Congratulations to Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) and de @GullahGeechee Famlee! Tenki Tenki ta Beaufort County, SC! Beaufort County was the first to proclaim “Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week 2020” in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.
Given that the native founded and operated organizations and institutions were established to insure that their culture is accurate represented and presented, they continue to carry out their missions in spite of the opposition and lack of support that they receive from the new organizations that came into being after them. These native Gullah/Geechee organizations and institutions are the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, Gullah/Geechee Angel Network. Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Committee of Northeast Florida, and Geechee Kunda.
“As Rita Mae Brown put it ‘Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.’ A Gullah/Geechee proverb says: ‘Ef hunnuh ain kno whey hunnuh dey frum, hunnuh ain gwine kno whey hunnuh gwine.’ ‘Absolutely nothing is so important for a nation’s culture as its language.’
On April 1, 1999, Marquetta L. Goodwine whose roots stem from St. Helena, Polowana, and Dataw Islands in Beaufort County, SC sat down before the world in Genéva, Switzerland. She became the first Gullah/Geechee to speak before the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She had no idea that when the clock on the wall stopped at zero that a clock that would be ticking to alter the trajectory of her life would begin running. She has been running in syncopation with it ever since.
“We Journey” and “Gwine Home” are both Gullah/Geechee family sagas set on the Sea Islands. Youths in both books learn their culture and their family stories from the elders in their families while also alerting their family members to the environmental changes happening around them. From battling climate change and sea level rise to hurricanes and destructionment, these two novels bring out how native Gullah/Geechees that are holding onto their land come together to face these issues that continue to encroach on the sustainability of the Gullah/Geechee Nation.
De “#GullahGeechee2020: Seeing Gullah/Geechee Culcha Clearly” celebration will not only consist of on Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day. This year there will be a Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day at the Gullah Museum of Georgetown, SC in celebration of Black History Month and there will be a Gullah/Geechee Famlee Weekend on Jekyll Island, GA.
ueen Quet, Chieftess, Elder Carlie Towne, Minister of Information, Dr. Najmah Thomas, and Dr. Jessica Berry of the Gullah/Geechee Nation opened the “Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Conference” with a session entitled “Historical Effects of Migration on Gullah/Geechee Cultural Continuation.”
The Gullah/Geechee community that has been self-sufficient and resilient in this area since the 1600s is now faced with an on-slaught of challenges to the continuation of their culture on their own land which has been passed down since the US Civil War. They are not only dealing with issues of economic inequity, but also environmental injustice which has and continues to cause displacement of Gullah/Geechee from the southeastern coast. For those that remain there, they are literally on the front shoreline of climate change and sea level rise.
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation who was homegrown on historic St. Helena and Polowana Islands, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation has embarked on her annual world tour themed “Healin’ de Land.”
Those tides are now called “king tides” throughout the Gullah/Geechee Nation and that king has dethrowned cotton. Aaah, but this king now has an elected Queen that is facing him and the other members of his climate changing and environmentally impacting family head on-Queen Quet!
When I started out doing this work over almost 4 decades ago, no one else used the term “Gullah/Geechee” and now it is a hashtag unto itself. I was led to put the two words together in order to unify my people who had been separated by those that truly sought to destroy our spirits and exploit our abilities in the process. The fortunate reality is that there are people around the world that now know of the existence of #GullahGeechee history, heritage, and culture. However, the unfortunate thing is that due to the saturation of the entertainment and tourist markets with storytelling and misleading representations via museums, replicated sites, non-Gullah/Geechee operated events, tourism agencies, and now even museums that seek to exploit grant money, the work that the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition and the leaders of the Gullah/Geechee Nation are doing has become that much more difficult.
Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week 2015 will be celebrated throughout the South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida portions of the Gullah/Geechee Nation’s coast July 25-August 2, 2015. Queen Quet states, “We gwine tru de coast fa keep de culcha!” The week will be a journey into the living traditions of native Gullah/Geechees as those that want to learn about this unique indigenous national linguistic and ethnic minority take Gullah/Geechee owned and operated tours to Gullah/Geechee businesses and historic sites .Everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the events that are highlights of this nine days of activities which will honor the lives and legacies of the Emanuel 9.
This July 2nd I see all of this and I see that GOD has shown me to continue to do the work to which and for which I am called because there is somebody somewhere to whom this work makes a difference and whose life will be better because they can truly be free because Denmark Vesey, Patrice Lumumba, Clementa C. Pinckney and I took this journey.
