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Our Story

The Garínagu are an ethnic group with a vibrant heritage, language, music, dance and spirituality adopted from their two ancestral heritage:The South American Indians of and the displaced Africans. Conflicting accounts of how the Africans arrived in St. Vincent are told by many sources.  One popular, and traditional story account for the tale of West African slaves herded aboard ships, most likely destined for the New World mines and plantations, when the ships wrecked off the coast of St. Vincent in 1635.

The slaves found refuge with the island’s Carib Indians, who were themselves immigrants from South America, intermarried and produced a new breed of people, the Garifuna.  The Garífuna population greatly increased to surpass the original Carib Indians and they coexisted peacefully with French settlers who came to the island later in the 17th century.  However, tensions arose when English colonists began to arrive and demand land. These tensions eventually turned to war.

Hopelessly outnumbered by British troops, the Garífuna and the French supporters surrendered in 1796. The English exiled and imprisoned the Garifuna to the island of Baliceaux, where many died due to appalling conditions.  Transplanted from St. Vincent and displaced in regions unsustainable for the Garifuna’s way of life – mainly agriculture and fisheries, as a result, the people suffered many hardships.

Those who survived the atrocities of the British, were later shipped to Roatán Island off the coast of Honduras.  The displacement of the Garifuna people resulted in several migration to other coastal regions of Central America, namely Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Today, many Garifuna youth and young adults have immigrated to many prominent cities of the United States, namely New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago in search of a better life.  Currently modern challenges face the Garifuna people who remained in their homeland.

Year Timeline – Uprooted and Moving Forward
1220
Carib and Arawak mixed, abandoned settlement in South America and migrated to the Lesser Antilles mainly on the island of St. Vincent
1517
African Slaves imported to the New World
1635
African shipwrecks off the coast of St. Vincent. Island Caribs mixes with Africans result in the birth of the Black Caribs – Garifuna (singular) or Garinagu (plural)
1676
increase growth in the population of Garifuna people in St. Vincent
1769-1796
First and Second Carib War with Britain. Treaty of Aix La Chapelle – Land partitioning between Britain and France to include land owned by Black Caribs.
Timeless
Garifuna people now with no land were gathered by the British soldiers and exiled with internment to the island of Baliceaux. British falsely accuse Garinagu of cannibalism to ensure no one grants assistance.

OUR DISPLACEMENT AND RESILIENCE BEGINS.

1797
The Garifuna people arrive and settle in Roatan Island in the Bay of Honduras. Allowed to stay by the Spaniards because they showed themselves to be honest and hardworking, dismissing the British claim.
1802-1812
The arrival of Garinagu in Belize after fleeing from Republican revolt in Honduras, led by Alejo Benni.
1832-1900
Mass exodus of Garinagu to Belize settling near the coastal areas in Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Barranco, Livingston and Hopkins, where they predominately live today. Nov 19th 1941Founding of Garifuna Settlement Day by T.V. Ramos.
1977
Government declaration of Garifuna Settlement Day – a public holiday in Belize
1987
The formation of the National Garifuna Council whose purpose is to preserve, strengthen and develop the Garifuna Culture.
2001
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, proclaimed the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance a Masterpiece of the Oral and intangible Heritage of Humanity.
2007
Forming of CAME, International, now GAMAE, International, whose sole purpose is to preserve, protect and promote the Garifuna Culture among youth and young adults in the United States and abroad.
2012
Marks 210 years of Garifuna settlement in Belize. The decision to restructure GAMAE, International, with efforts to recruit and collaborate with key leaders to assist us in economic development for the Garifuna people.
2012-Present
GAMAE International working to build capacity by creating alliances with academic institutions, global agencies, and volunteers to address the challenges facing the Garifuna communities in Southern Belize, Central America.

