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Black and Indigenous

Black and Indigenous: Garifuna Activism and Consumer Culture in Honduras

Mark Anderson
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 304
  • Book Info
    Black and Indigenous
    Book Description:

    Garifuna live in Central America and the United States. Identified as Black by others and by themselves, they paradoxically also claim indigenous status and rights in Latin America. As Mark Anderson reveals, indigeneity serves as a model for collective rights, while blackness confers a status of cosmopolitanism. Indigeneity and blackness, he concludes, operate as unstable modes through which people both represent themselves and negotiate oppression.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7031-4
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acronyms
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-34)

    The earliest reference to the word “indigenous” recorded in theOxford English Dictionaryjuxtaposes indigeneity with blackness. In the seventeenth century, Sir Thomas Browne asserted, “Although in many parts thereof there be at present swarms of Negroes serving under the Spaniard, yet were they all transported from Africa, since the discovery of Columbus; and are not indigenous or proper natives of America.”

    The statement comes from a chapter called “Of the Blackness of Negroes,” where Browne attempts to refute the idea that the skin color of Negroes resulted from equatorial geographies (Browne,370–78). His assertion that Negroes were not indigenous...

  5. 1 Race, Modernity, and Tradition in a Garifuna Community
    (pp. 35-69)

    In 1994, I came to Honduras to conduct preliminary fieldwork. Before arriving I had arranged to meet officers of the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), an organization that promotes the cultural, political, and territorial rights of the Garifuna people. I approached OFRANEH with a project on the education of Garifuna as a window into interethnic relations and racial–cultural discrimination in Honduras. Leaders of the organization voiced support for the project, but tensions immediately surfaced. One problem concerned where myself and my partner at the time should reside. I hoped that we could live in the city of La...

  6. 2 From Moreno to Negro: Garifuna and the Honduran Nation,1920s to 1960s
    (pp. 70-103)

    During my fieldwork, I often turned to Don Alonso for help in clarifying historical puzzles. He typically answered my questions with stories from his fascinating life of extensive travel and numerous jobs—as deckhand, fruit company employee, municipal employee, fisherman, factory worker, and more. He spoke to me as one traveler to another even as I sought him out as an informant on things local. On one occasion, I came to ask him about the meanings of the words “negro” and “moreno” in the past. I had recently interviewed a former mestizo labor leader who had responded to my question...

  7. 3 Black Indigenism: The Making of Ethnic Politics and State Multiculturalism
    (pp. 104-137)

    On April 12, 1997, Garifuna commemorated the 200th anniversary of their arrival to Central America in an official ceremony funded by the Honduran government. The Garifuna organization ODECO coordinated a week of activities that included panel discussions on topics like economic development and “the Garifuna woman,” cultural events such as a secular performance of the healing ceremony dügü, and the unveiling of a bust honoring Dr. Alfonso Lacayo. The events grew better-off Garifuna residing in Honduras and other countries, a smattering of other people from the African Diaspora, the national media, and the presidents of St. Vincent and Honduras. Although...

  8. 4 Paradoxes of Participation: Garifuna Activism in the Multicultural Era
    (pp. 138-171)

    In retrospect, the Reina years represented something of a high point for ethnic activism in Honduras in terms of mass mobilization, favorable media attention, and recognition of ethnic rights by the state. A leading activist in OFRANEH told me in 2004 that Hurricane Mitch (which devastated Honduras and Nicaragua in 1998) marked a shift for the worst in state politics and that the space for negotiation, dialogue, and concession had contracted as the neoliberal project of market expansion and capital-intensive tourism advanced. Her comments contrasted with the discourse of state officials I had recently interviewed. Th is expanding body of...

  9. 5 This Is the Black Power We Wear: Black America and the Fashioning of Young Garifuna Men
    (pp. 172-200)

    In the fall of 2003, U.S. African American hip-hop entrepreneur Sean Combs, aka Puff Diddy, found himself embroiled in a scandal involving workers in Honduras. Combs is the founder of Sean Jean, a clothing company that produces designer sportswear with “an urban sensibility and style.” Lydia Gonzalez, a nineteen-year-old worker at a Honduran factory that produces garments for Sean Jean, denounced the sweatshop working conditions of the plant and accused the management of firing employees for attempting to unionize workers (Greenhouse 2003). Gonzalez’s trip was sponsored by the New York-based National Labor Organization, a small outfit of antisweatshop activists that...

  10. 6 Political Economies of Difference: Indigeneity, Land, and Culture in Sambo Creek
    (pp. 201-232)

    In 1996, a group of Garifuna (and a few mestizos) from Sambo Creek performed a play as part of an AIDS awareness campaign coordinated by OFRANEH. The actors were mostly young men and women directed by a local OFRANEH representative who I call Mauricio. Mauricio was a painter who I met during my initial visit to Honduras. Back then, he sold me a picture of a Garifuna woman wearing a headscarf, holding her infant son. He was from a community near Trujillo and had aspirations to run for mayor of his municipality. His wife lived in Sambo Creek, and while...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 233-240)

    As a subject of anthropological study, Garifuna have always represented a fascinating anomaly within scholarly and popular paradigms for understanding race and culture in the Americas. As the Belizean Garifuna anthropologist Joseph Palacio (2000) puts it:

    Everyone thinks that they are so strange they need to be explained. Here are some reasons. They are not a plantation derived creole culture, although they live in the Caribbean sub-region. They did not originate from slavery but more so in resistance to the slavery of both Africans and Native Americans. They did not originate in Central America but are found there. They have...

  12. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 241-242)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 243-254)
  14. Glossary: Selected Ethnic–Racial Terms and Their Contemporary Uses
    (pp. 255-256)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-276)
  16. Index
    (pp. 277-290)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 291-291)