Amerindian Heritage Month ushered in with religious ceremony

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Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe and other invitees being welcomed by members of the Hallelujah Group.

A religious ceremony, led by the Jawalla Hallelujah Group, was held to usher in Indigenous Heritage Month activities for 2018, at the Heritage Village, Sophia Exhibition Centre, Georgetown.

Present at the event were Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock and Minister within the Ministry, Valerie Garrido-Lowe and Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland and members of the diplomatic corps.

The service began with a “Wada Boo Call” or the sound of a horn traditionally used by the Indigenous nations as a signal to assemble. The ministers and others in attendance then joined in the ‘thanksgiving’ ceremony which took the form of dances around the benab and chanting in the Akawaio Language.

In brief remarks, Minister Allicock emphasised the importance of the month’s celebration to showcasing the culture and way of life of the Indigenous peoples to the rest of Guyana. He said that for years, the indigenous peoples have been playing their role in preserving the ecosystem and those contributions must be recognised and shared with others.

This will be the second year the worship group is leading the Religious Service. Last year for the first time, a group of 12 persons from Kangaruma Village, Middle Mazaruni and Kamarang in the Upper Mazaruni, Region Seven conducted the service.

‘Hallelujah’ is the only traditional religion in Guyana and is practised mostly by the indigenous peoples of the Upper Mazaruni, the Pakarimas and in the Rupununi. Hallelujah means a solemn worship to the supreme father in heaven. Amokokopai, a small village in the Upper Mazaruni hosts the headquarters of the Hallelujah church. Branches can also be found in Brazil and Venezuela, and they meet once a year to update records and deliver reports of the churches.

Indigenous Heritage Month activities will officially commence today with the heritage ceremonial launch, where President David Granger will deliver the feature address.

This will be followed by a cultural extravaganza on September 1-5.

Dances, songs, food, craft, and an art exhibition will be displayed at the Heritage Village. Also scheduled is the Heritage Games, a fund-raising event and Reflections on the Life of Stephen Campbell.

The Heritage Village celebration is scheduled for September 15 at Shulinab Village, South Rupununi.

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