Stories from Quick Reads and Indigenous
After years of promotion and reviews of documentaries devoted to social change, the site Films for Action released a list of what they consider to be the 100 most influencial and provocative. From critiques to manistream media to the corporate world, passing through the ideas and solutions proposed in and by the majority world, this list of films present a wide view of ideas that many consider crucial to discuss.
Documentaries have an incredible power to raise awareness and create transformative changes in consciousness both at the personal and global levels […] All of the films have been selected because they are either free to watch online, or can be rented online. There are several films we would have loved to add to this list, but they currently don't have an accessible way to view them. As that changes, we'll be updating this list over time. Enjoy!
May 21 marks the National Day of Cultural and Linguistic Diverisity, and to commemorate the occasion, the Peruvian National Registrar of Identification and Civil Status (Reniec) launched the Awajun-Spanish bilingual civil registrar:
Las actas generadas de esta manera tendrán el mismo valor oficial que las actas tradicionales en castellano, y sus copias certificadas podrán obtenerse en cualquier agencia o Plataforma Virtual Multiservicios (PVM) del Reniec.
The documents thus generated will have the same official validity as the documents in Spanish, and the authenticated copies will be available in any agency or at the Virtual Multiservices Platform of Reniec.
The Awajún are an ethnic group from the Peruvian Amazon region. Their language has 70,000 Peruvian speakers in the departments of Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto and San Martín.
On Twitter, users shared remarks and pictures of this new registrar:
— RENIEC PERU (@reniecdigital) Mayo 20, 2015
RENIEC set up the online first bilingual civil registrar (Spanish – Awajun) in America.
Tengo clases de Awajún. Lo había olvidado. https://t.co/NlFQBYxXo0
— Vanessa (@LastSpica) Mayo 22, 2015
I have Awajun lessons. I had forgotten.
Nuevo Registro Civil Bilingüe Awajún tiene la innovación que sus registros, además de manuales, se realizarán en… http://t.co/5JXCOvHV2N
— Carlo Magno Salcedo (@carlomagno21) Mayo 22, 2015
New Awajun bilingual civil registrar has something new: its registers, besides being manual, will be…
International Mother Language Day was celebrated on February 21, as a commemoration of the right every nation has to keep its own language, a key element of cultural identification. In Peru, there are 47 native languages, spoken by about 4 million people.
To mark the occasion, the Office of Indigenous Language of the Vice Ministry of Interculturality of the Ministry of Culture invited Peruvians to participate in the #LanguageChallenge:
— Ministerio Cultura (@MinCulturaPe) febrero 19, 2015
It's very easy to participate in the #LanguageChallenge!!… We show you how.
The blog La Mula reported what the second edition of the Challenge of Languages was about:
Este sábado 21 de febrero se celebra el Día Internacional de la Lengua Materna y la Dirección de Lenguas Indígenas del Viceministerio de Interculturalidad ha lanzado la campaña Reto de las Lenguas (#RetoDeLasLenguas). En realidad, es un desafío creado el año pasado en las redes sociales de diversos países. Quien lo acepta debe grabar un video en una lengua indígena y retar a otra persona a que haga lo mismo. A la fecha han participado hablantes de lenguas indígenas norteamericanas y europeas, pero aún es poca la participación de lenguas sudamericanas.
On Saturday, February 21, we celebrate International Mother Language Day and the Office of Indigenous Language of the Vice Ministry of Interculturality [of the Ministry of Culture] has launched the campaign the Language Challenge. It's really a challenge created last year on social networks from various countries. If you accept it, you have to record a video in an indigenous language and challenge another person to do the same thing. Until now, indigenous speakers from many North American and European communities have taken part, but we still have a small participation of South American languages.
On Twitter, various users rose to the challenge, such as Quechua speakers Qorich'aska Qespi Puma and Jorge Alejandro Vargas:
— Cusco en Positivo (@CuscoenPositivo) febrero 20, 2015
Excellent video from #Retodelaslenguas by Qorich'aska Qespi Puma and Jorge Alejandro Vargas. Now, let's hope that…
This video shows Culina, spoken in Peru and Brazil Amazon regions:
— Jorge Vargas Prado (@jorgicha) February 20, 2015
Another Language Challenge from Peru! The so-sexy Nehemías Pino speaking Culina! We have 47 languages!
