The Black Caribs, on the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, is a little known indigenous group of people. Yurumein (Homeland) is a 50-minute documentary that recounts the painful past of these Carib people – their near extermination at the hands of the British, the decimation of their culture on the island, and the exile of survivors to Central America over 200 years ago.
The film also captures the powerful moment of homecoming when Caribs from the Diaspora (also known as “Garifuna” in their indigenous language) visit the island for the first time. They come hoping to reconnect with the spirit of their ancestors and with the descendants of those who had remained. They find a legacy of genocide and slavery that has stripped St. Vincent of its native language, culture and heritage.
What happens when a dislocated people begin to reckon with a past laden with trauma and repression? Yurumein follows this journey as members of the Garifuna Diaspora (including dancers from the Garifuna Ballet Folklorico from Honduras) attempt to rekindle a disappeared culture and revitalize its language, dance and music. The film reveals signs of resilience as local Vincentians (some with Carib ancestry, some without) come together to honor their ancestors and celebrate their Garifuna past, and in doing so, begin the journey of healing, rebuilding, and preserving the homeland. Yurumein is a post-colonial story of re-identification and cultural retrieval among the indigenous Caribs in the Caribbean.
In 2001, UNESCO proclaimed the Garifuna language and culture a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.