The St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance (Alliance) has organized a walking tour to the Godet burial ground on the southwest coast of St. Eustatius (the Lesser Antilles) for Thursday, Dec. 15. The burial ground is adjacent to the Waterfort, the island’s most significant and, at the same time, most neglected memorial to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Marjolijn kok, the community archaeologist of the St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance, will also be present at the site to answer questions besides Alliance member and St. Eustatius Historical Foundation president Carlos Lopes, Alliance member Derrick Simmons and president of the Alliance Kenneth Cuvalay.
The Alliance has submitted an application to UNESCO Paris to include the Godet Burial Ground and Waterfort in UNESCO’s international memorial routes of enslaved peoples. https://en.unesco.org/themes/fostering-rights-inclusion/slave-route
President Cuvalay said, “It is time for St. Eustatius to claim its rightful place in the tragic history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and realize the crimes that were committed to our people.”
As with the Golden Rock burial ground, several excavations of ancestral remains have taken place at the Godet burial ground over the years. These were often carried out by American students who came on field trips organized by the St. Eustatius Centre of Archaeological Research (SECAR). The community of St. Eustatius was never involved, and the research results were never shared with the people on the island. The site was left in a horrible condition with bones sticking out of the ground.
The walking tour aims to make the community of St. Eustatius aware that the almost invisible burial grounds of their ancestors are also part of the cultural heritage of St. Eustatius and that we must take ownership to protect and preserve it.
The Alliance is also lobbying for a grand memorial at the site, as argued on their blog last year in December: https://afrikanhistoryandconsciousness.blogspot.com/2021/12/press-release-ucf-caribbean-wants.html
Date: Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022 (Kingdom Day)
Time: 11 a.m.
Gathering location: Entrance of Salem Cemetery (Smokey Alley side), St. Eustatius
More information: https://tinyurl.com/godet