Tradition Bearers Engage With Primary Students

May 31, 2016

The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Education have launched a collaborative project to introduce Tradition Bearers of Bermudian culture into the curriculum of public primary and middle schools.

“The programme and companion study guide are designed for students to learn from our valued Tradition Bearers,” a spokesperson said.

“A tradition-bearer is recognized in their community as a practitioner of a traditional artistic activity or skill that has been passed along from person to person within a cultural group and has value within the group as a whole. The artistic skills are those that remain within living memory and still function within a community, rather than those that died out long ago.

“The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs first created this initiative in December 2014 with the primary objective to introduce the skills, knowledge and expertise of our valued Tradition Bearers with our young people by integrating the knowledge into the curriculum of Primary and Middle Schools.

“A tradition-bearer typically learned the skill informally from others within the community, orally or by example, rather than through books, classes, or other means of academic or commercial instruction.

Cindy Lambert, Deputy Principal Heron Bay; Dr Freddie Evans, Acting Commissioner Education; Ronnie Chameau, Tradition Bearer; Lisa Swan, Principal Heron Bay and Nandi Outerbridge, Junior Minister Social Development and Sports

Junior Minister at Bay School Bermuda May 31 2016

“Last week, Tradition Bearer, Ronnie Chameau demonstrated for Primary 4 and 5 students at Heron Bay School what lead her to make her handcrafted dolls from banana and palm leaves. Mrs. Chameau demonstrated her technique for making her dolls using local plants, flowers and seeds.

Director of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Heather Whalen said, “This initiative is but one way of promoting and fostering cultural sustainability. So far the Department has worked collaboratively with the Ministry of Education to have the project integrated into a few Primary Schools – Northlands Primary, Victor Scott and Heron Bay.

“We would like to thank the Principals and respective Teachers for working with us to ensure that this project got off the ground. Their support is integral to the success and viability of this project. We intend to continue working with the Ministry of Education, as our industry partner, to have the programme integrated in all of the Primary and Middle Schools.”

Teachers and students are encouraged to use the Study Guide in conjunction with instruction in social studies, history, English, geography and civics to provide an understanding of these subjects as they relate to the lives of Bermudians.

The objectives are to build further sustainability for folklife programmes and introduce students to Bermudian arts, crafts, fishing, farming beekeeping and cuisine. The programme is delivered by a variety of experienced Tradition Bearers for primary school grades P4 and P5 and middle school grade M2.

Primary 4 and 5 students with Ronnie Chameau, Junior Minister Outerbridge and Dr Evans


Acting Commissioner of Education, Dr Freddie Evans said, “We are very pleased to partner with the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs to expose our students and increase their knowledge of aspects of our country’s folklife and cultural heritage.

“It is essential for the continuance of our heritage and culture that the knowledge, skills and expertise of our Tradition Bearers is passed on to future generations of young Bermudians.”

Junior Minister of Social Development and Sports Nandi Outerbridge remarked, “It was amazing to see how Ronnie Chameau prepares her dolls, very detailed and precise. The children seemed to really enjoy the presentation as well as learning a bit about St. David’s islanders and Bermuda history all while having fun.”

The Junior Minister added, “This programme will help develop an appreciation of this knowledge at an early age while fostering pride in who we are as a people.”

Some of the tradition bearers who have been consulted thus far and have agreed to participate are:

  • George Burt [Building Arts]
  • Milton Hill Sr. [Wood Craft]
  • Janice Warner [Gombey Crafts]
  • Randolph Furbert [Beekeeping]
  • Llewellyn Hollis [Fishing]
  • Ronnie Chameau [Banana Doll Maker]

“This list represents just a few of Bermuda’s Tradition Bearers. The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will be reaching out to other Tradition Bearers to invite their participation as well,” the spokesperson added.

“The Department is excited to launch this project which not only profiles and highlights our valuable Tradition Bearers but also brings their knowledge and expertise into the class room so that our students experience firsthand exposure to aspects of our culture, folklife and heritage.

“The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has study guides and DVD’s available for teachers.”

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