|Wanaragua: Garífuna Masked Warrior Dance|
The origin of this masked dance dates back to the epoch in which the Garífuna inhabited Saint Vincent Island (XVII-XIX century). In those days, the British colonizers infiltrated the island, setting their sight on the huge expansions of land and the local work force, the Black Carib. These Garífuna ancestors resisted imperialist attacks and engaged in armed conflict with the British. This dance readopts the disguise that the Garífuna warrior utilized as a strategic defense against British forces. It is a celebration of their military victories.
According to Garífuna oral tradition, Barauda, the wife of the legendary Garífuna chief, Satuye, insulted her husband for not "being enough of a man" to avenge the British. The British were invading their communities and burning their cassava fields. She says, "women, we are going to have to dress as men and fight against the British. Meanwhile, men, you had better dress as women. Because the only thing you do is flee each time the British come near our villages."
Continue! Learn how this legend of disguised warriors is reflected in Waranagua dance costumes today.
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|Credit: Compiled by Alejandro Tosatti, InCorpore Cultural Association©. Based on interviews with Garífuna community members, Junior Clother, Santos Guzmán, Natividad Roches, Purificación Arriola López; Triunfo de la Cruz, Honduras, July 1998. All rights reserved. Edited and translated by Kristina Stevens, Latin American Studies, Stanford University, 2/1/00.|