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Queen Quet, the head of state of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, gives a "histo-musical presentation" at Francis Marion University, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014. During the interactive event she explained some of the ethnic group's history, showed some utilitarian crafts and clothing, all while speaking the Gullah language.
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Queen Quet explains to the FMU audience that the idea of community and togetherness is deeply rooted in African culture, and thus Gullah/Geechee culture, unlike a strong sense of individuality, which is a Western construct.
- What is the difference between Gullah and Geechee?
Contrary to popular belief Gullah and Geechee are not two different African American cultural groups based on geography, but rather the same people and a language and its off-shoot.
Gullah is a language derived from Angola, and the Gola ethnic group in the Windward Coast and Rice Coast of western Africa. It is on the African tree of languages, not the Germanic like English. Geechee, a word that is derived from the Gidzi ethnic group, also of the Windward Coast, is a dialect of Gullah. Essentially Geechee is a pigeon, or de-creolized version of the Gullah language, that incorporates more English-based words.
But regardless of the dialect of the language, the culture is the same according to Queen Quet, the Gullah/Geechee Nation’s head of state.
“Gullah/Geechee people are the same people,” Queen Quet said. “It was academics that tried to categorize and separate and say, ‘Oh on the South Carolina Sea Islands, those are Gullah and everybody else in Georgia and the mainland, those are Geechees.’ That wasn’t us saying that. That was outside people saying that and then the culture got indoctrinated to saying that.”
She also said that for a time the term Geechee was considered by some, even those with Gullah ancestry, to be a derogatory term, which she refutes.
Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014 9:00 pm
FLORENCE, S.C. — Many South Carolinians hear the word Gullah and automatically think of sweet grass baskets and not much else, but on Monday Francis Marion University students and faculty got to learn how it is so much more, straight from the source: Queen Quet, the head of state for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.
“What I would love the general public to know about the Gullah/Geechee is that we are more than sweet grass baskets,” Queen Quet said. “We are more than just a few words at Black History Month, that we are a living breathing culture that the world has recognized as another nation of people and a linguistic and ethnic global minority that needs to be celebrated and commemorated.”
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Monday, February 3, 2014 9:00 pm.