Amerindians hold five-day heritage activity at Lethem

Stabroek News
October 2, 1999

Some 600 representatives from the Macushi and Wapishana tribes converged at Lethem on Tuesday, to commence a five-day activity to mark Amerindian Heritage Month in Region Nine.

A press release from Regional Information Officer, Terrence Boston, said that to begin the week's activities, a large contingent of participants marched off from the Amerindian Hostel at Lethem and through the streets to the Community Centre ground where the march past and salute was taken by Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Vibert De Souza, and Vice-Chairman of Region Nine, Vincent Henry.

Newly-styled Amerindian Chief of Chiefs, Eugene Isaacs, in opening the week's activities, under the theme 'Unity, Strength, Heritage,' said that one of the major concerns of Amerindians today is the land issue.

According to the release, apart from seeking to have proper titles for the land which they have been occupying and some of which has been demarcated, Amerindians are also seeking an extension of their land rights. Isaacs said that because of the Amerindian cultural way of life, the land is important to their survival as a people.

Alluding to the significant contribution made to Amerindians by Stephen Campbell, the first Amerindian to have entered Guyana's parliament, De Souza noted that the wheel of change for Amerindian peoples in Guyana began with this giant step. According to the release, the minister told the gathering that the turning of this wheel of change must continue and pass onto the youths who will live in the next millennium.

The release also stated that the minister said that while the retention of the Amerindian culture was important this culture must be refined. He told the gathering that the focus now should be to assert themselves and plan a course for a better future.

The activities will conclude today.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples