The communal lifestyle in Amerindian villages is beneficial, the lack of individual titles should not be fatal

Dear Editor,

“The world is changing in the United Nations favour as more people and governments understand that multilateralism is the only path in an interdependent and globalizing world. So going it alone is not a viable option.” – UN Secretary – General: Mr Ban Ki-moon.

Early this month I was invited by a Professor friend of mine – Ms Patricia Fay -attached to the Florida Gulf Coast University to give a ‘talk’ about my village life as a child to interdisciplinary senior students. This was in an effort to give the students a view of a different life style of people in other parts of the world and to give them a sense of balance on how they view life in general.

After the talk my friend asked me if I ever thought of bring my mother to live with me. I told her that I do not want to ‘imprison’ my mother in a little building with very limited land space – the answer that I have been giving whenever I was asked the same question when I was living in Georgetown and the Caribbean. She understood what I meant because she is familiar with that free /open life style in the Caribbean and villages in the Rupununi.

Anyway the point of this letter is to encourage my Anerindian brothers and sisters of 4 Miles, Kaituma, North West, particularly, and other titled villages to see the beauty of living in communal titled lands and to point out also that we as Amerindians have the right or option to live outside of our communal titled lands.

Unlike my brother J.H. Roberts whose letter captioned “Amerindians on reservations cannot have individual titles to their land” was published on October 24,2007, I did not have that lovely experience of growing up into my adulthood in my village (Katoka, Rupununi) with my parents.

The first reason was that there was no school in the village at the time. Hence I moved to Yupukari , at the age of six, where I stayed with my late godmother – Ethaline Thomas- in order to attend school ( this school was central for surrounding subvillages which fell under the administration of Yupukari Village Council even though they were not physically included in the Yupukari Reserved area). After several years I acquired a scholarship to attend St. Ignatius Secondary School. I moved to the coast, after briefly teaching at my former primary school and working with Malaria Eradication Programme, where I spent most of my life studying.

When I was preparing to return to my region so that I can be close to my parents, during my final year at the University of Guyana, my father had passed away (message I got months later) and at the same time I was appointed to teach at St. Mary’s College in St. Lucia. I opted to fulfil the latter. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to meet my Carib brothers and sisters of Dominica who live in a reservation.

During my absence from my village, for most of my life, ( Katoka/ Yupukari) it was never out of my mind, even now. ‘May be I drank too much of that tasty dark Katoka creek water.’ This was because I saw ,as a child, the effect of the communal way – harmony, love, and togetherness – our cultural way – that the rest of world (UN) is now trying to establish.

Beside the village council, perhaps we can work in groups/sub regionally (several villages coming together) to overcome our shortcomings and to create a stronger community. North Rupununi District Development Board is an example that other communities should follow.

A Village Council, if capacitated with enlightened/learned members, can be likened to a government. As an established/recognized body by law, in my opinion, it can have access to loan agencies/banks for the benefit of all.

In closing, for this reason, I would like to reiterate what I said in my last letter that “every Amerindian village could have an education and development fund” (07.10.15) where I shared ideas of fund raising to establish Village Education and Development Fund; establish a village farm – farming/live stock – and village shop (food, crafts, art, music,) managed by the Village Council.

It is a dream of mine to assist any village that sees the necessity of such fund in the future using the last bit of my athletic ability and my natural talents – art, craft, and music.

For consultation purposes I submit my email address:

Yours faithfully,

Guy Marco

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