As the month-long Indigenous Heritage celebration culminated, hundreds of patrons from all walks of life were yesterday treated to the sights, tastes and sounds of the rich Indigenous culture at St Cuthbert’s Mission in the Mahaica river.According to the Department of Public Information, activities commenced at theMinister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowevillage benab with poems, dances, songs and renditions from various cultural groups within the only Indigenous settlement in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica); and all of those activities depicted the way of life of Guyana’s first peoples. There were also live demonstrations of the process of making cassava bread.In brief remarks made at the opening ceremony, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe, reflected on what ‘heritage’ means to the people of Guyana.The Minister said that while the Indigenous peoples use the month to showcaseA cultural group performing a dancetheir culture, “it is more than that; it is a month of reflection and celebration of how far we have come as a people.”Minister Garrido-Lowe reminded that the entire process had commenced with the late Stephen Campbell, Guyana’s first Indigenous parliamentarian, who had ledthe fight for land rightsCassava bread-makingfor the first peoples.“We have much to celebrate. We have come through a lot through the centuries, and we have emerged strong,” she declared.She commended all those in the village who have been preserving their Indigenous identity through teaching of the Arawak language.Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, called on the entire community to become a ‘language champion,’ even as the community continues to lead the way in preserving the Arawak language.“I recognise that time has had its effects on the various aspects of the Indigenous culture of this country, and particularly that of our language. I want to call all of you to action, to become a language champion similar to that of St. Cuthbert’s Mission;Patrons of the St. Cuthbert’s Mission Heritage celebrationsfor we know a connection to our language and identity is not just about an indigenous issue, it is a human issue.”Toshao Beverley Clenkian highlighted some of the achievements of the village over the past years. She noted that the village has produced many trained teachers, doctors, nurses and Medexes, and successful sportsmen and women.Clenkian said the village is proud of these achievements, and she urged the residents to use the event to recognise those persons who would have made the village proud.