With funding from the Education and Justice Memory Network (EdJAM), a collaborative, international network of researchers, educators and civil society organisations committed to creative ways to teach and learn about the violent past in order to build more just futures, The Accompong Maroon Youth Culture Group (AMYCG) developed a project that would support their youth and community members in intergenerational teaching and learning about their history and culture, to support their traditions and ways of life for sustainable futures.
The Maroon people of Jamaica come from a unique history marked by violence and by peace, and overall, by resilience, culture, and connection with nature. The decedents of escaped slaves who won their freedom, the Maroon people live proudly in their communities in the highlands of Jamaica. Young Maroons today seek opportunities to engage with their history, learn from their Elders and carry their traditions and culture forward into their futures.
Through collaboration with the Young Lives Research Lab (YLRL), the AMYCG developed the Accompong Maroon Youth Culture Camp and Memory Bank to further support and develop the cultural activities they were already hosting for youth in their communities (namely the annual Maroon Culture Camp where hundreds gather to teach, share, learn and celebrate every summer).
The aim of the project was to address and educate young people about Maroon history:
- Their ancestors being captured and brought to Jamaica as slaves and their escape and fight for freedom,
- The importance of preserving their history, especially as told by their Elders today,
- The need of keeping their culture active and alive in all aspects of their daily lives to support the sustainability and wellbeing of their culture and communities.
The main outcomes of this work were to:
- Increased knowledge, understanding and pride about Maroon history and culture to support the sustainability of their way of life and the wellbeing of their people, and
- For all Maroons living in Cockpit County, St. Elizabeth to benefit from this project
Through their collaborative work with their community members, EdJAM and YLRL, the AMYCG has successfully completed the following outcomes:
- The implementation of a weekly After School Maroon Youth Culture Program,
- The creation of a Maroon Memory Bank that houses artifacts, art, filmed interviews with Elders and community members about their culture and history, and documentation of traditional medicinal remedies and recipes, and
- The successful implementation of the Maroon Youth Culture Camp 2022
The AMYCG has since been awarded a second round of funding from EdJAM with which they are in the process of implementing:
- Back-to-school supplemental support for families in need to ensure that all Maroon youth have access to education,
- Weekly Intergenerational Lunch where youth prepare and provide meals to Elders, and
- Cultural Drumming Program for youth with participation in provincial and national competitions
More details are available on the EdJAM project page, here: