao dance are identical to those of the Suriname Arawakan dance that I originally posted. That is why I posted the Suriname song and dance video in the first place, because the dance movements are so similar to the dance  movements of the Cuban Cordon and the dance movements of many other Arawakan people. 

We in the Taino-based CANEY INDIGENOUS SPIRITUAL CIRCLE perform a healing dance that is based on these dance movements.

Although the dance movements of the Clayton Arawakan Garifuna lyric song that you posted are definitely not Arawakan, and are actually more African than Native, I am curious to learn if there may be other music out there in the Garifuna tradition where the Arawakan legacy is not only in the language of the lyrics but also in the movements of the dance. I would love to know if in your own personal research of the Garifuna culture you might find a dance that more closely resembles the up and down repetitive arm movements of our Arawakan ancestors. If you do find it please share it here with the rest of us.

Many blessings to you my relative!

Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Nov 24, 2020.

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