Sunday 18 August, 2019

First Peoples applauded for preserving history, traditions

Photo courtesy the Office of the Prime Minister

Photo courtesy the Office of the Prime Minister

Drawing on the strength of our ancestors to weather many storms, Trinidad and Tobago will continue to build a strong and resilient nation.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made the comment in his greetings to the country’s First Peoples community on the occasion of its one-off national holiday, being observed today.

The request by the country’s first inhabitants to recognise and celebrate their contribution was granted in May this year.

The Prime Minister noted that the First Peoples have done much to preserve and revitalise their Amerindian history and traditions.

Recalling that heritage tours were organised to local sites dedicated to preserving the legacy of the First Peoples, Rowley acknowledged that much of Caribbean history and the history of Trinidad and Tobago has been lost or distorted that it is immediately necessary for us as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to research, hold on to and share our stories with one another and with the world.

He indicated that great efforts have been made by the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community to ensure that their historical legacy is preserved and that they continue to be relevant on T&T’s cultural landscape.

“I congratulate Santa Rosa Queen, Jennifer Cassar, Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez and the members of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community for their on-going work to sensitise us on the role and contributions of the Community.

Recognition is also due to them for educating the young members of the First Peoples Community in the history and ways of their ancestors.”

“It is a history of which we can all be proud,” he said.

The Prime Minister further noted that while the history of the Americas and the Caribbean Region has recorded much violence, confrontation and subjugation, it is also a history of courage, bravery, resistance and an enduring aspiration to preserve traditions through which we derive our identity.

“Demoralised, disillusioned but never defeated, our First Peoples, largely recognised through the Arima-based Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, have continuously strived to preserve and revitalise their Amerindian history and traditions,” he said.

Rowley called on the nation to acknowledge the First Peoples and celebrate the richness of T&T’s collective cultural ancestry as the First Peoples Heritage Week draws to a close.

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