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» BREAKING NEWS, EVENTS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » THE MAROON CULTURE ON DISPLAY IN PORTLAND, JUNE 22 – 25!

THE MAROON CULTURE ON DISPLAY IN PORTLAND, JUNE 22 – 25!

By Basil Walters—

Marcia Douglas, acting Ketnal of the Charles Town Maroons, addressing guests at the launch of the ninth annual Charles Town Maroon Conference at Redbones Blues Cafe in St Andrew last Thursday. (Photo: Enola Williams)

PAM Hall, Cari-Folk Singers, Savvie, Ananse story-telling by Amina Blackwood Meeks, Charles Town Maroons drummers and dancers, and Mutabaruka providing musical selections are part of the entertainment package scheduled for the ninth annual international Charles Town Maroon Conference (CTMC) at the Asafu Yard in Charles Town, Portland, on June 22-25.

The event, which is under the theme ‘Maroons and the African Diaspora: Learning From The Past, Looking To The Future’, was launched at the Redbones Blues Café in New Kingston last Thursday.

At the launch, Marcus Goffe — a member of the organizing committee — said that the conference offers a unique combination of cultural performances and academic panelists and scholars from across the globe to examine the ways in which the Maroons’ legacies have endured and resonated in the Caribbean, South America, Australia, Europe, and Africa.

Pam Hall

Pam Hall

“The aim of these panelists is to look at the similarities of the Maroons’ experiences: performance narrative, poetic sojourn, looking at ancestral knowledge, riding a Maroon rhythm, drum class, bonfire roots rock drum listens, dancing around the bonfire. This annual conference was spawned by the ancestor Quao Day Celebration, growing from one day to a four-day conference, from a national to an international event, as a vehicle to celebrate through education and entertainment,” Goffe explained, while adding that at the conference he will be addressing the rights of the Maroons in the emerging ganja industry in Jamaica.

Amina Blackwood Meeks

Amina Blackwood Meeks

Okomfo Fofie, also on the planning committee, gave an overview of the traditional Quao Day celebration on the second day of the event (Friday, June 23) by declaring: “Quao Day is not something to talk about, it’s something to experience. This Quao Day is a recognition of the ancestors, a celebration of all the ancestors. It is the celebration of the victory of the Maroons over the British.”

There will also be a Wellness Village at the River Park campsite at Asafu Yard from 12 midday on Saturday (June 24) to 6:00 pm (Sunday, June 25) with live food workshop, Maroon cuisine, herbal tea bar, plus reflexology, reiki, yoga, star gazing, and other natural indigenous therapy.

Chairman of the Charles Town Maroon Council, Michael Lumsden, took the opportunity to pay tribute to his late uncle Colonel Frank Lumsden.

Mutabaruka

Mutabaruka

“Frank was a philosopher and one of the things he taught me was, we celebrate freedom from oppression, but what about our freedom to succeed? This is what this conference is about to keep the vision alive and continue the legacy of Colonel Frank Lumsden.”

Acting Colonel Marcia Douglas stated that her vision for the Charles Town Maroon Council is to use agriculture for socio-economic development.

“Our ancestors left us a trail that we can walk on. We hold steadfast to the teaching of our ancestors,” she said.

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