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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Last Updated Wednesday, December 31, 1969

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Gullah Geechee People, Maroons & Seminoles to Reunite in Florida August 19 -22
By Audrey Peterman

FT. LAUDERDALE - On Saturday, August 21, South Floridians will have the opportunity to experience an authentic Black culture that can be traced directly back to the enslavement of Africans from the West Coast of Africa. Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah Geechee Nation, and a contingent of Elders from the Gullah Geechee Wisdom Circle; fishermen; cast net and basketmakers; musicians; historians and artists will convene for a great reunion with Africans from the diaspora and our Seminole and Miccosukee brethren.

The African American Research Library and Cultural Centered, located in the Rev. Samuel Delevoe Jr. Park, along the banks of the North Fork of the New River, is the venue for the celebration of this historic event.

“We are the living link to Africa on this side of the Middle Passage, “affirms Queen Quet.
The event is part of the Gullah/Geechee Seminole Maroon Reunion, which begins with a bus tour leaving Thursday, August 19, from St. Helena Island, SC, where the Queen’s roots are. Traveling south to Fort Lauderdale, the tour will stop and pay homage at places that are significant in the black, maroon and Seminole experience, including Nassauville; American Beach, the Kingsley Plantation National Historical Site, and Fort Mose Historical State Park.

On Friday, participants will embark on the Seminole Reunion Journey, reconnecting with Seminole brethren in Hollywood. A panel discussion Saturday will provide the historic link and modern day struggles affecting Gullah Geechee, Seminoles and Maroons. Presenters will be Queen Quet; Elder Carlie Towne, Gullah Geechee Wisdom Circle Council of Elders; Dr. Rita Pratt of the African Bahamian, African American, African Caribbean Research Center of Nassau, Bahamas; and citizens of the Seminole Nation. The Reunion culminates in a cruise to Grand Bahama Island for a “full circle” reconnection hosted by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

Gullah Geechee and Seminole crafts, books, CDs and preserves will be available at Saturday’s events. The public is invited to all the activities, and are encouraged to bring drums and tambourines for the opening and closing sessions.
“Hunnuh mus tek cyare de root fa heal de tree!” Queen Quet warns, in traditional language. (You must take care of the root if you’re going to heal the tree.) The Gullah Geechee Seminole Reunion will be an extravaganza in returning to the roots of indigenous culture, in which people live close to the land and are healed by it. If ever there has been a time when we need that wisdom, it is now.

Seats are available on Friday’s bus tour from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, and there are still openings for participants to go on the cruise to the Bahamas. For more information, please
go to www.gullahgeechee.info or e-mail GullGeeCo@aol.com.

(Audrey Peterman is an environmentalist and writer who focuses on the legacy of people of color in America’s publicly-owned lands system.)


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