Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional knowledge directly supports conservation efforts

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  It has been a delight to have shared several videos that have been produced through the on-going Darwin Initiative Traditional Knowledge in Conservation project here in Guyana. As you have seen, these videos showcase a wide array of the traditional knowledge and practices possessed by Guyana’s first peoples – Amerindians. From their unique foods and how they are prepared, to their knowledge of traditional medicines, or from their handicraft making skills to their use of traditional tools that support … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Elders are the community’s historians

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  Elders are important members of Indigenous communities. They possess decades of knowledge linked to the history of their village and the many cultural and livelihood practices that are passed to the younger generation through demonstrating know-how, storytelling and other cultural activities such as dancing or ceremonial rituals. One wise proverb truthfully states: “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground”. Community elders – both male and female – have a wealth of knowledge which, especially today, is … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional tools

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  Traditional tools are an essential aspect of Indigenous life, even to today. From the use of clay for pottery, making of warashees, matapee and mats from various palm tree leaves by weaving or plaiting, or crafting bows and arrows for hunting purposes, we see a wealth of knowledge about the natural resources needed and the skills to craft the products. This knowledge is not well documented, but rather, as most traditional knowledge is, kept alive through the share of … 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: 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: 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

Mental health project kicks off in Guyana

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Over one billion people globally struggle with issues related to mental health, including depression, substance abuse and self-harm. Lack of research in implementation and policy change is further impeded by stigma, capacity shortages, and fragmented service delivery. In collaboration with Guyanese communities and stakeholders, and funded by the British Academy, the Cobra Collective is participating in ARCLIGHT (‘Action Research Community Led Initiative Guyana Health Team’), an ambitious new research project which will develop, implement and evaluate a capacity building and … Read More

Travelling South: my first field trip

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Betsy Alvin, an intern on the Darwin Initiative Traditional Knowledge in Conservation in Guyana project, reflects on her visit community visit. Well! This was my first experience on a field trip going anywhere to do project work. Mr Bernie couldn’t go because his mom was ill and Ms. Rebecca couldn’t go by herself so they called me and said to pack because you are heading south. Going along with us would be Mr Neville Adolph, the new project community liaison … Read More

Parikwarunawa – Land of the heavy breeze!

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Continuing our trip, we moved from Maruranau to Parikwarunawa. Just after concluding the video screening, the team began packing to make an early departure the next day. Sigh! But it was not time for home and more so Christmas yet! But it was on my mind as we packed. We left on the 11th December for the next village clear back across the savanna to the south central district of the Rupununi. Close to Lethem that you could almost touch … Read More

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