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Daniel Transcript from Video - Part 1

01 September 2003 (Venezuela) by Ben Glass

"Firstly friends I would like to welcome you to this English-speaking Arawak community. We Arawak have a long tradition of travelling, of moving from place to place. For a bit of history we were the first people to bid welcome to Christopher Colombus into this new hemisphere. We treated him well... and in return we are where we are today, moving from place to place. In the year 1717 we had to move from Cuidad Bolivar because of General Santurio[?], in the year 1817 we had to move from the river of Cuyuni to British Guyana, and from British Guyana we are back here again today.  Moving is no strange thing to us. My tribe is extremely proud to still be around after five centuries. My tribe, if you understand our language you can understand the Japanese language, so history proves that we may be right, we came from the east. As an Indian of Natungi[?]Arawak I am proud of my heritage. I would like the children of my children and the children of my neighbours' children to keep being proud of who they are... not just being an Indian but a member of the human race... which is most important.

In the early 1940's the place where I was brought up had a problem with the Catholic church in that they prohibited us from speaking the Arawak language, we were taught to speak only the English language hence we lost the Arawak language and we lost the Spanish language which was traditionally our language. There are still many people that talk the language, it is in bibles, it can be found in Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname and many Parts of Venezuela. It is not a dying language but we hope maybe somewhere from the outer world we can receive some help, to help us maintain that language, it is the language that God gave us and we want to keep it that way.

In the late 70's and early 80's due to political persecution and hardships in Guyana we crossed the frontier to our neighbouring country Venezuela. We settled in a village called Attamattapui[?] and we formed an Arawak association because we had no land and without land we had no future. The government has been so wonderful here in granting us citizenship and giving us land that is over 8000 hectares. This little village here that is growing, to us is like a plant that had been planted yesterday, we hope it will bear fruit in the near future.

We have wonderful children, probably some of the most beautiful children in the world and we intend to keep it that way. Avoiding drugs, avoiding alcohol and using sports as the main theme to keep the children that way."

Read Daniel Transcript from Video - Part 2

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