Monday in Lagrange (Artibonite Department), as part of the Day of Agriculture and Labor, the National Bureau of Ethnology (BNE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture organized a show of «Jeu de bâton» (stick game). This tradition that has existed since the colonial period in St Domingue, was also a means of combat used by the native army during the war of independence. It is also a martial art inspired by the forms of African combat. A variety of stick styles such as : “Baw Blan”, “Migel” and “Pati kola” were used during this activity. An intangible cultural heritage strongly practiced and preserved in the Artibonite. Jessy C. Menos, the Minister who traveled to encourage stick Practitioners and BNE dancers, said the show “is part of a promotion of the ‘Jeu du bâton’ and a duty to remember.”
According to Erol Josué, the Director General of the BNE “This ritual was the means of combat of the native army” recalling that “Gran Toya”, great aunt of the Emperor Jean Jacques Dessalines, was a great warrior and would have initiated the Emperor at this game from a young age. Other peoples like the Amazons of the former Dahomey also practice stick fighting.
From this collaboration around the development of Ethno-Tourism in Haiti, an inventory of cultural practices and sites will be launched, which will begin in the Department of Artibonite in order to highlight the riches Haitian heritage.
HaitiLibre May 3, 2017