The Cacique Awards recognize individuals and organizations who positively impact the Bahamian tourism industry. The award was accepted by current festival committee chairperson, Annabelle Roberts Cross. Continue reading
Royal Bahamian Police Force Band at the Island Roots Heritage Festival, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Bahamians lost a true champion of their national history and culture with the passing of James (“Jim”) Mastin in Miami, Florida this past Sunday.
Jim was a classically trained artist, sculptor, singer and actor whose decades-long relationship with the Bahamas resulted from a chance meeting with Bahamian artist Alton Lowe in Miami in 1975.
With their shared interests in art and history, the two became fast friends and remained so for more than four decades.
In 1976, Jim assisted Alton in establishing Green Turtle Cay’s Albert Lowe Museum. The following year, he sang with the late Kayla Lockhart Edwards and the Bahamas Police Band at Island Roots Heritage Festivals held in Green Turtle Cay and Key West, celebrating the common roots of these sister cities. Continue reading
Wild horses. Candy-striped lighthouses. Sailing dinghies. Curly-tailed lizards. What do they have in common? All are iconic elements of Abaco history. And all, along with fourteen other emblems of Abaco’s past and present, are featured on a colourful, quilted wall hanging created to benefit the Albert Lowe Museum.
I always look forward to Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival, but this year, I’m even more excited than usual.
First, I love the theme: Adventure, Enterprise and Infamy. Given the cay’s quaint and relatively conservative atmosphere, it’s hard to believe that some of our Abaconian ancestors were pirates. Many were wreckers. Others made illicit fortunes as blockade runners and bootleggers. I’m really looking forward to exploring the more adventurous (and, in some cases, infamous) sides of our Abaco forefathers.
Speaking of forefathers, if you’d like to know more about yours, the Genealogy Research Center (across from the Gospel Chapel) will be open throughout the festival. It’s a cool, quiet place to research your own Abaco ancestry and get to know some of the Bahamas’ best genealogists.
And, as always, the weekend will be full of Bahamian cuisine, crafts and entertainment, including performances by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Marching Band, Julien Believe, Green Turtle Cay’s own Gully Roosters, the Sax Man, Sawyerboy and the New Entry Band. And of course, two of my favourites – the plaiting of the Maypole and Junkanoo.
Beyond all this, however, there’s another reason I’m excited about this year’s festival — for the first time, I’ll be giving a presentation as part of the festival lecture series.
Having attended lectures about Bahamian history, local conservation efforts and genealogy at past Island Roots Heritage Festivals, I’ve found them all to be interesting, entertaining and informative. The lectures are one of my favourite parts of the festival, which is why I’m so excited to be able to present one!
Entitled “Our Wrecking Ancestors: Scoundrels or Saviours?” my presentation takes place at 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 7, at the Catechist George Reckley Hall at St. Peter’s Church, across from Settlement Point.
In conducting research for the book about GTC history on which I’m currently working, I’ve developed a fascination with wrecking — arguably Green Turtle Cay’s first real industry. While some viewed wreckers as saviours, providing life-saving aid to the crews of foundering vessels, many saw them as little more than glorified pirates.
Either way, there’s no denying the vital role that wrecking played in establishing and shaping New Plymouth and other Abaco settlements. As part of my presentation, I’ll share some of the interesting tales — some amusing, others terrifying — I’ve uncovered about wrecking in Abaco.
Other lecturers scheduled for the 2016 festival series include:
- Peter Roberts of the Bahamas DNA Project, will teach us how to use DNA and WikiTree to trace our Bahamian ancestry. (I attended Peter’s presentation on this topic at last year’s festival, and found it to be extremely helpful with my genealogical pursuits)
- Shane Cash, history teacher at Forest Heights Academy, will provide an overview of the history of piracy, wrecking, blockade running and bootlegging in the Bahamas.
- A representative from the Bahamas National Trust will speak about current conservation efforts.
And for the full schedule of events for the 2016 Island Roots Heritage Festival weekend, click HERE.
Hope to see you there!
New Year’s Day Junkanoo performer, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
© 2016 Amanda Diedrick LittleHousebytheFerry.com
Royal Bahamas Police Band marches through the streets of Green Turtle Cay at the first Island Roots Heritage Festival – November 1977. (Photo credit: Albert Lowe Museum.)
This is the eighth post in the series Green Turtle Cay 101: Guide to Getting Here, Staying Here, Dining Here and Playing Here.
When most folks think of Green Turtle Cay, they envision pristine beaches, clear waters and warm, tropical breezes. And certainly, the island has these in abundance. But it also boasts a surprisingly rich cultural life.
Model ship by Albert Lowe, displayed at the Albert Lowe Museum in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.