Gullah/Geechee Nation: Emancipation and Self-Determination
On July 2nd, the Gullah/Geechee Nation commemorated 13 years of self-determination and celebrated the anniversary of electing and enstooling their first Chieftess and Head-of-State, native St. Helena Islander, Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine. Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation
) has been honored with a gold leaf which is given to international dignitaries by the Mayor of Denver, Colorado and with the Living Legacy Award by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Washington, DC this year. These honors were added to the Jefferson Award for Public Service that she received regionally and was honored nationally for years ago and to the annual “Queen Quet Week” celebrated in April to encompass the numerous Queen Quet Days that she has around the United States. August 4th in Brunswick, GA and August 5th in New Orleans, LA are both “Queen Quet Days” which Queen Quet will celebrate at home this year as she participates in the “Gullah/Geechee Reunion Day” on historic St. Helena Island, SC at the St. Helena Branch Library on Saturday, August 3, 2013. She looks forward to Gullah/Geechees coming together on that day to not only celebrate the continued self-determination of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, but also the 150 year commemoration of when the Emancipation Proclamation was first read on this island.
The “Gullah/Geechee Reunion Day” has been celebrated for a decade. It began on Sullivan’s Island where the Gullah/Geechee Nation
first was birthed. This island is where over 40% of all Africans enslaved in north America came through. It is at this site that Queen Quet was enstooled and her 1 year long election was confirmed before an international body of people and press in 2000. (http://gullahgeecheenation.com/2013/07/02/the-rise-of-the-gullahgeechee-nation-by-queen-quet-chieftess-of-the-gullahgeechee-nation/
) The “Gullah/Geechee Reunion” has become the Saturday of the “Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival™
) in order to allow the Gullah/Geechee Diaspora to come together at different locations that are a part of their unique historic legacy. Each year international dignitaries join the Gullah/Geechee family in this celebration and this year Queen Quet and the Wisdom Circle Council of Elders expect a special Igbo delegation from Nigeria to be with them as they give tribute to their ancestors which include those that were said to have “walked back to Africa” from Igbo Landing in coastal Georgia rather than being enslaved.
Queen Quet has continued to be a visionary leader as has been evidenced by the numerous accolades that she continues to receive. However, she truly takes pride in the celebration of “Emancipation een de Gullah/Geechee Nation” which is the theme of this year’s “Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival™”
) which will be taking place on her home island. St. Helena Island, SC has been a place in which the spirit of Gullah/Geechee self-determination has lived since the first African people were placed their during chattel enslavement. These Gullah/Geechees became the first group of African people in North America to own land in mass during the United States Civil War. It is on these very lands that the celebration of emancipation and self-determination continues.
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- Tagged: culture, emancipation, Geechee, Gullah, Gullah/Geechee cultural heritage, Gullah/Geechee Nation, Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival, Gullah/Geechee Reunion, heritage, Queen Quet, SC, Sea Islands, self-determination, St. Helena Island, Sullivan's Island, traditions