LIVE STREAMING
Garifuna people are part of the Afro-Latino diaspora in the U.S. Isha Gutierrez-Sumner.
Garifuna people are part of the Afro-Latino diaspora in the U.S. Isha Gutierrez-Sumner.

Isha Gutierrez-Sumner, a Honduran Garifuna woman sharing her story through dance and food

Her new book, 'Weiga, Let’s Eat,' is a passion project birthed by the need to share parts of the rich food culture of Coastal Central America.

MORE IN THIS SECTION

Brilliant and Inspiring

September 29th, 2022

Stories Kept Inside

September 28th, 2022

A Love Story Set in Spain

September 27th, 2022

Book Fair at Love Park

September 26th, 2022

Latino, Filipino and Gay

September 25th, 2022

Identities Are Tricky

September 21st, 2022

A Multicultural Anthology

September 21st, 2022

Land of Sad Treasures

September 21st, 2022

SHARE THIS CONTENT:

Isha Gutierrez-Sumner was born and raised in a Garifuna community of San Juan Tela, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. The Garifuna are a mixed African and Indigenous people who originally lived on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and have been persecuted across Central America.

Though Gutierrez-Sumner immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 15, the foundation of her Garifuna culture remains central to her identity and sharing it has been a major part of her life.

As a professional Garifuna dancer, Isha has been involved in numerous Garifua ballet companies in NYC and performed at the Lincoln Center and Harvard University, among others. 

Her second passion, cuisine, led her to dedicate much of the past five years to documenting Garifuna cuisine in a new book: Weiga, Let's Eat, to be published in 2022.

libro cocina garifua

From her current home in New York, she hopes to amplify the Garifuna struggle and protect their cultural legacy by collecting Garifuna recipes in a cookbook, which will be the first Garifuna cookbook in history.

Traveling back to Honduras with her assembled team, Isha has photographed and documented the depth and breadth of her people to present to the world the distinctive Caribbean taste of the Garifuna foods she grew up eating. 

When Isha cooks, she is often swept away by memories of her grandmother, who taught her how to prepare cassava, one of he “4 Big C’s” of Garifuna cuisine, as she says: Coconut, Cassava, Community and Continuity. 

The cookbook includes a list of opulently rich fresh coconut milk seafood stews and soups, root vegetables, fruits, coconut tortillas, banana and pumpkin breads, just to name a few. They're dishes scarcely available to food lovers, unless you are somehow directly connected to a Garifuna person.

By recording traditional dishes, Gutierrez-Sumner hopes to popularize and preserve Garifuna food and culture for the diaspora at large.

“The work that we’re doing is not just for the present time,” she explained to Atlas Obscura.

“We do it for our babies so when they hear stories about their grandmothers making coconut bread, they don’t just hear it, but taste it. We want to give continuity to our culture through taste,” she said.

Since she migrated to the U.S. in 1985, Gutierrez-Sumner has actively kept her connection to home alive through activism in the Garifuna community in New York City. Last year, Gutierrez-Sumner led efforts to collect Garifuna responses to the 2020 census. She also runs Weiga, a Garifuna catering company that’s contracted by the city government for outreach events such as Garifuna town halls.

  • LEAVE A COMMENT:

  • Join the discussion! Leave a comment.

  • or
  • REGISTER
  • to comment.
  • LEAVE A COMMENT:

  • Join the discussion! Leave a comment.

  • or
  • REGISTER
  • to comment.
00:00 / 00:00
Ads destiny link