Dominica country conference seeks to develop platform for strengthening of creole culture

Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Roland Royer

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is hosting its third country conference, under the theme “Creole as a Cultural Heritage: Framing, Strengthening and Advocating.”

The conference is set to take place over the course of two days, and will focus on advancing creole heritage, Dominica’s culture and tourism, and Kalinago people.

Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Roland Royer, commended the work of the Open Campus in preserving and advancing Dominican culture, dubbing the conference “timely and certainly beneficial.”

“This country conference provides us with a most important platform to bring to the floor a subject of immense significance to evolving civilization… The growth of our Dominican civilization has its roots and antecedence in the multi-ethnic nature of its population and society, and the diverse and dynamic nature of our culture and heritage,” he explained. “As proud beneficiaries of this amazing country, we owe a debt of gratitude to our ancestors who struggled and fought to preserve what we have today. This struggle for national identity, it is rooted mainly in our creole sensibility, elements of which are highlighted in many aspects of our culture has helped to pull our society together, and give us peace and stability in this long struggle against colonialism and neo-colonialism.”

Royer insisted that it is necessary to cultivate a better understanding of creole and its profound influence on Dominican culture.

“Our creole culture is rooted in our various influences and many elements that have impacted our small-island state over the centuries. It is not always well-understood and not fully appreciated by many of us. There is clearly a need for us to have a better understanding of those impacts and how best we can utilize them to create a peaceful and just society. This country conference is, therefore, uniquely placed to help us recognize the value of this national endeavor on spirit,” he stated. “As we look to build a modern and dynamic society, it is, therefore, incumbent on us to examine closely how we are best able to integrate many critical aspects of culture and heritage to our national development efforts.”

Violet Cuffy, PhD

Senior Lecturer at the University of the Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom (UK), Dr. Violet Cuffy, described the conference as a platform to explore creole culture in all its variations.

“… We seek to understand each other’s representations of various creole dimensions and retain a common and unified paradigm for the work of our proposed network. The aim here is to develop a platform on which future representations of the creole culture can be strengthened and advanced as it continues to evolve from one era and/or generation to the next,” she stated. “We recognize that the creole cultural heritage is rich, alive and vibrant. However, we equally acknowledge its dynamism and it is one which continues to evolve over time. Thus, our focus, arrived at after much debate and negotiation among the organizing team, is not so much to preserve a dying tradition, but to embrace the core of who we are as a people in all its facets… It is this depth of appreciation and engagement that we seek to explore… this opulent and diverse creole heritage.”

Cuffy, who was awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to fund the establishment of an International Creole Research Network, said she hoped that by the end of the conference, “we will be much closer to making advocacy to the creole best practices currently employed by our sister creole nations,” such as Haiti, St. Lucia, Martinique, and Guadeloupe.

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    August 16, 2019

    ” … how best we can utilize them to build a PEACEFUL and JUST society”. Emphasis mine. This is an excerpt from the PS”s speech. No sir, first we build a JUST society and PEACE will flow from this justice. The preamble of our constitution states clearly that the resources of this country MUST be used for the benefit of ALL. Don’t believe me? Go read it for yourself. We will ONLY have a PEACEFUL society after constructing a JUST one.

  2. Bob Denis
    August 16, 2019

    Creole is another way of deflecting the reality of who Dominicans are. Who and what is Ah creole? before one became a Creole, they had to be something else, in Dominica’ case, Chattel is the word we must use , prior to that, African they were known as, so why not celebrate their Africanness?. One great Caribbean artist, said it factually in Song,”THEY RUNNING AND THEY RUNNING AWAY, BUT THEY CAN’T RUNAWAY FROM THEMSELVES” We should never partake in Forums that continue to Shakle the MIND.No wonder Dominicans at home and Diaspora are so Disoriented, they do not know who they are in most cases, CREOLE is the smokescreen of their IDENTITY. The poor Europeans who stayed back on the Colonies, were termed Creoles, the best lands were given/taken by them, today, their HEIRS still control prime real estates. Do the first people of Dominica accept to be labeled CREOLE?

  3. Darius
    August 16, 2019

    Nowhere could I find when and where this conference will be held. This is disappointing.

    ADMIN:The conference continues today and is being held at the UWI Open Campus auditorium from 9am – 4pm.

  4. Kalinago Justice
    August 15, 2019

    :?: I didn’t even finish reading, cause as usual, it’s just another talk shop for those involved to spend time at hotels drinking expensive coffee and indulge in being glutenous! I bet most if not all can’t speak creole, struggle to speak it or just not showing interest :?: It’s only at events like these, Creole Day and the festival that Creole is given some attention! Those responsible allowed the slow disappearance of Cadence Music which is not even vastly featured during the WCMF. It’s a shame that most people on island can’t speak Creole, not even those hosting the Creole program on the National Radio.

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