There is even a video with sign language:
— Susana Stiglich (@sustiwa) febrero 20, 2015
Message in Peruvian sign language for the Language Challenge, I challenge linguistic models from C. Beethoven.
Another video from Cusco:
A video from abroad by a speaker and academic of Shawi, an Amazonian language:
To follow the challenge, which is still going on, follow the hashtag #Retodelaslenguas on Twitter.
Indigenous People, Afro-Colombians and Peasants Unite Against Illegal Mining in River Ovejas, Colombia
Despite threats, indigenous people from the Laguna Siberia, members from five different areas within the ancestral territory of Sat Tama Kiwe de Caldono, Afro-descendents from the La Toma Community Council and resident campesinos in the surrounding areas joined together to protest against illegal mining in the area of Río Ovejas in the north of Cauca. The demonstration began on Friday, 13 February and lasted for three days.
Natalio Pinto, one of the participants, told Global Voices that participation was something of a stress test:
El recorrido se hizo al borde del río, abriendo trocha y cruzando las montañas, fueron 3 días de jornada, casi 30 horas.
The route followed the river, opening trails and crossing the mountains. It lasted three full days, nearly 30 hours.
With regards to the protest's goals, she added:
El tercer día del encuentro se dio una asamblea en la cual participaron los indígenas de La Laguna Siberia, Territorio ancestral Sa’th Tama Kiwe, el Consejo Comunitario Afro La Toma, así como campesinos que viven en zonas cercanas y representantes de otros consejos comunitarios afros y cabildos indígenas. La idea es formar un frente común en defensa del territorio y en contra de la minería ilegal y multinacional que amenaza el río Ovejas. La jornada sirvió también para solidarizarse con las compañeras que participaron en “la marcha de los turbantes” en noviembre/diciembre pasado. La marcha de los turbantes llevó a mujeres del Consejo Comunitario Afro La Toma caminando desde el Cauca hasta Bogotá para pedirle al Estado una respuesta efectiva contra la minería ilegal en el río Ovejas. A raíz de esto amenazaron a varias lideresas de la comunidad, la cuales tuvieron que salir desplazadas.
On the third day of the protest, there was a meeting in which indigenous people from the Laguna Siberia participated, alongside those from the ancestral territory of Sa’th Tama Kiwe, the Afro-Colombian Community Council from La Toma and campesinos that live in nearby areas as well as representatives from other Afro-Colombian community councils and other indigenous councils. The idea is to form a common front in defense of the land and against illegal and multinational mining that threatens the River Ovejas. The event also served to show solidarity with female colleagues that participated in the ‘march of the turbans’ in November/December last year. The march of the turbans involved women from the Afro-Colombian Community Council in La Toma walking from Cauca to Bogota in order to request an effective response from the State regarding illegal mining in River Ovejas. As a result of this, various female leaders were threatened and furthermore had to leave displaced.
Images have circulated on Twitter:
Indigenous community from Caldono protest against illegal mining in favor of the River Ovejas.
In other areas support of the fight against mining was also heard:
Acabo de llegar de una minga en el norte del Cauca; aprendí más sobre el río Ovejas. Ahora grito y gritaré más fuerte:¡No a la mega minería! — paola ochoa rivera (@visosvioleta) febrero 16, 2015
I've just left the protest in the north of Cauca; I learned a lot about the River Ovejas. Now I shout and I will shout even louder: No to mega mining!
Twitter users tweeted in solidarity:
“UNIDAD indígenas/campesinos/afros!! “Minga en defensa del territorio, del río Ovejas, porque la minería está destruyendo lo que es nuestro” — Kiwe Nasa (@KiweNasa) febrero 16, 2015
‘UNITY indigenous/campesinos/Afro-Colombians!!’ ‘Protest in defense of the River Ovejas territory because mining is destroying what is ours’
Following the case of Reina Maraz, a Bolivian Quechua who was detained in Argentina for three years without knowing why, the Court of Buenos Aires province has approved the Registry of Translators for Indigenous Languages.
According to research from the Instituto Nacional de Asuntos Indígenas (National Institute of Indigenous Affairs), during 2004-2005 it recognized the existence of 38 native people communities based on a Complementary Poll of Indigenous Communities from Argentina:
Los pueblos con mayor población a nivel nacional en orden descendente son: el pueblo Mapuche con 113.680, el pueblo Kolla con 70.505 y el pueblo Toba con 69.452 habitantes. En cuanto a los de menor población, se encuentran los pueblos Quechua con 561, los Chulupí con 553, los Sanavirón con 528, los Tapiete con 484 y por último, el pueblo Maimará con 178 habitantes.
