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Garinagu are a resilient tribal people who have survived many years of extreme hardships. Despite these, ethnological studies show that they are the only black people in the Americas to have preserved their native culture. Because their ancestors were never slaves, they have been able to preserve their rich and unique Afro-Caribbean heritage. Also, the Garifunas traditions, deep sense of kinship and participation in community cultural activities have provided them with a sense of solidarity and cultural identity during times of turmoil.

Garinagu are a proud people devoted to their roots and their religion consists of a mix of Catholicism, African and Indian beliefs.Belief in and respect for the ancestors is at the very core of their faith.

The Garifuna believe that the departed ancestors mediate between the individual the external world. If a person behaves and performs well then he will have good fortune. If not, then the harmony that exists in relationships with others and the external world will be disrupted leading to misfortune and illness. The religious system thus implies certain responsibilities and obligations between the living and deceased. Food and drink should occasionally be laid out for the ancestors who may also appear in dreams. A spiritual leader, a “Buyei” leads the contact of a family with the deceased. In preparation of these spiritual gatherings with healing, drumming and dancing, a feast of seafood, meat and cassava bread is prepared. Garifuna spiritualism is creatively expressed through music, dancing and other art forms.

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