Among the Garifuna: Family Tales and Ethnography from the by Marilyn McKillop Wells

By Marilyn McKillop Wells

Among the Garifuna is the 1st ethnographic narrative of a Garifuna relations. The Garifuna are descendants of the “Black Carib,” whom the British deposited on Roatan Island in 1797 and who settled alongside the Caribbean coast from Belize urban to Nicaragua.

 

In 1980, clinical anthropologist Marilyn McKillop Wells discovered herself embarking on an “improbable trip” while she used to be invited to the realm to do fieldwork with the additional problem of showing the “real” Garifuna. Upon her arrival at the island, Wells used to be warmly embraced by means of an area relations, the Diegos, and got to work recording existence occasions and indigenous views on polygyny, Afro-indigenous id, ancestor-worshiping faith, and extra. the outcome, as represented in Among the Garifuna, is a lovingly intimate, earthy human drama.

 

The kin narrative is geared up chronologically. half I, “The previous Ways,” includes vignettes that introduce the kin backstory with discussion as imagined by means of Wells according to the family members heritage she was once advised. We meet the kin progenitors, Margaret and Cervantes Diego, in the course of their courtship, adventure Margaret’s ache as Cervantes takes a moment spouse, witness the dying of Cervantes and resulting mourning rituals, persist with the go back of Margaret and the youngsters to their past domestic in British Honduras, and detect the emergence of the children’s personalities.

 

In half II, “Living There,” Wells maintains the tale while she arrives in Belize and meets the Diego little ones, together with the most important protagonist, Tas. In Tas’s loved ones Wells learns approximately meals and manners and watches kin squabbles and reconciliations. In those mini-stories, Wells interweaves cultural info at the Garifuna individuals with first-person narrative and transcription in their phrases, assembling those into a charming slice of existence. half III, “The Ancestor Party,” takes the reader via a desirable postmortem ritual that's enacted to facilitate the adventure of the spirits of the venerated ancestors to the excellent supernatural.

 

Among the Garifuna contributes to the literary genres of narrative anthropology and feminist ethnography within the culture of Zora Neal Hurston and different ladies writing tradition in a private method. Wells’s portrait of this Garifuna relations might be of curiosity to anthropologists, Caribbeanists, Latin Americanists, scholars, and basic readers alike. 

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