Indigenous Heritage 2020: Importance of Cassava bread making

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As highlighted in one of last week’s featured videos, cassava is an important crop that is cultivated by the Indigenous peoples of Guyana. Cassava bread and farine are well known foods of Indigenous peoples here. Both are made from the cassava root after being grated and squeezed dry using a matapee. From there, baking produces the cassava ‘bread’, while frying produces the farine. Both end-products are known to last for long periods before being unsuitable for consumption if stored properly. To this day its consumption remains a custom of daily community life in most Indigenous communities in Guyana. Any family going to spend a week on the farm or men going off on a hunting trip for a few days, will without a doubt have a good stash of cassava bread or farine as part of their rations.

Through today’s video you will get a glimpse of the process of making cassava bread by the Wai Wai people of Masakenarî village in Kanashen. It begins with the harvesting of the cassava from their community farm, and then they take us through the process of preparing the cassava for baking. Throughout the video, take special note of the various traditional tools being used that play an important role in the process of making this much loved food of Guyana’s Indigenous peoples.

To see other videos made by community researchers from the Darwin Initiative Traditional Knowledge in Conservation project, please visit www.communityownedsolutions.org!

Rebecca Xavier
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Rebecca Xavier is a proud Amerindian woman, a descendant of the Wapishana nation. She has a sound primary school education, followed by experiences in the Wowetta Youth Environmental Club, and then further education at the Bina Hill Institute, Annai where she trained in ICT, agriculture, basic maths, English and leadership skills. She is fluent in Wapishana, Makushi and English, and has worked for the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), a local Indigenous community-based organization, in different roles over the last twelve years.