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Native Cuba




A Tour - Conference
January 5 -12, 2001

Theme: Cuba: "Music, Plants and Healing"
Sponsors: The Foundation for Nature and Humanity and IWT/Plenty Canada
Santiago, Guantanamo, Baracoa, Cuba

"The Indigenous Legacies of the Caribbean Conference is set for January 5 -12, 2001. We have a great set of events planned around music, healing arts and indigenous realities. It is important that everyone planning to attend register now." -- Dr. Jose Barreiro

Music, Plants and Healing

An encounter with the origins of Cuban music, its uses in healing ceremonies with plants and other natural medicines and its foundation in the use of the land, this January, 2001 tour is an excellent opportunity to understand the genesis of Cuban culture, while enjoying the charm and hospitality of eastern Cuba, its forests and coasts, its people. From the Taino areito to the changiil' of the mountain guajiro, this seven-day tour/conference traverses through the mountains and coasts of eastern Cuba, the fabled "Oriente," to study with herbalists and other medical practitioners in Cuba's health care system and to hear and experience the rhythms of the most autochthonous instrumental musicians and vocalists on the island. Participants will meet and share with Native peoples of Cuba, the Caribbean and elsewhere. They will visit Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo and Baracoa.

This area is rich in history, from the time and travels of Columbus, to the time of Jose Marti and Antonio Maceo (1890s) to the time of Fidel Castro and his revolution. The conference logs considerable time among the folks, local "friends of Legacies" families that often offer informal hosting to participants.

The featured theme of the 2001 Indigenous Legacies of the Caribbean encounter is, "Cuba: Music, Plants and Healing." Hosted by the prestigious Foundation for Nature and Humanity, in Cuba, and organized internationally by Indigenous World Tours for Plenty Canada, a Canadian First Nations NGO, the tour's conference sessions regularly feature important scholars and arts personalities. Music, medicinal plants and healing as a theme among other indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and Circum-Caribbean, and of the Americas generally will frame the topics discussed by presenters. Caribbean indigenous people, Canadian Native people, as well as scholars, researchers, students and writers will attend the conference, to be hosted in Baracoa, Cuba, January, 2001. This will be the fifth annual cultural encounter under the theme of Indigenous legacies of the Caribbean. 

Cuba's small but active Native population, along with the broader peasantry, sustain many natural ways, particularly knowledge of medicinal plants and of planting systems. As mountain folk, they are also repositories of the oldest of Cuba's musical traditions. They will be among the featured hosts, speakers and musicians at the January gathering. The ethnogenesis of Cuban culture in its natural and musical adaptations, and particularly the music of healing will be discussed, as subjects connected to natural elements in the eastern ranges. The mountain folk culture of Cuba is refreshingly accessible and involving. Its music reflects this engaging quality. 

This gathering, programmed for early January, 2001, in Baracoa, Cuba, respects Cuban national policies supporting ecological, scientific and cultural exchanges as a way to protect its bio-diversity and cultural uniqueness. Traditional dances, outings to the Toa River Valley and local beaches and comprehensive cultural/historical information and context are the hallmark of this annual event, which is relaxed but regularly attended by a cross-section of scholars and afficionados from a dozen countries.

The "Legacies" conference is contextualized in the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Peoples, 1994-2003. This is a global process within which Cuban international policy has been supportive of the cultures of indigenous peoples. The thematic of the event focuses as well on the correlation of indigenous cultures with the protection of nature and sustainable development, international language that emerges from the Summit Conference of Rio de Janeiro, 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and particularly in the elaboration of the Agenda 21, a central planning document for the next century. Cuba is exemplary in this context as the first country to implement a state policy of sustainable agriculture, which is rooted, in good measure, in the indigenous legacy of the conuco (raised beds agriculture), the widespread use of medicinal plants and the protection of nature. The conference features substantial material on this topic, by scholars as well as natural healers.

"Cuba: Music, Plants and Healing," features blends of evenings with Cuban musicians and herbalists in Santiago, Guantanamo and Baracoa, in conjunction with roundtables and papers presented by Cuban and international scholars. The mountain "sones" (sounds) of Cuba are still alive in the sierra communities surrounding the beautiful coastal town of Baracoa, ancient Taino village and site of the earliest Spanish settlement in Cuba. For instance, the cross at the local church was left in Baracoa by Christopher Columbus himself. Grassroots musicians, mountain guajiros and town folk will join the conference group and put up bembe's, guaguanco', changiii, nengo'nquiriba' and other popular and ceremonial dances to involve participants in a comprehensive experience of the spiritual, historical and social heart of Cuba. 

Baracoa, First City of Cuba, offers a rich field of scientific, historical and cultural study. It possesses one of the most fecund areas of bio-diversity in the country, including a rich forest, and the watershed of the Toa River, the most voluminous in Cuba, with its invaluable reserve of endemic fauna and flora. All of the above characteristics give this event a peculiar importance for the development of a scientific, ecological and cultural movement in Cuba and the Caribbean.


In Cuba: Antonio Nufiez Jimenez Foundation for Nature and Man

In Canada: Indigenous World Tours/Plenty Canada


Dr. Jose' Barreiro


--Round trip Flights, Toronto-Santiago-Toronto

--Hotel Accommodations

--Two daily meals

--In-country transportation


--Conference curricula

--Cultural interpretation

PRICE: U.S. $1,400.00

Limited space available: Register NOW.

Final Call: Full payment by November 1, 2000=$1400


Tim Johnson
Indigenous World Tours


Indigenous World Tours
P.O. Box 475
Ohsweken, Ontario,
Canada, NOA 1MO


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