Guyana: St. Cuthbert’s Mission to be renamed ‘Pakuri’

Guyana: St. Cuthbert’s Mission to be renamed ‘Pakuri’

President David Granger being welcomed by Lennox Shuman, Toshao of Pakuri village

Hundreds of locals and foreigners on Saturday, gathered at Pakuri, better known as St. Cuthberts Mission to celebrate the annual ‘Heritage Village Day’.

At the weekend celebration, Toshao Lennox Shuman in his opening remarks reflected on the history of the Indigenous people, and expressed gratitude to his ancestors.    

“I know there are some of us sitting here thinking why we are here? Why are we recognising indigenous peoples? …But I also put that blame on the shoulders of my ancestors. Had they not greeted Christopher Columbus in 1492 on the shores, then all of us, we would not have this kind of diversity we have in Guyana,” Shuman said.

The Toshao also extended gratitude to President David Granger for the promise of a village name change.
“I extend a sincere appreciation on behalf of the community for giving us the assurance that our application for a village name change will be processed… It is through these things that we look to maintain our rich cultural heritage, our tradition.”

Toshao Shuman, in an exclusive interview, explained that Missionaries changed the name of the village under the ruling of the Queen.

“About a hundred and twenty-eight years ago, the missionaries landed here, and they proclaimed in the name of the majesty that this should forever be known as St. Cuthbert’s Mission. But before that it was ‘Pakuri’. It has always been ‘Pakuri’. What we are trying to do, is to go back to that.”

President Granger in his feature address stated that he has approved the move to rename St. Cuthbert’s mission village, ‘Pakuri’. “It is always a pleasure to come here and I am very glad the community has taken the initiative to engage in what I call an exercise of authentication.
That is to restore the authentic name of this community to Pakuri.”

The President described the move as a valid one, “I think this exercise in authentication is a correct move, and particularly because Pakuri is a special community. Of the nine Amerindian nations in Guyana, the Lokono or the Arawaks are the largest.”

National Toshaos Council Chairman, Joel Fredericks, was enthusiastic to be involved in the celebration, as he felt it served as a bridge between the old and new generations.
“Our culture needs to be shared with the younger generation.

There is a gap of this knowledge passing on to the younger generation. And you cannot change who you are. So don’t try to imitate someone who you are not. We are indigenous people and we are the first people of Guyana.”

The all-day event saw a host of presentations from the Toshao Shuman, the Regional Democratic Council of Region Four, Parliamentary Opposition, and a number of cultural performances from Pakurians and visitors.

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