FLASHBACK – First Peoples Chief, Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez (2nd from left), with members of the Suriname First Peoples delegation, go through their rituals during the Carib Santa Rosa First Peoples Community’s Remembering the Ancestors Water Ceremony, at the Lopinot River, back in October 2018. (Image: EDISON BOODOOSINGH)

This year’s observances of the First Peoples Day of Recognition and Heritage Week of Activities is expected to include a virtual symposium and the screening of a documentary on the First Peoples.

Confirmation has come from Chief of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, Ricardo Bharath Hernandez, who notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on planned activities.

“Due to COVID-19 Restrictions in terms of limited numbers, the Community is unable to do major public events as observed in the past,” he explains in an official news release.

First Peoples Heritage Week will be observed between Friday 9 and Wednesday 14 October 2020.  The Theme for this year’s activities is “Our First Peoples – Leading us Toward Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Communities”.

FLASHBACK – The First Peoples observe the Water Ritual at Lopinot, during their Heritage Week of Activities, back in October 2018. (Image: EDISON BOODOOSINGH)

This year marks the 20th year the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community will be having celebrations.

“The Day of Recognition was granted in 2000,” Chief Bharath-Hernandez notes. “It is not a Public Holiday as for other ethnicities, but is to bring awareness to the general population of the presence of Indigenous/First Peoples in Trinidad and Tobago.”

He adds: “The First Peoples are closely connected to Mother Earth and all the life she sustains.  Of benefit to the modern world are the Caribbean Indigenous lessons on listening to, and learning from the natural environment, revisiting our relationship with the creation, and building self-sustaining agriculture.”

In 2020, the celebration of the First Peoples Day of Recognition and Heritage Week of Activities will include:

Ritual at the Red House in homage to the AncestorsFriday 9th October
Water Ritual at the First Peoples Heritage Site, ArimaSunday 11th October
Virtual Symposium on the Theme : “Our First Peoples – Leading us Toward Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Communities”Monday 12th October
Smoke Ceremony at the Hyarima MonumentWednesday 14th October, the Day of Recognition
Documentary on the First PeoplesWednesday 14th October, the Day of Recognition