West Africans in Latin America

Garifunas, decedents of Caribbean, Arawak, and West Africans, live on the Carribean Coasts of Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. Outside of Central America, New York has the largest Garifuna population.

The Garifuna people, or the Garinigu (plural form), speak multiple languages including Garifuna, Spanish, Kriol, and English as well. The Garifuna language comes primarily from a mix of Arawak and Carib. Bits of English, Spanish, and even French are part of their vocabulary.

Their popultaion is roughly 600,000 and is represented by their own flag, consisting of yellow, white, and black. Yellow represents hope and liberation. White represents peace and freedom. Black represents death and suffering. The majority of the Garifuna are Roman Catholic and a shaman is the head of all of the traditional practices.

The most famous form of Garifuna music is that of punta. Punta is difficult to describe, yet easy to fall in love with. It is full of so much energy and joy.

Check out these videos of the punta music and dance:

Punta Music

History of the Music and Dance/Honduras Garifuna


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