Salone News

The Temnes of Carriacou, Grenada

30 August 2016 at 00:49 | 16982 views

By Amadu Massallay, USA.

A small group of people on the island of Carriacou (photo) in the Caribbean nation of Grenada still identify with the Temne ethnic group of Sierra Leone. They still call themselves “Temnes,” and they celebrate their heritage with a Temne song, dance, and drum routine handed down for centuries. Several times a year they proudly display these vestiges of their African past as part of a dramatic traditional performance called the “Big Drum Dance.”

Sierra Leone Temnes and Carriacou Temnes will come together at an historic Reunion in Carriacou between September 27th and 30th. The Grenadian Government and the Carriacou community will welcome their African guests and share the history and culture that bind this family together despite the vast space and time that have separated them. To our knowledge, this Temne Reunion is unique. As far as we know, no family re-connection quite this specific has ever happened in the Caribbean before.

Sierra Leonean dignitaries may also attend the Reunion, including ambassadors, cabinet ministers, paramount chiefs, and possibly even Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma. President Koroma speaks Temne and hails from the part of Sierra Leone where the Temne people predominate.

This “Reunion” is only possible because a tiny community on a small island in the West Indies has preserved the memory of its African roots and elements of its African culture for more than 250 years.