The Garifuna Communities We Serve in Southern Belize, Central America

The Garifuna Communities We Serve Southern Belize, Central America

The Timeline *Uprooted and moving forward

1220 –  Carib and Arawak mixed, abandoned settlement in South America and migrated to the Lesser Antilles mainly on the island of St. Vincent

1517 –   African Slaves imported to the New World

1635 –  African shipwrecks off the coast of St. Vincent.  Island Caribs mixes with Africans result in the birth of the Black Caribs – Garifuna (singular) or Garinagu (plural)

1676     increase growth in the population of Garifuna people in St. Vincent

1769 – 1796    First and Second Carib War with Britain

Treaty of Aix La Chapelle – Land partitioning between Britain and France to include Black Carib’s land.

Garifuna people now with no land were gathered by the British soldiers and exiled with internment to the island of Baliceaux.  British falsely accuse Garinagu of cannibalism to ensure no one grants assistance.

1797  The Garifuna people arrive and settle in Roatan Island in the Bay of Honduras.  Allowed to stay by the Spaniards because they showed themselves to be honest and                         hardworking, dismissing the British claim.

1802-1812   The arrival of Garinagu in Belize after fleeing from Republican revolt in Honduras, led by Alejo Benni.

1832 – 1900  Mass exodus of Garinagu to Belize settling near the coastal areas in Dangriga, Punta Gorda, Barranco, Livingston and Hopkins, where they predominately live today.                          1941Nov 19th Founding of Garifuna Settlement Day by T.V. Ramos.

1977    Government declaration of Garifuna Settlement Day – a public holiday in Belize

1987   The formation of the National Garifuna Council whose purpose is to preserve, strengthen and develop the Garifuna Culture.

2001   The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, proclaimed the Garifuna Language, Music and Dance a Masterpiece of the Oral and                             IntangibleHeritage of Humanity

2007   Forming of CAME, International, now GAMAE, International, whose sole purpose is to preserve, protect and promote the Garifuna Culture among youth and young                             adults in the United States and abroad.

2012    Marks 210 years of Garifuna settlement in Belize. The decision to restructure GAMAE, International, with efforts to recruit and collaborate with key leaders to assist                         us in economic development for the Garifuna people.

2012-Present    GAMAE Internationalworking to build capacity by creating alliances with academic institutions, global agencies,and volunteer to address the challenges facing the                          Garifuna community in Belize, Central America.

The Garifuna Communities We Serve Southern Belize, Central America

ABOUT US

Inspired by the limitless sacrifices of the Garinagu and built on the passion to become change agents, the 501©3 nonprofit organization, GAMAE International was formed. The organization was established in 2007 by concerned Garifuna nationals living in the United States.  Four divisions were formed to help shed light on the unique cultural heritage and to address the contemporary challenges and struggles faced by the Garinagu in Southern Belize.We created a community model with four divisions that we identified as integral to achieving economic prosperity within our communities.  These four divisions provide a systematic approach to economic development, strengthen our Garifuna communities, and achieve sustainable development goals with our community leader’s consensus.

GAMAE is an acronym for: Garifuna • Arts •Medicine •Agriculture •Education

OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE

In a country where economic prosperity is not equitable for all its citizens, we realize the importance of fostering community development with projects focused on economic growth and sustainability while addressing the challenges that face the Garifuna community in Southern Belize, Central America.

We created a community model with four divisions that we identified as integral to achieving economic prosperity within our communities.  These four divisions provide a systematic approach to economic development, strengthen our Garifuna community, and achieve sustainable development goals with a global consensus.

OUR MISSION

We address problems and seek solutions for youth and young adults in the Garifuna community. We aim to improve lives by setting goals that move us forward and ultimately towards a sustainable future.

OUR STRATEGIES & GOAL

Through enterprise and innovation, we envision our role as change agents. GAMAE in the Garifuna language means we have, GAMAE wamali, means we now have.  Through the implementation of a community model, we seek to:

OUR TEAM

Our leadership team is comprised of volunteer Board Members and Program Directors who meet regularly to ensure that our goals are being met as an organization and that all programs are running as per their predefined goals.  Each team member volunteers their time to help achieve GAMAE International’s goals towards progressive and equitable economic development and creating a sustainable future.

