The Garifuna flag

The Garifuna flag is universally agreed to consist of three horizontal stripes of black, white and yellow.  The meanings of these colors and the order of the stripes is debated however.

Garifuna flag

Ray’s first drum – decorated with a scene of the Re-Enactment and featuring the Garifuna Flag. This drum is now in the British Museum, London.

The white stripe is always seen in the middle.  But sometimes the yellow is seen at the top (as in our logo), and sometimes the black is seen at the top.  The National Garifuna Council website in Belize says that the black goes at the top, but still often flags are seen with the opposite order.  Some flags also include a central emblem showing three people.  One in a boat in the background and two in the foreground around a basket of food.

The meanings of the three colors are often described as follows:

Black: Represents the color of the skin and the African ancestry of the Garifuna people.  Also represents the suffering and hardship that they suffered.

White: Represents the white skin of the Europeans who were the historical antagonists of the Garifuna people.  It also represents the peace that the Garifuna people ultimately sought.

Yellow: Represents the color of the Garifuna people’s staple food – grated cassava and cassava bread.  It is also said to represent the Amerindian (Carib and Arawak) ancestry of the Garifuna.  Finally, it is said to symbolize hope.

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