Similar registers already exist in Peru, with its Registry of Interpreters of Indigenous and Native Languages, and Bolivia, whose General Law of Linguistic Rights and Policies outlines its main objectives as:
1. Reconocer, proteger, promover, difundir, desarrollar y regular los derechos lingüísticos individuales y colectivos de los habitantes del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.
2. Generar políticas públicas y obligaciones institucionales para su implementación, en el marco de la Constitución Política del Estado, convenios internacionales y disposiciones legales en vigencia.
3. Recuperar, vitalizar, revitalizar y desarrollar los idiomas oficiales en riesgo de extinción, estableciendo acciones para su uso en todas las instancias del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia.
The 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP20/CMP10) was held in Lima between December 1 to 12, and was chaired by the host country, Peru. During the conference, Bolivian president Evo Morales, emphatically appealed to consider climate change as a direct consequence of capitalist system and urged industrialized countries to accept the consequences of their actions:
— Noticias Indígenas (@Servindi) diciembre 9, 2014
Evo Morales urges to listen to indigenous people and to fight against capitalism during COP20.
Damián Profeta sums up the ten main points of Morales’ speech, and he highlisghts:
- ‘Hay que crear un Tribunal Internacional de Justicia Climática’ [encargada de] ‘juzgar a países que no cumplen sus compromisos y los tratados internacionales y a los que hacen mucho daño al ambiente’ […]
– ‘Que el sistema capitalista asuma su responsabilidad en el cambio climático’ […]
– ‘En la lucha contra el Cambio Climático los países del Norte nos han llevado a un terreno infecundo’ […]
– ‘El medio ambiente debe ser administrado comunitariamente porque la naturaleza misma es comunitaria’
- An International Court of Climate Justice [in charge of] judging countries that don't fulfil their obligations and international treaties and those who harm environment a lot must be implemented […]
– The capitalist systema should take responsibility on climate change […].
– In the fight against climate change, the Northern countries have taken us to a sterile ground […]
– Environment must be managed communally, as nature itself is communal
Some Twitter users answered reminding him his actions about the construction of a highway along the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS):
— Miguel Miranda (@MiguelMirandaBo) diciembre 9, 2014
Evo proposes community property to save the planet? OK, let's stop the highway across TIPNIS and individual property by coca growers.
Villa de Merlo, in the province of San Luis, was home of one of many indigenous communities that settled in the territory of what we now know as the Republic of Argentina. Wenceslao Bottaro tells us about the Theme Park Yucat Land of Comechingones, which teach us about this culture:
[el parque] es un emprendimiento familiar basado en una investigación histórica. La idea del parque es poder dar a conocer a los visitantes la historia humana de las sierras de los comechingones, rescatando la cultura, las costumbres y los saberes del pueblo comechingón, antiguos habitantes de la región del valle donde en la actualidad se asienta Villa de Merlo.
[the park] is a family undertaking base on historical research. The idea of the park is to make visitors know human history in the highlands of the Comechingones, rescuing their culture, customs and knowledge of the Comechingon people, who used to live in the region of the valley where Villa de Merlo is located today.
The park is named after Yucat, one of the caciques (chiefs), and has 18 stations that can be visited with the assistance of audio guides in Spanish and English. Thus, tourists are able to find out different historical and cultural aspects of the Comechingones’ life. Aside from learning about their culture and customs, visitors can enjoy nature and typical flora, such as carob trees, chañars, iguana Hackberry, espinillos, piquillines and molles, all part of the natural scenery there. The region also provides other leisure opportunities, such as zip-lines.
You can follow Wenceslao Bottaro on Twitter.
If we look back the history of Bangladesh, we see examples of ancient kings and land lords who sponsored cultural activities, making literature, music and art flourish in the region. In the present era, we see affluent corporations, mostly telecom companies in Bangladesh, taking their place.
They have been going the extra mile to sponsor a wide variety of cultural pursuits, including a rural festival celebrating Fakir Lalon Shah (c. 1774–1890), a popular Bengali baul saint, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and thinker, but not always with positive reception.
