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PM praises First Peoples legacy
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has praised the contribution of T&T First Peoples, saying the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community has done much to ensure their historical legacy is preserved and that they continue to be relevant to the country’s cultural landscape.
He also congratulated Santa Rosa Queen Jennifer Cassar, Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez and the members of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community for their ongoing work to sensitise T&T about the role and contributions of the community.
“Recognition is also due to them for educating the young members of the First Peoples community in the history and ways of their ancestors. It is a history of which we can all be proud.
“Today – a national holiday – I proudly stand with the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to recognise and celebrate the first inhabitants of our beloved nation,” Rowley said.
He said while it has been established that the history of the Americas and the Caribbean was punctuated with violence, confrontation and subjugation, it is also a history of courage, bravery, resistance and an enduring aspiration to preserve traditions through which the country has derived its identity.
“In T&T the indigenous Amerindian populations were the first to suffer the onslaught of European colonisers. Demoralised, disillusioned but never defeated, our First Peoples, largely recognised through the Arima-based Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, have continuously strived to preserve and revitalise their Amerindian history and traditions,” he said.
Rowley said many have participated in the First Peoples Community Annual Santa Rosa Festival, in honour of the community’s patron saint and during National Patriotism Month 2017, heritage tours are organised to local sites dedicated to preserving the legacy of the First Peoples.
“So much of Caribbean history and the history of T&T has been lost or distorted that it is immediately necessary for us as citizens of T&T to research, hold on to and share our stories with one another and with the world.
“We, in Trinidad and Tobago, are a people of diverse origins. We have weathered many storms and together we will continue to draw on the strength of our ancestors to build a strong and resilient nation,” Rowley said.