In the wake of the recent tragedy during which the Gullah/Geechee Nation lost nine of its citizens during what has been deemed the “Charleston Massacre,” they continue to walk on with the pride and dignity of their ancestors as they come out of a period of mourning into a time of celebration. What would be an annual time to celebrate Gullah/Geechee traditions and culture is now also a time to celebrate the lives of the Emanuel 9. The Gullah/Geechee Nation will have a series of events that will take place during the month of July in order to honor the legacies of these nine souls and to bring the Gullah/Geechee family together on the coast from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL.
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) took the time to do an anniversary episode of “Gullah/Geechee Riddim Radio” to detail her journey becoming the first Gullah/Geechee in world history to speak before the United Nations on behalf of Gullah/Geechees.
The land is our family and the waterways are our bloodline in the Gullah/Geechee Nation. So, as I take a stand for the land, I am taking a stand for my ancestors, my kinspeople, and for the children yet to be born. • Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation
The podcast, Public Concern featured a talk about the latest on United States voting with Lynn Teague of League of Women Voters and then turned the focus to a dialogue with Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com), and Juliana Smith, with South Carolina Coastal Conservation League which is a member of the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank. Tune in here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/986605/4854692
Tune in for the eleventh episode of Zooming in on Sustainability” for a dialogue between Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Dr. Melissa Hargrove of the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank. They will discuss “Dismantling Racism.” Learn the dynamics of how race was constructed. Anything constructed can be deconstructed.
Jayn de @GullahGeechee Famlee fa de lass ednin of @GullahGeechee Nation Appreciation Week 2020! Git hunnuh ticket fa de “Gullah/Geechee Mind fa Freedum” Part 1 documentary screenin and discussion. Queen Quet, Chieftess of de Gullah/Geechee Nation gwine crak e teet bout disya documentary series and de #GullahGeechee legacy!
While the Gullah/Geechee Diaspora is broad, the Gullah/Geechee Nation is the political, cultural and spiritual home of the Gullah/Geechees today–and it faces an uncertain future due to overdevelopment, sea level rise, and worsening storms.
Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine is Chieftess and Head of State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation and the Founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition. She has been working to keep Gullah/Geechee culture, language, and traditions alive while also fighting for human rights and self-determination for her people.
It was on the shores of American Beach that the “Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Committee of Northeast Florida” held its first, “Worship by the Sea.” Since then, numerous cultural heritage activities have been hosted by the first organization to ever exist in the state of Florida bearing the name “Gullah/Geechee.”
Tune in to Episode 10 of Zooming in on Sustainability as Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) dialogues with Gullah/Geechee Assembly of Representatives members about “Enfranchising de Gullah/Geechee.” The show will broadcast live on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 3 pm during “Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week.”
As an organizer of grassroots activism, I have witnessed how a grassroots movement gets something going and how those that do not want to do the hard work, sit safely away from the issue, but once they think that this issue is now one of financial benefit or media attention, they position themselves to walk in for the harvest. GOD repeated to me, “I am in the grassroots.”
Queen Quet has continued to focus on the continuation of Gullah/Geechee land ownership. To that end, she has spoken out and written about the tremendous land and cultural loss on Hilton Head Island for decades. The one time that Queen Quet was invited to received the proclamation in person from the town, they also announced a “Gullah/Geechee Task Force” that would be formed. Yet, since it has been formed signs of “Historic Gullah Neighborhoods” have gone up and native Gullah/Geechee families (which do not appear to be truly represented on this task force) continue to be displaced. In fact, the Town of Hilton Head is widening Highway 278 again which will displace and disrupt the lives of more people just as the lengthening of the runway to the airport will displace historic spiritual centers of the Gullah/Geechee community.
We pray that not only those that are now living on Hilton Head Island and throughout the world fully participate in all 20 of the activities, but that Hilton Head Island becomes a place that changes the trajectory of its story and truly begins to revive and celebrate the Gullah/Geechee legacy and not simply museumize it. E time fa de Gullah/Geechee fa hab equity includin whey de gated areas and resorts be! So, the celebration is a beginning, but let’s get to living together respectfully without gates and with equality. When there is equity, equality, and respect, no gates of separation are necessary and everyone can live in freedom without anyone being left on the plantation. Win da dey git ya, e gwine be a shoutin and drum soundin celebration!