Dominicans honour Maroon ancestors

Activities which formed part of the event
Activities which formed part of the event

The Old Market Square came alive on Sunday (July 10th) as members of the public came together to honour the Maroons who courageously fought to destroy the institution of slavery in Dominica.

The activity, which paid tribute to Maroon‘Chief Jacko,’ was organised by the 12th of July Movement, to commemorate the valiant Maroon Chief who was killed on July 12th, 1814; 203 years ago.

The movement aim is to continue in its quest to transform the Old Market in Roseau into a national monument of remembrance in honour of the Maroons and in the honour of all those who suffered under slavery and fought against it.

Founder of the 12th of July Movement and Attorney-at-Law, Bernard Wiltshire said the old market place should be sacred.

“If we look at our country today, this marketplace should be a sacred place,” he said.

According to him, “upon these very stones where our ancestors were executed because they refused to be slaves, today we can stand here and honour them, who in their lifetime were dishonoured.”

“In honouring them actually we will be honouring ourselves,” Wiltshire stated. “In honouring them we say something about our own confidence of who we are and what we are about.”

Part of the activity included; performances by the House of Nyabinghi, Belaire performance by the Siboulie, Massacre Cultural Groups, the liberation at the Old Market Well, poems among other activities.

Maroon Chief Jacko was born in Africa but was transported to Dominica in the late 1760’s.

He escaped from the Beau Bois Estate in Castle Comfort and established a camp on a plateau near the present day village of Belles.

His camp was one of the main targets of a massive offensive launched by the British during the Second Maroon War in 1812.

He was eventually surrounded and killed after living in the forest for over 40 years.

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12 Comments

  1. July 13, 2016

    I did not know the battle against slavery was fought and won in Dominica to a great extent by the contribution of the Maroon people for the Black people of the island.

    This is an awesome bit of Caribbean history and I thank DNO for filling me in. I especially appreciate the information about Chief Jacko. Obviously he was a tremendous man. You could never celebrate him enough. Young people please never let this sacred memory die.

    Let the record show that I – Donald G. Hill – a white Canadian citizen and Pentecostal Evangelist – do this day honor and pay tribute to Chief Jacko and the brave Maroon people who fought the diabolical evil of slavery on the beautiful nature island of Dominica, and those who carried the battle forward eventually crushing and destroying that enemy for ever under their feet. Likewise I honor and pay tribute to all who joined them in that sacred revolt. I hail their victory.

    Let it never be forgotten.

    Sincerely, Rev. Dr. Donald Hill.

  2. July 12, 2016

    Our ancestors must be turning in their graves, because of what Skerrit did to that country and we stood by

    • July 13, 2016

      Do not be so hung up on the present that you forget the past and have no hope for the future.

      God has a glorious plan for Dominica. He is preparing the leaders of tomorrow.

      All that has happened in the past or is happening now is the handiwork of God who is the wise Master Builder.

      Some of your “old people” now will live to see the breaking of God’s new day over your land.

      Those who do not know God will despise the word of prophecy. Those who know HIM will recognize HIS voice because HE still speaks to HIS people :!:

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

      • July 20, 2016

        Truth upon the scaffold,
        Lies upon the throne.
        But in the shadows God is standing,
        Watching over His own! (Unknown)

        Concern not yourself about winning. Think only about knowing Him who is the truth and living for Him. For truth will eventually triumph just as the Kingdom of God is the victory of right over wrong.

        Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill, Evangelist.

  3. Tj
    July 12, 2016

    Atty Wiltshie you are to congratulated. The old market should be a sacred monument or most of it.

    • July 13, 2016

      It should be built up and promoted as an historical site, a must see for visitors to the island.

      Pictures, plaques, and statues could be considered, with signs giving information much like we have in this DNO news article about Chief Jacko. It could become a tourist attraction.

      The hurts of the past should be allowed to heal but positive things should be front and center. It is a VICTORY you are celebrating. It would require some creative thinking.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  4. Erasmus B. Black
    July 12, 2016

    I recall an English Literature book I did in second form in high school called “The Young Warriors”. It is about four or five young Maroon boys in Jamaica. As part of the initiation test to become a real maroon warrior they had to answer the question ” Who are the Maroons?” Answer: “The maroons are the brave people who hate slavery and fight for their freedom.”

    Long live the memory of Chief Jacko and all the other brave negre maroon ( and negress maroon too) who fought for our freedom!

    • July 13, 2016

      Let the High Schools keep the embers burning by stroking them, and applying fresh coals frequently.

      Those were days of injustices, loses, and many hurts. But they were also days of appreciating true values,
      bravery, and standing tall for the right. God was looking on to show Himself strong on behalf of all those whose hearts were perfect towards Him.

      Leave the injustices and loses behind, and God will heal the hurts.

      But let the battle not be forgotten. Out of it came the sacred music we know today as Black Gospel, with
      the fervency of Afro- American worship, and the powerful black preaching that is packing out some of the greatest churches on American soil. This and yes, much more is your heritage. Keep it alive, and pass the torch through education!

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  5. forreal
    July 12, 2016

    the irony of celebrating the life of jacko and our maroon ancesters,is almost hypocritical by our modern society and the total misunderstanding of our dread brothers back in the days when they dwelled in the hills,up to this day the brothers who were shot killed and buried in the bushes by the police are still not recognized as brothers who were simply walking in the footsteps of our ancesters,no they will never be,because we have been recultivated as a Christian people,so i ask myself what and why are we celebrating if we do not understand the true meaning or what our history means in this times,are we willing to make those changes to our present lives or like It is,just celebrate the hypocracy and continue to live our given Christian lives as was established by the roman empire or are we going to revolt and go jacko’s way and find our true African god

  6. informative
    July 12, 2016

    I think the always poor turnout is because people think of this as a RASTA thing rather than an emancipation celebration. As far as i know JACKO was no RASTA, the organisers need to stop making this a RASTA thing and include all.

    • July 13, 2016

      Every since a Rasta high priest got high on weed and announced he was going to sail to Africa in the white man’s blood the Rasta have celebrated anything that is perceived to be against the white man.

      The Rasta will identify with your emancipation ceremony because they misunderstand its purpose. Don’t
      let that keep you from a day of rejoicing in the triumph of good over evil. Once the Rasta gain a clear understanding of its significance they will celebrate with you for the right reason. Hopefully others who dislike the Rasta will clear their heads and know that its all about being one people under God with life, equality, and liberty for all.

      When I landed at the airport in Kingston, Jamaica I saw a sign over head that read

      OUT OF MANY ONE PEOPLE.

      Someday that dream will be realized, nor only for Black people, but for ALL those of EVERY race who receive Christ as their Savior, and confess that HE is Lord :!:

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist. :lol:

  7. Africo
    July 12, 2016

    Congratulations and support to all concerned.

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