Zahid Islam at the blog Alal O Dulal explains how corporations are selling the Lalon culture:
In 2007 for the first time in history, Lalon Phokir’s Dol Uthshob (Lalon's Dol Festival) was held under sponsorship, with promotion campaigns so aggressive and ill designed it disgusts me to even remember it. Since then Grameenphone and Banglalink (telecom brands) took turns in sponsoring the festivals.
He also mentions that Lalon festival is getting a modern shape under corporate banner:
The first time around, those of us who had been visiting Cheuria for many years, were shocked to find the sponsorship junks.
And the need to protect their sanctity:
There are many people and organisations, home and abroad, that feel we need to “protect” the baul way of life. I do not necessarily agree with this notion. Rather I feel our intervention is what creates most of the “problems.”
The communities, characteristically living in the mountains or their fringes, have depended mostly on plants and other natural products from the forest to prevent or treat sickness. But environmental degradation and the onslaught of lowland mainstream cultures now threaten their healing traditions.
The alphabets of 24 indigenous languages were made official in Peru as a result of joint efforts by the Ministry of Education and numerous indigenous communities. The documents were adopted by consensus and will be used to help preserve and improve the use of these languages, both in their written and spoken forms.
De ese modo, los 24 alfabetos deberán ser usados por las entidades públicas cuando tengan que emitir información escrita dirigida a esos grupos étnicos, en concordancia con lo dispuesto también por la Ley 29735 que regula el uso, preservación, desarrollo, recuperación, fomento y difusión de las lenguas originarias del Perú.
De esa manera, se respeta el derecho de los niños y adolescentes a recibir educación en su lengua materna. Está comprobado que así aprenden mejor porque se sienten más motivados y porque se respeta su identidad cultural, fortaleciéndose su autoestima.
Thus, these 24 alphabets should be used by public entities every time they have to issue written information addressed to these ethnic groups, as it is established by the Law 29735, which regulates the use, preservation, development, recovery, foster and spread of the indigenous languages of Peru.
In this way, the right of children and teenagers to be educated in their own native language is respected. It's been proven that this is the way they can learn better, as they feel more motivated, their cultural identity is respected, and their self-esteem becomes stronger.
As usual, Twitter echoed the news:
Minedu oficializa alfabetos de 24 lenguas originarias a ser utilizados por todas las entidades públicas | MINEDU: http://t.co/qz57gbIW0W
— CTP Traductores Perú (@ctp_per) junio 17, 2015
Ministry of Education makes official the alphabets of 24 indigenous languages, which will be used by all public entities.
— Elbey Borrero (@MrsEBorrero) junio 17, 2015
Perú reconoce 24 alfabetos nativos.
The Nantis is one of the semi-nomadic communities that live in Peru. A part of them live in the townships in the upper Camisea river and the central area of the Timpía river. There are isolated families that live scattered in the upper Timpía river and the northern area of the National Sanctuary Megantoni in Cusco in southeastern Peru.
The Nantis are one of the two subgroups of the Matsigenka or Machiguenga people. Nanti is a name that refers to a number of families that are part of this people who call themselves Matsigenka.
In late April, a delegation from the Peruvian Ministry of Education that arrived to the area confirmed that over ten children had passed away due to whooping cough, a highly contagious disease of the airways caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Bordetella pertussis. They also confirmed there were more children infected.
Other outlets mentioned four deceased children. The website Servindi reported:
Los funcionarios del Minedu (Ministerio de Educación) que llegaron hasta el lugar con el fin de realizar un diagnóstico socioeducativo y sociolingüístico […] lo que encontraron fueron aulas con pocos alumnos y una epidemia en su grado máximo.
Estos llegaron a señalar que inclusive durante su estadía, en la comunidad de Montetoni, fallecieron dos niños más, uno llamado Isaías de 4 años y un bebe de 9 meses.
The officials of the Ministry of Education went there in order to carry out an educational and socio-linguistic diagnosis […] found out classrooms with few students and an epidemic at its highest level.
The officials noted that even while they were, in the Montetoni community, two more children died, four-year old Isaías and a nine-month old baby.
Twitter echoed the news:
Peru: crianças indígenas Nanti morrem em epidemia de coqueluche, em reserva contígua aos PN Alto Purus e Manu | http://t.co/lRJ7XPEQpP
— Cassio de Figueiredo (@casdefigueiredo) abril 30, 2015
Peru: Nanti indigenous children die due to whooping cough epidemic, in a reservation next to Upper Purús and Manu.
