Culture changes with progress
Stabroek News
September 22, 2001

Dear Editor,

In SN on September 8, a letter [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] was published captioned `Action is needed to prevent the cultural obliteration of the indigenous peoples.' The logic of the letter eludes me. Are we trying to suppress the Amerindians? If as human beings they were given the same educational opportunities as other Guyanese and they excelled in technology, and commanded good pay and promotion, living in good houses in the city or town, enjoying the luxury of running water in their homes, having electricity, television, telephone and being on the Internet, etc, would we still expect them to practise the culture of their ancestors for our pleasure? If culture has any real significance, then it changes with progress and we will have to go with the changes. During this month I learnt that there are nine Amerindian tribes in Guyana (ie, nine ethnic groups). When they are not performing culture, they all seem to be the same, eating the same food, wearing the same clothing and living in areas the same as other Guyanese. The changes have already gone past the point of no return. We see people that are of mixed race calling themselves `Amerindians.' Let us replace ethnicity and culture with education. The process has already started; it needs speeding up. If we look back into history we will see how education and technology has changed the culture of most of the world. Once people used to kill each other with swords now they use sophisticated weapons. The horse was used for transportation, now we use all sorts of modern means. People who try to suppress education and technology are just carrying out an exercise in futility.

Yours faithfully,

Vic Lobert