Antonio Norales: Garifuna Guardian


In my film, I seek to introduce in a colorful manner the culture and history of the Garifunas, a little-known ethnic group with origins stemming from the intermingling of Africans said to have survived the shipwrecks of slave ships and the native Caribbean Arawaks. Through the lively images of a dance, I delve into their long resistance against domination by British colonizers on the island of Saint Vincent in the late eighteenth century. The film’s main character is representative of the Garifunas’ campaign to preserve their culture, which includes their own language and music. Their diaspora extends into the United States; today, tens of thousands of Garifunas live in New York City, mainly in the South Bronx.

I first came across the Garifunas in conducting research for a chapter I co-wrote on Central Americans in New York for the book Latinos in New York: Communities in Transition1.

Screenshot from Antonio Norales: Garifuna Guardian

About Walker Simon

Walker Simon, born in New York, was raised in Mexico from age one. He joined the Reuters news agency there, where he launched a thirty-five year career reporting from nineteen countries, most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean. After leaving the company in late 2017, he devoted himself to becoming a student, first learning about film and television. 

Based in Manhattan, he currently produces the show Latin American Art in New York, distributed locally and sometimes broadcast over the air in Mexico. At CUNY’s Graduate Center, he is a second-year student in the CUNY Graduate Center’s Biography and Memoir program, where he is researching the lives of Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, their relation to Judaism, and their circle of close Jewish friends. Walker has an undergraduate degree in economics from Oberlin College and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He earned language proficiency certificates in French and Russian from the U.N. Language School and is a court-certified Spanish-English language interpreter.


1) Baver, Sherrie L., et al. Latinos in New York : Communities in Transition. Second edition., University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.