Heritage project on St. Eustatius connects residents with their ancestors


ST. EUSTATIUS / 10 November 2023 / — St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance 


The St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance will start registration of candidates for its new initiative “Remember Statia: Tracing Our Origins” on Friday, November 10, 2023. It is a community project in which the inhabitants of St. Eustatius write their own history. This will be accomplished by searching for ancestral heroes and heroines and ancestors in general. The initiative includes training for searching archival materials, writing instruction, and an art project.


Heroes and heroines from our slavery past

The project aims to raise awareness for the importance of preserving Afrikan cultural heritage on St. Eustatius. In addition, the heroes of slavery-many of whom are buried on the former Golden Rock plantation-are to be rescued from oblivion.


The project will run from November 2023 to October 2024, with funds provided by the Mondriaan Fund’s Open Call for the Dutch Slavery Memorial Year. The initiative arose from demonstrations over the Golden Rock excavations in 2021 and is being carried out in collaboration with journalist Marvin Hokstam’s Bigi Bon foundation. Bigi Bon created a similar initiative for the Surinamese community in the Netherlands called Memre.


The rich and diverse culture of St. Eustatius

Project leader Kenneth Cuvalay: “With this project, we want to discover and record our own story for ourselves and future generations. Our ancestors, who survived the Middle Passage, gave new life to Afrikan themes, characters, and stories in their homes and communities. We hope that the project participants will make our ancestors’ stories known; that they will give them a name and a face. It is about decolonizing our history and rewriting the narrative for the future.”


The stories of the participants will be published in a book. A project closing event will be held on St. Eustatius in October 2024 where all the stories and artworks will be presented to the general public.


Registration for participants and artists is open

The Alliance is looking for 12 candidates with ancestors from our slavery past who are committed to telling and connecting their story with a work of art. Furthermore, the Alliance is searching for artists to mentor the candidates as they shape their artwork. The trainings are provided at no costs to participants. Artists will be compensated for their mentoring.


Candidate participants and artists can register via:


More information is available at this website




Information for the Editor 


Contact: Kenneth Cuvalay, President of the “St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance


About the St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance (SE-ABG Alliance)

The SE-ABG Alliance came about as a result of the protests against the excavations on an 18th-century burial ground of enslaved Afrikans that were started by a team of international archaeologists in June 2021 in St. Eustatius (see The protests were initially led by the political party Ubuntu Connected Front Caribbean. Located in St. Eustatius and with allies around the world, the St. Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance broadened the scope of the struggle focusing on other Afrikan burial grounds in St. Eustatius such as the Afrikan Burial Ground Godet Plantation St. Eustatius (Godet/Fort Amsterdam). One of the aims is to further broaden the scope of our struggle to the Pan-Afrikanism level, connecting with and working with Afrikan-centered organizations and movements that are also fighting for the preservation of our ancestors’ endangered Afrikan burial grounds around the world and taking control of our narrative that has been distorted. Among them are Annina van Neel, CEO of the Tiekie Box Project and protagonist of the awarded documentary “A Story of Bones”, and Peggy King Jorde, consultant and defender of marginalized histories and Afrikan burial grounds.


About BIgi Bon Foundation

The projects of Bigi Bon foundation’s focus on inclusion. Bigi Bon means Big Tree in the Sranan language, which refers to its philosophy that Big Trees provide much Shade; Big trees provide shelter, protection, housing and nourishment to other beings in the forest, just as adults should provide protection to children. Our generation lives under the watchful eye of the previous and we are tasked with keeping a watchful eye on the next generations.


The foundation aims to improve the position of immigrant communities in general and especially the Afrikan diaspora communities, through knowledge generation through media related activities and providing learning support. Also: increasing the opportunities of people, especially young people from the aforementioned communities.


Project Memre 


For the Alliance is Afrika spelled with a “k” instead of a “c” based on the following insights:

  • It is a Pan-Afrikan spelling which relates both to the Afrikan continent and to the Diaspora;
  • It reflects the spelling of “Afrika” in all Afrikan languages;
  • It includes the concept of “ka”, the vital energy which both sustains and creates.


In response to the protests against the Golden Rock plantation, we published a scientific article in January 2022 A Future That Does Not Forget: Collaborative Archeology in the Colonial Context of Sint Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean).by our archaeologist marjolijn kok. We also published the “Manifesto: What the FARO Convention means for St. Eustatius”.




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