African Diaspora In The New Wo Essay — страница 2

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enough associational time to form viable communities, that they maintainedstrong family structures and that they exercised a large degree of control in the raising their own children. An example for the argument of significant retention of Africanisms could be that of the Maroon communities in Surinam. In thefilm I Shall Molder Before I am Taken, we saw examples of African descendants separated from European masters, living largely isolated in the Jungle in a similar manner to that of their ancestors. The community was strikingly similar to the Asante communities described in the film Atumpan . There was much ceremonial detail in addressing the chief or headman of the village. Just as with the Asante, citizens and visitors had to address the headman through an interpreter.

Leadership was also determined through matrilineal lines as in Akan societies of Ghana. In felling a tree, the Saramaka would explain to the spirits how the tree was necessary for their survival and would be used wisely. They concluded by thanking the spirits and the forestfor the tree and leaving an offering for its taking. The Saramaka also used mediums such as song, dance and stories to recreate and teach important elements of their history and culture. All of these practices can be almost directly traced to their previous African societies. Still, the Saramaka Maroons lend sufficient proof to the argument of cultural transformation. Even after hundreds of years ofisolation in the jungle, the Saramaka showed significant examples of cultural adaptation and borrowing. As

witnessed in the Price Literature and Film, “everything from botanical medicines to basketry and fishing techniques was learned from the Native Americans” (Jason & Kirschensteiner 9). Inquiring about the plants used by the medicine man to treat tendinitus, Price found that much of the treatment of disease and knowledge of medical plants was learned through Indians. The Maroon Creole language, consisting of a mixture of English, Portuguese, Dutch and African languages, is also symbolic of the cultural transformation that had taken place. Colonial Louisiana also provided opportunities for viable African maroon communities. The geographic environment of Louisiana with its bayous, thick swamps and intricate river system, contributed to the ability of Africans to evade capture

and move about with relative freedom. Gwendolyn Hall depicts how Africans created a network of “secret” communities in the cypress swamps surrounding plantations. These Maroons would hide out “for weeks, months and even years on or behind their master’s estates without being detected or apprehended” (Hall 203). Hall describes the creolization of Africans and Europeans in Colonial Louisiana: “Conditions prevailing…molded a Creole or Afro-American slave culture through the process of blendingand adaptation of slave materials brought by the slaves…” (159). Lower mortality rates among slaves, levels of freedom gained through escape and survival in the swamps and a relatively small white population led Hall to characterize Louisiana as creating “the most

Africanized slave culture in the Untied States” (161). Creole culture came out of a consolidation of African, European and Native American cultures. The dominance of African linguistic and cultural patterns made this culture predominately an Afro-Creole culture. Providing compelling evidence for the argument of transformations of African culture is the study of slave life in Colonial South Carolina. Africans contributed tremendously to the successful settlement of the Colony and adapted and retained elements of their roots into unique African American communities. These communities included unique family and religious structures. Before the Stono Rebellion of 1739, slaves were allowed a considerable amount of freedom to associate among themselves. They were also encouraged to

have families and allowed to exercise a large degree of autonomy in raising their children. As noted by Peter Wood, slave families; similar to African families, would serve an important function in passing down cultural heritage to the young. In accordance with African tradition, South Carolina slaves relied on folk tales as the primary vehicle for education of young. Slaves modified these tales to fit their situation and environment in South Carolina. The traditional”trickster”, recurrent in West African folk tales, was replaced by the rabbit. In religious worship Africans adapted old traditions to their new situation. Many slaves in Colonial South Carolina became Christians. This was not done without adding elements of their previous beliefs systems. “Africans in Colonial