JG - Maroons challenged to document their history
Maroons challenged to document their history
published: Monday January 9, 2006
Claudia Gardner, Gleaner Writer
'Maroon Warriors' march from the Old Town to Kindah for a ritual feeding of gatherers at the famed Mango Tree where legendary Maroon Leader, Captain Cudjoe planned war strategies at Accompong in St. Elizabeth on Friday. The occasion was the 268th anniversay of the signing of the peace treaty following the last Maroon war with the British. - HERBERT MCKENIS/FREELNCE
DIRECTOR Of Culture in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Sydney Bartley, has issued a challenge to Maroons to move swiftly to document their history in order to bring clarity to controversial issues surrounding their existence.
"The story of the people has been written too much by other people, and a lot of it has been written wrong!" Mr. Bartley declared recently. "It is time for the Maroons to decide that they can tell their story to the people in this country."
Mr. Bartley was speaking at the 268th Annual Accompong Maroon Celebrations in Accompong, St. Elizabeth.
"The Maroons cannot continue to feel as if they are enemies in a territory," he said. "You need to write, because when you tell your true story, some of the intolerance, some of the prejudice, some of the ignorance will be removed."
Mr. Bartley contended that Maroons should not always be 'knocking' themselves.
"Too many times on the radio everything you hear about Jamaica is bad," he said.
"We are the country that made Britain abolish the slave trade. We are the country who sent a man to Haiti to start the Haitian Revolution and, there is something about a Jamaican education, when you have it, nobody stops you anywhere!" he said, evoking a round of applause from the gathering.
The celebrations were staged under the theme 'Celebrating our African Ancestry: the Ghana connection'.
Prior to the civic ceremony, members of the Accompong Maroons, in the presence of a massive audience of locals and tourists, conducted their traditional ceremony which entailed drumming using the rattle and Gumbe drums, Myal dancing, throwing of the libation (rum) and the eating of the famed unsalted pork under the mango tree at Kindah, the spot where Colonel Cudjoe and his troops met to make war plans against the British.
A portion of the pork was taken to, and left at Old Town - the original Maroon settlement - as a sacrament to their ancestors.
Many visitors struggled to get a piece of the pork, which is said to bring year-long good luck. This was followed by a street march which culminated at the site of the civic ceremony.