Publication Date

2005

Abstract

A small, peaceful, ethnically diverse country in Central America, Belize gained independence from Great Brittan in 1981. Belizean tourist brochures and government officials have characterized Belize as a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation, which embraces the diversity within. However, after spending time on the streets of Belize and talking with Belizeans one might not find this to be completely true. This paper analyzes the tangible and intangible effects of the Belizean government's attempts to promote indigenous culture as a means of decolonization. How effective are the government's cultural programs that have been implemented? What prejudices still exist about the various cultures? This case study is a compilation of qualitative data collected through text analysis, observations, documents, and field interviews with Belizeans who are either engaged in implementing government programs or involved as participants with these programs as principals, teachers and students. Belizeans have struggled to overcome colonially inherited prejudices against the various cultures residing together in Belize and continue to do so. A great effort has been made, through cultural programs and education, by the government of Belize to educate their young people in regards to nationalism and ethnicity. The government continues to strive to make improvements as demographics change and new challenges arise. Issues such as training and access to materials make it difficult however, for any kind of standardization throughout the country.

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