The Garifuna Journey

A first voice testimony celebrating the resiliency of the Garifuna people and their traditions.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
46 mins
Closed captioning available


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.

Featured review

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


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.


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
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
Huntington International Independent Film Festival

Awards and Screenings

National Educational Film & Video Festival: Bronze Apple
Pan African Film Festival
Columbus International Film and Video Festival: Honorable Mention
Philadelphia International Film Festival: Honorable Mention
Latin American Studies Association Film Festival: Award of Merit
Breckenridge Festival of Film
Huntington International Film Festi: Artistic Excellence Award in Ethnographic Video
Smithsonian, National Museum of American Indian
18th Bilan du Film Ethnographique
American Museum of Natural History, Caribbean Heritage Festival
Cartegena Film & Video Festival
Caribbean Studies Conference

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Resources for Educators

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

Resources for Educators

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