Each year the National Park Service commemorates the “Cape of the Arrows” encounter, when Amerindian Virgin Islanders defended their lands, culture and people, killing two members of Christopher Columbus’ expeditionary force on Nov. 14, 1493, at Salt River Bay, St. Croix.
This year the St. Croix community is invited to a public lecture, interactive cultural education exhibition and the reopening of the Salt River Bay Visitor Contact Station above Columbus Landing from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14.
The NPS is working with the V.I. Caribbean Cultural Center at the University of the Virgin Islands, the Friends of the National Park and a growing circle of community supporters to coordinate this event. This year’s commemoration will include an interactive art and history exhibition with workshops by the “Roots Alive Cultural Arts Program.”
Visitors can see cultural education exhibitions and digital video presentations. NPS representatives and volunteers will be onsite to teach about Salt River’s ecology and history, all on the 522nd anniversary of the first recorded European encounter on St. Croix, once known by its indigenous people as “Ay Ay.”
Visitors are invited to see and create art with the “Living Cultural Heritage Arts Make & Take Station of Ay Ay.” Also on display will be an exhibit that demonstrates the development of Amerindian villages across the Caribbean developed by Joshua Torres, former St. Croix NPS cultural resource program manager, and other indigenous heritage arts and history.
At 6 p.m. there will be an interactive panel on indigenous Amerindian people, arts, education, culture, heritage and identity. The panelists invited to host the discussion include Gerville Larsen, vice chair of the V.I. Centennial Commission; Chenzira Davis Kahina, director of UVI-VI Caribbean Cultural Center; Olasee Davis, senior research specialist of UVI-Cooperative Extension Service; and Maria Stiles and Rosaura Perez Rivera of Roots Alive Cultural Arts.
The panel presentation will include a site tour followed by traditional cultural arts performance. Light refreshments will be served.