Regarding our project REMEMBER STATIA: TRACING OUR ORIGINS

By Kenneth Cuvalay

A short synopsis of what retaking our history and rewriting our narrative entail on March 26 gathering in the public library

Prior to the interactive discussion with the audiences on the subject of retaking our history and rewriting our narrative it is mportant to announce we showing the documentary ” A Story Of Bones” which will be emphasizing on the correlation between St Helena and St Eustatius during the Transatlantic slave trade and colonialism and the middle massage.

Our work is community-based involvement chanting and emphasizing awareness from an educational point of view with the aim of decolonization within education systems and decolonization of colonial images that create negative image forming in society and represent the continuation of the legacy of slavery in our community. Enshrining the legacy of our Afrikan ancestors whose untold stories, memories and contribution to humanity changed St Eustatius, the Caribbean and the world, it is therefore important we bring this to the Afrikan communities and world seeing the fact that we are strip from our cultural heritage and our history which is being distorted for centuries.

Part of the mission of the St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance is also to gain knowledge and experience together with experts in the field of cultural heritage conservation to contribute to the recognition, mapping, publicize, enrich and protect the Afrikan cultural heritage on St. Eustatius. We do this as a tribute to and commemoration of the sacrifices our ancestors have made and as building blocks of the foundation of our cultural identity that gives us strength and connects us. 

A community-based heritage approach requires (re)discovering, valuing and protecting the intangible and material heritage of the residents of St. Eustatius of Afrikan descent. The community itself must play an important role in this. We believe it is important to strengthen the interconnectedness with the community, our ancestors, with the Afrikan diaspora worldwide and with the motherland Afrika. Coming into contact with the past by discovering it yourself, retelling history but now from our own perspective and to play a role in promoting and sustainably preserving the existing heritage to which our (new) insights, knowledge and spirituality have been added, are the guideline for our activities.

Central to our philosophy and mission is the heritage of Afrikan descendants in the diaspora and the pursuit of full participation of these descendants in St. Eustatius and the Caribbean as well as in the Netherlands. We pay special attention to decolonizing social institutions to challenge the Western-dominated discourse and add our perspective to it. Preservation of and control over our heritage is the central theme of the Alliance. In summary: community engagement and community building and researching one’s own history (Afrikan roots) and being able to sustainably and meaningfully research, record and preserve our (in)material heritage and what that means for our lives now and in the future.