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 kinfolk. 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, scientific anthropologist Marilyn McKillop Wells discovered herself embarking on an “improbable trip” whilst she was once invited to the world to do fieldwork with the additional problem of showing the “real” Garifuna. Upon her arrival at the island, Wells was once warmly embraced by means of a neighborhood kin, the Diegos, and started working 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 kinfolk narrative is equipped chronologically. half I, “The outdated Ways,” includes vignettes that introduce the kinfolk backstory with discussion as imagined via Wells according to the kin background she used to be instructed. We meet the kinfolk progenitors, Margaret and Cervantes Diego, in the course of their courtship, adventure Margaret’s ache as Cervantes takes a moment spouse, witness the loss of life of Cervantes and resulting mourning rituals, persist with the go back of Margaret and the youngsters to their prior domestic in British Honduras, and discover 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 youngsters, together with the main protagonist, Tas. In Tas’s loved ones Wells learns approximately meals and manners and watches family members 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 captivating slice of lifestyles. 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 best 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 manner. Wells’s portrait of this Garifuna relatives should be of curiosity to anthropologists, Caribbeanists, Latin Americanists, scholars, and basic readers alike. 

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