Garifuna - Settlements



In aboriginal and early contact times, settlements were on the windward sides of the various islands, whereas gardens were inland on more fertile soil. The earliest houses were circular, and each was inhabited by a woman, her unmarried daughters, and her small sons. Teenage boys and men spent most of their time in centrally located communal houses, where they ate; slept; debated political decisions; made and repaired weapons, tools and utensils; and entertained guests. In Central America they have repeated this settlement pattern, except that they have favored locations close to European settlements and enterprises in which the men could find wage labor and the women could sell their agricultural produce. Today they live in some sixty settlements on the coastline between Gracias a Dios in Nicaragua and Dangriga, Belize. Some of these still harbor only Garifuna, but others are multiethnic towns and cities. In the United States the Garifuna do not necessarily cluster in the same city neighborhoods, although they remain in close contact with their fellows, especially Garifuna coming from the same country.

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