African Family Tree History Lost – The Maroons

As I mentioned in my trip report , I would be giving details on some of the interesting discussion I had on my trip to Jamaica last month. One discussion was with a gentleman who was a Maroon. He never appreciated being a Maroon till he went to college overseas. The students held him in high honor when they learned he was a Maroon. He explained to me the stigma of saying you were a “Maroon”  during the time he was growing up. This leads me to the main point of this post. The lost history.

The Maroons are probably one of the few people in Jamaica that could have kept their “African Family” tree intact. Through oral history they would have been able to trace their ancesty straight back to a “description” of where in Africa they came from. For many of us who would like to trace “tree” the only route is through DNA testing. This would only give us an idea of a region and a possibly a tribe. Now the Maroons could narrow it down for thier tree with names.

In my discussion with other Maroons and this gentleman none of this was done. He explained that no one asked the elders in the village any questions. He explained that the Maroons were blamed for catching run-away slaves and helping the British to quell rebellions including those led by Sam Sharpe and Paul Bogle. They were not accepted by the free slaves after Emancipation because of that. Your social status would drop when you mentioned you were a Maroon. For many this stigma and guilt had them “running away” from anything Maroon. It probably helped to prevent the oral and written documentation of a direct family tree.

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