The Unrecognised Honoured at Charles Town

Charles-Town-post-cover Highlights from the Charles Town Maroon Conference and Festival

PORTLAND, JAMAICA – Monday, June 27, 2022 - The Maroons honored their ancestors at the 14th Annual International Charles Town Maroon Conference & Festival in a weeklong celebration from June 21-25, 2022, in Charles Town, Portland.

It was hosted under the theme, “Sankofa and the Healing of Indigenous Peoples, Lands, and Cultures”. This event also commemorated the 8th year of the Enstoolment of spiritual leader and “Queen of the Maroons”, Gaamang Gloria Simms, by the Okansi Surinamese Maroons in the person of Gaamang Johannes Ballong.

This has been the first face-to-face hosting since the lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There were a series of events that took place at the Asafu Yard in Charles Town, which includes the Ancestor Quao Spanish River, and online on Zoom.

Events included rituals, greetings, and cultural and academic presentations from various stalwarts in Jamaican history. Participants involved in the celebration included Acting Colonel Marcia Douglas of Charles Town, Charles Town Drummers and Dancers, Rastafari warrioress, Mama Fiyah, Reggae princess, Pam Hall, multiple Jamaican Festival Song competition awardee, Roy Rayon, and Dr Dave Gosse, Institute of Caribbean Studies of the UWI. The general theme was that of acknowledging the past and its importance in directing the future of the Jamaican people.

It was nothing short of an honor, as libations were poured, and praises and thanksgiving were made to honour the ancestors who have transitioned in times before us. The Taino community opened the week’s activities on Tuesday the 21st with solstice celebrations. On Wednesday, the 22nd was the commemoration of the enstoolment and awarding three unrecognized workers associated with the Charles Town Maroons.

Thursday the 23rd was celebrated as Ancestor Quao Day, remembering the victory that the Maroons at the Spanish River had over the British in the First Maroon War (1655-1739), and all the ancestors who have fought tirelessly for freedom. On Friday the 24th, academic presentations were made throughout the day. Saturday the 25th continued with a series of cultural presentations from Maroons across the country.

Post Cover:

  1. Acting Colonel Marcia Douglas of Charles Town
  2. Ancestor Quao Day celebration at the Spanish River
  3. Dove releasing ceremony at the Asafu Yard
  4. Mama Fiyah (left) and Gaamang Gloria Simms (right) in conversation
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