Ntukuma, the Storytelling Foundation of Jamaica with the participation of storytellers from across the Caribbean and in the diaspora, including the Barbadian Caribbean Storytellers; the Caribbean Freedom Fighters and Caribbean Folklore Storytime, having participated in the 2021 staging of the Ananse Soundsplash Storytelling Conference and Festival, do declare the following.
Having regard for and endorsing the presentation of the guest speaker, Dr. Susan Outuokon, Executive Director the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust – having responsibility for World Heritage Site, the Blue and John Crow Mountains – that the natural environment will continue to be important for communities in the future. Of note is the fact that this UNESCO World Heritage Site, has cloud forests, cascading streams and fauna and flora that have sustained human life and is not only of value to Jamaica but all of humanity.
Applauding the panels and featured storytellers from Jamaica, Ghana, South Africa, Canada, Haiti, and the United States of America who demonstrated that the contribution of each member of a community to the well-being of all is valid and that storytellers have the responsibility to represent this in stories.
Understanding that dangers are a natural part of human existence and must be confronted head on, and stories and storytellers can maintain a resolute spirit across generations as new threats arise.
Recognising that through stories, we can promote domestic harmony including between domestic partners, among children, parents, relatives and neighbours which highlight that the survival of the community depends on the survival of family life.
Affirm that stories help us to reflect on interpersonal relationships and ways to strengthen and sustain individuals in relationships and thus recommit ourselves to maintaining the integrity of our rich tradition oral tradition in particular that of the Ananse character in creating new stories and retelling traditional ones, hereby affirm that:
Ananse emerged from African folklore and as a figure appearing in Caribbean oral traditions represents another mechanism for the unity of Caribbean people and advancing the cause of cultural reparation;
Storytellers should continually develop their craft through research and practice; More careful research and documentation needs to be done to allow emerging storytellers to retain the integrity of traditional stories and deploying stories with purpose to the community and national development;
Public libraries, being critical to the process of research, documentation and showcasing of our stories, and the Jamaica Library Service, JLS, being committed to promoting, protecting and harnessing content to raise the profile of the oral tradition and enhancing the work towards achieving an authentic and transformational culture contributing to the Vision 2030 Goal, the JLS should therefore be adequately resourced to perform this vital function; Storytellers should be aware of and be sensitive to gendered roles as they are in the Caribbean community; the Caribbean woman, regardless of social status, has traditionally – and continues to – participate in leadership, scholarship, politics and commerce to a much wider extent than in many other societies;
Ananse stories show how the thinking mind solves complex problems, indeed, careful preparation, psychology and innovation are considered in many stories, nurturing this in stories fosters the awareness that intelligence solves problems, and through intelligence, new ideas emerge.
We therefore strongly urge that storytellers should practice our craft to foster unity in our communities; allow audiences to pursue the possible where it seems impossible; foster understanding that our solutions reside in our sovereign selves and broaden the partnerships which facilitate the achievement of these objectives.