— Perudalia (@perudalia) abril 30, 2015
Confirmed, four children from the Nanti community have died in Cusco.
Peru: “Disease” kills four Nanti indigenous children, community in stage of first contact.
Several indigenous communities in Colombia continue to be victims of human rights violations and threats by paramilitary groups. Moreover, activists also report being attacked by public security forces and ESMAD, Colombia's mobile anti-riot squad, as exposed by Ama Pachamama in a Facebook post from March 11, 2015:
[…] A la fecha, se reportan 57 indígenas heridos, producto de agresiones directas de la Fuerza Pública; nueve heridos por artefactos no convencionales utilizados por el ESMAD; varios por arma de fuego disparada de manera directa.
La situación en la zona es denunciada como crítica, donde se informa la desaparición y posterior asesinato de dos comuneros a mediados de febrero, y que se relaciona con el actual y “continuo patrullaje de hombres armados, presuntos paramilitares en las Haciendas La Emperatriz y el Municipio de Caloto”. Y se agrava por los actos de estigmatización del alcalde de Corinto, Oscar Quintero, quien califica de manera permanente de “terroristas” a las comunidades, y por las amenazas a la vida que se dan a través de “la circulación de panfletos emitidos por grupos paramilitares – Rastrojos y Águilas Negras – anunciando limpieza social y amenazando de manera directa a organizaciones y dirigentes. Quienes tildan a la comunidad y sus dirigentes de ‘Roba tierras’.”
To date, 57 indigenous protesters have been reported injured as a result of direct attacks by security forces; nine wounded by riot police using unconventional devices; several others deliberately shot at. The situation in the area is said to be critical. In mid-February, two villagers disappeared and were later murdered—all connected to the current “continuous patrols by armed men, presumed paramilitary agents in Haciendas La Imperatriz and the town of Caloto.” And this is aggravated by acts of intimidation against the mayor of Corinto, Oscar Quintero, who has called the actions a form of permanent ‘terrorism’ as well as by the threats to the lives of residents through the “circulation of flyers put out by paramilitary groups—the Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras—warning of social cleansing and directly threatening organizations and their leaders. Who branded the community and its leaders ‘land-grabbers.'”
The Internet gave voice to the fear engendered by the Colombian paramilitary groups knowns as Águilas Negras and Rastrojos, who disseminate threatening leaflets designed to intimidate the social activists of the Cauca region. As a result, many users are condemning their actions and denouncing the situation on Twitter:
Nuevas amenazas masivas d Águilas Negras y Rastrojos en Bta y Cauca pic.twitter.com/dxAg4oEMMk
— SomosDefensores (@SomosDef) marzo 10, 2015
New massive threats by Aguilas Negras and Rastrojos in Bta and Cauca
Colombia:Paramilitares Rastrojos y Águilas Negras intimidad con” limpieza social” a indígenas que luchan por la tierra en Norte del Cauca.
— JUAN GONZALEZ (@mundoennoticias) marzo 10, 2015
Colombian paramilitary groups Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras are threatening the indigenous people fighting for land in northern Cauca with “social cleansing.”
A la fecha han circulado panfletos emitidos por grupos paramilitares (Rastrojos, y Águilas Negras),amenazando de manera directa a INDIGENAS
— Kiwe Nasa (@KiweNasa) marzo 6, 2015
Paramilitary groups (Rastrojos and Aguilas Negras) are circulating flyers that directly threaten INDIGENOUS protesters.
Águilas Negras y Rastrojos, entre los grupos ilegales que más amenazan a activistas en Colombia http://t.co/5zergEjcy5
— InSight Crime (@InSightCrime_es) febrero 25, 2015
Águilas Negras and Rastrojos, among the illegal organizations that most threaten activists in Colombia
X primera vez Águilas Negras y Rastrojos firman amenaza conjunta Líderes indígenas d Cauca son amenazados d muerte RT pic.twitter.com/kjt8wZCKng
— SomosDefensores (@SomosDef) febrero 23, 2015
For first time Aguilas Negras and Rastrojos sign joint death threat against indigenous leaders in Cauca
Wamut,aka @kriolkantri on Twitter, and blogger of ten years, shared indigenous tweets on Storify: “February 21 is International Mother Language Day and this year, Australians showed off Aboriginal and Islander languages in a spectacular way and highlighted the amazing-yet-fragile linguistic diversity found across the continent”.
