Garifuna People

Garifuna PeopleThe Garifuna, also known as Garinagu are AfroCaribbean peoples of mixed Amerindian and African descent (Carib, Arawak and West African people) residing mostly in coastal towns of Central America, along the Caribbean Coast in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras including Honduras Bay Islands and Cayos Cochinos. Having suffered many historical injustices they have proven to be a resilient people. Having been victims of the slave trade, exile, and fiercely resisting 150 years of European imperialism. Garifuna are a migratory people, with a rich ancestral culture, who today live all over the world, with diaspora in many places including approximately 100,000 living in the United States.

The Garifuna language is an Arawakan language which is primarily derived from Arawak and Carib, with a lesser degree of English, French and Spanish, which has terms that are used only by men and other terms that are used only by women. Officially, most Garifuna are Catholic, however, they do combine traditional beliefs that were practiced long before their conversion to the Catholic faith. Garifuna traditional practices are lead by a shaman known as a buyei.

Much different from the rest of Central American music, Garifuna music is most famous for its "punta" music and dance, the most popular dance in Garifuna culture, which has become quite popular in Honduras and other parts of Central America, where the dancers move their hips in a circular motion.

Garifuna child in Cayos Cochinos
Garifuna child in Cayos Cochinos