Working closely with Garifuna tradition bearers, this "outsider and insider" collaboration is the first of its kind, one that captures the triumph of spirit of the Garifuna people. With vivid and engaging footage shot entirely in Belize, the documentary celebrates the continuity of Garifuna culture in the face of overwhelming odds.

A range of native voices informs The Garifuna Journey, and the absence of an omniscient narrative voice is striking.The care with which the producers executed the project is exemplary, and their engagement with Garifuna tradition bearers, scholars, clergy, teachers, artists, writers, musicians, activists, technicians, community members, and community organizations anticipated the grassroots perspective variously manifest in the other, subsequently produced documentaries.

Michael Stone, Princeton: Caribbean Studies Vol. 36, No.2
Synopsis: 

Genocide, exile, Diaspora and persecution did not break the spirit of the Garifuna people. Descendants of African and Carib-Indian ancestors, the Garifuna fought to maintain their homeland on the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.  The Garifuna resisted slavery. For this love of freedom, they were exiled from St. Vincent to Roatan in Honduras by the British in 1797. Despite exile and subsequent Diaspora, their traditional culture survives today.  It is a little known story that deserves its place in the annals of the African Diaspora.  

In first person Garifuna voices, this documentary presents the history, the language, food, music, dance and spirituality of the Garifuna culture.  It is a celebratory documentary, with engaging scenes of fishing, cooking, dancing, cassava preparation, thatching a temple, spiritual ritual,  ritual music and dance all demonstrating  the Garifuna link to the Carib-African past.

 

Reviews

In The Garifuna Journey, the input of cultural activists and scholars has yielded a sensitive, balanced portrait of Garifuna ritual life and identity. Their film would be a most appropriate complement to university courses on the Caribbean, the African Diaspora, and Latin American ethnography.

Mark Moberg, Ph.D. American Anthropologist

A deftly constructed and moving portrayal of a people who have been dramatically successful in retaining their sense of identity while synthesizing into Garifuna culture the best of the worlds through which they have passed

Katherine Staiano Ross, Ph.D. Anthropology

... a sensitive, respectful documentation approach, this documentary will appeal to academics and lay persons alike, to adults and children as well.

Dr. Johan Buis, Coordinator of Education Center for Black Music Research, Chicago

Students will benefit by comparing the mechanisms and strategies utilized by this group in dealing with culture change and cultural survival to other indigenous populations.

Professor Costas Spiral: National Louis University

An informative and artistic ethnographic portrait, beautiful to watch.

Michael Lieber Ph.D. Anthropology, University of Illinois

...a vital step in archiving the rich culture and fascinating trajectory of the Garifuna of Belize. The video is a prime model for the use of the moving image in preserving living culture.

Huntington International Independent Film Festival