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BVI FACT FILE

Happy 10th Anniversary GliGLi – This month, GliGli, the traditional Carib Indian dug-out canoe, brain child of Aragorn Dick-Read of Trellis Bay, BVI, and Dominican Carib activist and artist, Jacob Frederick, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of her epic 800 mile journey by sea and river from Dominica to Guyana.

Her mission was to help reunite, at least symbolically, the remaining Carib communities scattered throughout the Caribbean, with the Carib people of their ancestral homeland in Guyana.

Aragorn Dick-Read and Jacob Frederick met on a bus travelling through Dominica in 1994.  Whilst discussing a shared interest in Carib heritage, an unusual cultural project and adventure came into being.

Over the next two years, Aragorn and Jacob worked, together with master boat builder Etiene Charles, to build a dug-out canoe using traditional methodology handed down through generations of Caribs.  At 35’long with a beam of 6 ½’ she was the largest canoe to be built in living memory.  Throughout the 2 years of her making, Aragorn and Jacob campaigned to raise enough funds to embark upon the epic journey.  “Celebrations, emotional meetings and cultural research were undertaken in the Carib communities along the way,” says Aragorn. “GliGli and her crew made an important historical gesture, drawing high profile media attention to the cause of indigenous peoples in the region and highlighting the plight and marginalized conditions of many the formerly great tribe’s direct descendants.” GliGli is named after the sparrow hawk, an ancient Carib bravery totem.

In celebration of this epic adventure, GliGli will be undertaking yet another sea voyage, with the support of a spectacular mother ship Fiddlers Green.  This new journey, billed as the “Leeward Island Expedition” and starting in May, will continue her mission to reunite Caribs and promote recognition of their descendents throughout the Caribbean. This time, her voyage will commence in Antigua and will take her via Nevis and St Kitts, St Eustatia, St Barths, St Martin and Anguilla, across the Anegada passage to Tortola.

GliGli’s journey will be the first time a Carib canoe has sailed through these waters since the 1750s, a time when the European navies fighting for possession of the Islands sought to vanquish the seafaring tribe.  She will be sailed by a crew of 14 Dominican Carib, who will be stopping at each island en route to deliver a bit of “Caribness.”  They will take with them artisans, musicians, dancers and a chef, all of whom will be presented to each island.

The whole expedition is being filmed by a LA-based film company, “Documenting Life” and BVI-born camera man Johnny Tattersall.

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More about GliGli:
For more information on the Leeward Islands Expedition and information on how you can assist in this important quest, please log onto www.gliglicaribcanoe.com.The BBC documentary is available on DVD and VHS at Aragorn’s studio in Trellis Bay.

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