— Ngukurr Language Ctr (@NgukurrLC) February 20, 2015
For more details: Tweet in Your #Motherlanguage to Celebrate Linguistic Diversity Online
Papuan Voices is a video advocacy initiative that highlights the struggles of the people of West Papua, a province of Indonesia. West Papua has been struggling to be an independent state although this conflict from Indonesia is not widely reported in the media.
Indigenous people from the Munduruku ethnic group are fighting against the construction of the São Luiz do Tapajós dam in the state of Pará, Brazil. The dam will mean the flooding of 700,000 km2 in their homeland.
The Brazilian Federal Government plans to build up to five dams in the Tapajós River, where dozens of indigenous communities live. Together with São Luiz do Tapajós, the Jatobá dam was due to begin construction in 2015, but socio-environmental difficulties may have postponed that deadline to at least 2020. The two dams will cost together US$7 billion.
The Munduruku claim they have not been consulted about the project. For years, the Munduruku people from the Sawré Maybu community, which will be directly affected by the construction of São Luiz do Tapajós dam, have pressured the federal government to demarcate their lands. The demarcation would create a legal obstacle for the continuation of the dam's project.
A documentary about the issue was produced by videomaker Nayana Fernandez.
UPDATE 09/12/2014: Together with other organizations, Nayana Fernandez has launched a crowfunding campaign to help the Munduruku pressure the government to demarcate their territory, officialize two associations, build a website and translate and dub the documentary into their native language (most Mundurku people do not speak Portuguese). Supporters can contribute with a minimum of US$10.
EarthRights International has uploaded a video about the threat posed by a mega dam construction in Laos to communities situated along the Mekong River in Cambodia. Laos and Cambodia are neighbors in the Southeast Asian region.
Without medical professionals fluent in indigenous languages or without proper interpretation services in Mexican hospitals, there is a risk that patients will not be able to adequately describe what ails them, writes Yásnaya Aguilar in her regular blog column for EstePaís. She provides examples how the Mixe language allows her to more accurately describe her pain to a nurse or doctor that can speak the same language, and how a translation into Spanish can still be somewhat limiting. She writes,
En mixe por ejemplo tengo un conjunto de palabras distinto para nombrar el dolor físico: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp… Apenas hallo equivalentes para alguna en español. Las diferencias todavía son más grandes y hay momentos en los que sólo puedo describir un dolor en español o sólo alcanzo a nombrarlo en mixe. Hablar ambas lenguas me permite tener a mi servicio un inventario más nutrido de palabras para describir mi dolor, aunque en general, cuando algo me duele mucho, el mixe toma el control de mis pensamientos.
For example, in mixe I have a group of distinct words available to me to describe physical pain: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp. I'm barely able to find the equivalent words for these words in Spanish. The differences are very large and there are times when I can only describe the pain in Spanish and there are other times when I can only describe the pain in Mixe. Being able to speak both languages allows me to have at my disposal a richer inventory of words to describe my pain, although generally, when something is causing me a lot of pain, the Mixe language takes control of my thoughts.
The universal right to health care cannot be guaranteed when the majority of hospitals have no medical practitioners that speak indigenous languages and because interpretation can only go so far since they do not have the same knowledge of the human body. And she adds that this could potentially cause misdiagnoses and without these language services, “there is no way to build bridges of empathy and to effectively understand that your ‘it hurts’ could also be the same as mine.”
The National Gallery of Jamaica is in the midst of celebrating its 40th anniversary and the gallery's blog has been sharing information about its history and accomplishments:
When the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) opened its doors on November 14, 1974 it was the English-speaking Caribbean’s first national gallery, and forty years later it is the region’s oldest and largest national art museum. […] Since 1974, the NGJ has held over one hundred and thirty exhibitions and established an encyclopaedic collection of Jamaican art. Through the process of amassing and exhibiting the art of Jamaica it has done more than preserve and display Jamaica’s artistic heritage. What the NGJ has truly excelled at is telling a story (‘the’ story, the NGJ has at times claimed) of Jamaican art, crafting the raw material of artists, artworks and anecdotes into a coherent narrative that resonates with how Jamaicans see and understand themselves in the world.