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Our identity

Published: Sep 18, 2013

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Dear Editor,

How many Bahamians know which tribe their ancestors are possibly from, or which form of religion their ancestors may have practiced? (No, it wasn’t Christianity.)

Chinese, Indians, Native Americas and even South Americans (Mayans) and many others have such a rich and long history to draw from – much of it predates biblical history – in terms of who they are and where they came from. This provides a psychological foundation that most Bahamians could never relate to – a sense of self.

By the age of five most Bahamian children can recite scripture after scripture and know most of the biblical characters and overall story of the Bible. On the other hand, most Bahamian adults know very little to nothing about their African heritage and history and the journey their forefathers endured. This is deceivingly unhealthy for a people.

Somewhere along the line our history was erased and conveniently replaced with Biblical history. I think many of us know when this happened and the motives surrounding the move. The best way to enslave a people for long periods of time is to remove their sense of self. Remove the things that make them who they are. It appears that ever since the Bible was literally forced in the hands of our forefathers we never looked back.

Understandably so, our forefathers had to assimilate as a form of survival. Denying the slave master’s god and religion could have easily ended in death or other torturous punishment.

But 180 years after the abolition of slavery, and after 40 years of self-governance, why are we not learning about our true history as a people?

Why are we not teaching the younger generations in particular about their colorful and powerful past?

While biblical history and scripture may have their place, they are not replacements for one’s true history.

When will we begin to teach the five year olds who they really are and where they really came from?

– Farrell Goff

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