St. Eustatius

Petition calls for Stop to Excavations at St. Eustatius’ African Burial Ground

Partial view of the burial site. Photo: Government of St. Eustatius.

Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- A petition is circulating online for the stop to the excavations currently taking place on St. Eustatius.

The Petition notes that currently, a team of (white) archeologist from the Netherlands, UK and the USA, led by SECAR Foundation on St. Eustatius, are excavating the remains of our ancestors, enslaved and free Africans of a 18th century burial ground in St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean.

“The excavations are carried out in a disrespectful manner and there is no involvement and input from archaeologists and scientists from the African diaspora. The reasons why the archeological research is being conducted are very questionable and easy to contradict”, state Kenneth Cuvelay, Xiomara Balentina and George Berkel as reason for the Petition.

The initiators to the petition also state they suspect Government is trying to stimulate what they indicate as ‘heritage tourism’ to the island.


The petition indicated four main goals, which are: an immediate Cessation of the excavations on what they call sacred ground; the submission of a Written Plan about the proposed excavation and commemoration of the island’s ancestors, adoption of a Scientific Research Protocol, which includes a definitive timeline for completion and Adoption of a Commemorative Proposal that is distinctive and rooted in African and African diasporic history and culture.

The full text of the petition can be found here, where it can also be signed.

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