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Through enterprise and innovation, we envision our role as change agents. GAMAE in the Garifuna language means we have, GAMAE wamali, means we now have.  Through the implementation of a community model, we seek to:

Eleanor Castillo Bullock, MPA

GAMAE Co-founder and Director of Arts & Culture

Rebekah Castillo, MPH

Co-founder and Executive Director

Tiffany Jackson, MPH

GAMAE Associate Director, Medicine & Health

Dean Martinez, Bsc

GAMAE, Director of Agriculture

Nicole Perkins, MS

GAMAE, Associate Director of Education

Alicia McKenzie.

Chief Financial Officer

Dr. Anthony Culpepper

Dr. Michelle Forbes

Daniel Kaufman

Dr. & Mrs. Sola Okunseinde

James Lovell, JLAMA Garifuna

Evelyn Ganigi Muckett, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Carol Martinez, Project Management

D’Arcel Bullock

Dominique Bullock

Caroline Valentine-Codd, MD

Dyny Martinez

Tamika Castillo

Diceve Ramirez

Maren Kamil Vera

Ethan Valasquez

Ishmael Nunez

Trizane Troy Mejia

Richard &Helen Cho

Charlotte Martinez

Jeannie Cabral

Josh Arana

International Garifuna Council

National Garifuna Association

New York State Council on the Arts

New Jersey State Council on the Arts

United Nations Education, Scientific, Communication Organization (UNESCO) World Bank

Dr. Cadrin E. Gill, MD, F.A.A.F.P

Dr. & Mrs. Sola Okunseinde

International Garifuna Council

Mr. Daniel Kaufman, Endangered Language Alliance

St. Vincent Brewery Ltd

St. Vincent Ministry of Culture

St. Vincent Regional Integration Diaspora Unit (RIDU)

Dr. Woody Jackson

Nadir Ali II

Gustavus Aranda

Dr. Linda Everett

Jean Dume

Renee Allen-Fulton

Chad & Heidi Gray

Lilia Gutowski

Ian Jackson

Dr. Woody Jackson

Lamaute Family

Oscar Leos

Roxanne Randolph & Family

Colby Thronton

Shenae Williams & Family

Kevin & Eleanor Zuniga

Rebecca Swaso

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dr. Anthony Culpepper

Dr. Michelle Forbes

Prof. Lea Ramsdell

Dr. & Mrs. Sola Okunseinde

US ADVISORS

James Lovell, JLAMA Garifuna

Evelyn Ganigi Muckett, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Carol Martinez, Project Management

D’Arcel Bullock

D’Arcel Bullock

BELIZE ADVISORS

Caroline Valentine-Codd, MD

Dyny Martinez

Tamika Castillo

Diceve Ramirez

Tamika Castillo

Maren Kamil Vera

Ethan Valasquez

Ishmael Nunez

TrizaneTroy Mejia

Richard &Helen Cho

Charlotte Martinez

Jeannie Cabral

SPONSORS

International Garifuna Council

National Garifuna Association

New York State Council on the Arts

New Jersey State Council on the Arts

United Nations Education, Scientific, Communication Organization (UNESCO) World Bank

DONORS - ARTS

Dr. Cadrin E. Gill, MD, F.A.A.F.P

Dr. & Mrs. Sola Okunseinde

International Garifuna Council

Mr. Daniel Kaufman, Endangered Language Alliance

St. Vincent Brewery Ltd

St. Vincent Ministry of Culture

St. Vincent Regional Integration Diaspora Unit (RIDU)

Dr. Woody Jackson

DONORS – MEDICINE & HEALTH

Nadir Ali II

Gustavus Aranda

Dr. Linda Everett

Jean Dume

Renee Allen-Fulton

Chad & Heidi Gray

Lilia Gutowski

Ian Jackson

Dr. Woody Jackson

Lamaute Family

Oscar Leos

Roxanne Randolph & Family

Colby Thronton

Shenae Williams & Family

Kevin & Eleanor Zuniga

PARTNERS

FINANCIALS

A 990 IRS form for a nonprofit is normally filed when the income is over $25,000. As GAMAE has been recently restructured, we have joined GuideStar, which promotes nonprofit transparency. Please find below our annual report for 2011(11), and our IRS letter of determination (12).