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. … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Uses of the lime tree

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  Today we will focus on yet another facet of knowledge that Indigenous peoples possess – knowledge and use of traditional medicine. These are usually associated with the various parts of a plant or tree – the fruit, seed, leaf or even its bark. Such knowledge has no doubt been crucial to their health and wellbeing over the centuries. This is especially true given the fact that Indigenous peoples are well known to live great distances from hospital facilities. While … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional uses of cotton

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  Indigenous peoples are skilled in the art of creating many different handicrafts from a variety of materials. These skills, as is the case with most other traditional customs, are passed from the elders to younger generations. Some handicraft skills are customarily practiced by the men while others are specific to women. For example, males are more known to engage in handicraft skills associated with woodcraft, such as totem poles and making of traditional weapons – bows and arrows and … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Story of Horse Pond

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  Storytelling is one way in which Indigenous people pass knowledge down through the generations. It is an ongoing process linking the past to the present, and the present to the past and future. Storytelling is therefore important in transmitting essential and critical knowledge for survival and ensuring a healthy and sustainable community. Stories have many functions. They help to provide guidance on how people should behave and understand their responsibilities to their neighbours and the environment. They acknowledge the … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Importance of Parakari

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  The root crop, cassava, is integral to the way of life of Indigenous people in Guyana. It is the source of a multitude of products, such as cassava bread, farine, casareep and a variety of beverages. In fact, all families in the community likely have a small cassava farm. The variety of cassava most notably is referred to as ‘bitter cassava’; it contains cyanide, so to consume it without first properly processing it would have deadly consequences. This is … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: The story of Elka and Christianity

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  Our next video represents the historical stories that can be told about a people. In this case it is the impact one man can have on his community. The story is of Elka of the Wai Wai. Elka was a great Wai Wai Chief of recent history who changed the spiritual course of his community. Called to be a Piaiman or shaman, Elka spent many years training to hone his craft. He was believed to be a very powerful … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional fishing in Katoka Village, Central Rupununi

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  Are you looking for some tasty fish for your tuma? Then Katoka is the place to go! Katoka is an Indigenous village located on the right bank of the Rupununi River. The name Katoka is said to have been derived from a jaguar that was seen by a fisherman at the mouth of the creek where he was fishing.  The jaguar looked as white as cotton. With such a rare sight, the fisherman abandoned his fishing plans and ran … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: How they do it in Fair View Village, Rupununi

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Fair View Village is the only Indigenous settlement located within the protected area of the Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve. Fair View began as a family homestead when Arthur Andries requested permission to build his home on the left bank of the Essequibo River at Kurupukari. Arthur Andries was a punt driver, moving people and cattle across the Essequibo River during the Cattle Trail Days. Arthur and his extended family lived in the location even when the cattle trail closed in the … Read More

Coping with Covid-19 in the North Rupununi

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It was the early part of March 2020, and we were in the midst of the national election season. All the communities were excited about who would be the next President. There was tension between the different political party supporters., and it was not long before we realised that there were issues with reporting the final results of the elections. And in all of this turmoil there came the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus otherwise known as Covid-19. The messages … Read More

Progress towards greater recognition and integration of traditional knowledge in Guyana

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The Darwin Initiative ‘Integrating Traditional Knowledge into National Policy and Practice‘ project has been working closely with Indigenous communities associated with protected areas in Guyana since its commencement in September 2017. The focus has been on the valuable role of traditional knowledge for maintaining cultural heritage, and the application of such knowledge, practices and innovations towards improving the management of the country’s natural resources. As highlighted in the country’s Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040, “Traditional Indigenous knowledge is valid … Read More

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