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Born in Guyana, Dr. Odeen Ishmael served as a teacher both in Guyana and The Bahamas for almost three decades. He has been a premier writer on the problems and perspectives of education in Guyana and the Caribbean and, since 1970, his writings on this subject have been published in newspapers and journals in Guyana, the Caribbean and North America. He has also researched and published expensively on issues of Guyana's political history.
Before publishing "Amerindian Legends of Guyana", he wrote two books on education -- "Problems of the Transition of Education in the Third World" (published in 1990) and "Towards Education Reform in Guyana" (published in 1994). An Internet edition of a fourth book, "The Trail of Diplomacy", was released on the World Wide Web in 1998. Biography of Ambassador Odeen Ishmael.
Story – From Earliest Times to Independence by Odeen Ishmael
The Guyana Story — From Earliest Times to Independence traces the country’s history from thousands of years ago when the first Amerindian groups began to settle on the Guyana territory. It examines the period of early European exploration leading to Dutch colonization, the forcible introduction of African slaves to work on cotton and sugar plantations, the effects of European wars and the final ceding of the territory to the British who ruled it as their colony until they finally granted it independence in 1966. The book also tells of Indian, Chinese and Portuguese indentured immigration and shows how the cultural interrelationships among the various ethnic groups introduced newer forms of conflict, but also brought about cooperation in the struggles of the workers for better working and living conditions.
The final part describes the roles of the political leaders who arose from among these ethnic groups from the late 1940s and began the political struggle against colonialism and the demand for independence. This struggle led to political turbulence in the 1950s and early 1960s when the country was caught in the cross-hairs of the Cold War resulting in joint British-American devious actions which undermined a democratically elected pro-socialist government and deliberately delayed independence for the country until a government friendly to their international interests came to power.
Trade Paperback; $23.99; 688 pages; 978-1-4797-9588-8
Trade Hardback; $34.99; 688 pages; 978-1-4797-9589-5
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4797-9590-1.
Xlibris - Amazon
Guyana Legends—Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians - By Odeen Ishmael
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 212 pages; 978-1-4653-5668-0
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 212 pages; 978-1-4653-5669-7
eBook; $9.99; 978-1-4653-5670-3
Guyana Legends—Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians is a collection of fifty folk tales of the first people to inhabit Guyana and the contiguous regions of the north coast of the South American continent.
Very little is known of Amerindian history in Guyana before the arrival of European settlers in the early seventeenth century and, actually, no written form of their languages existed until about seventy years ago.
Indeed, much of the history of the Amerindians people is based on oral traditions which are not quite clear because the periods when important events occurred are difficult to place. Still, native oral traditions are very rich in folk stories of the ancestral heroes and heroines of these indigenous people. Some of these folk stories have varying versions among the nine different language groups—or tribes— that comprise the Amerindian population of Guyana.
THE MAGIC POT: Nansi Stories From The Caribbean
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Xlibris, Corp. (July 30, 2010)
Author Odeen Ishmael reveals engaging tales of Caribbean culture through the pages of THE MAGIC POT: Nansi Stories From The Caribbean.
This book comprises a collection of popular folk stories from Guyana and other countries of the Caribbean region. The starring character in all of them is Nansi whose exploits form part of the folklore of these countries. “Nansi”, the starring character in all the stories, is also popularly known as “Anansi”. But in Guyana and some other Caribbean countries, Nansi, the shortened form of this name, is usually preferred.
Nansi, who is a spider—but who sometimes takes the qualities or form of a man, or even half-man and half-spider—is originally the chief trickster among the Ashanti and Akan peoples of West Africa. When some of these peoples were forcibly brought to the Caribbean and the American continent as slaves from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, they also brought with them the tales of the exploits of Nansi, who was, and still is, variably regarded as a folk hero, a cunning trickster and also sometimes as a fool.
These stories in this book are no different to the ones told in West Africa or other parts of the Caribbean and the southeast United States, even though the plots and the characters involved may vary slightly. They certainly provide tangible evidence that much of the oral traditions of people of African origin in the Americas remain intact, despite the historical trauma caused by centuries of slavery.
Nansi is always outwitting the forest creatures, humans, his own family, the community in which he lives, and sometimes even deities. His character assumes various patterns. In some cases, he is regarded as wise, but he can be greedy, cunning, gluttonous, stupid, and dishonest. Despite these varying characteristics, Nansi is generally admired for the manner in which he outwits others.
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Odeen. Amerindian Legends of Guyana.
Artex Publishing, Sheboygan WI, 1995.
Paperback -- 101 pages.
Amerindian Legends of Guyana is a collection of twenty stories of the Amerindians, the first people to inhabit the South American country of Guyana. These stories tell of the deeds of folk heroes and give the reader a clear understanding of some of the myths, traditions and folklore surrounding the lives of these proud people.
The Amerindians comprise roughly five percent of the Guyanese population and they live mainly in the forest and savannah regions of the interior of the country.
The author has
written extensively on Guyanese and Caribbean history and culture. He is currently
Guyana's Ambassador to the United States of America and also his country's Permanent
Representative to the Organization of American States, positions to which he
was appointed since 1993.
Available at Amazon.com
Odeen. The Democracy Perspective in the Americas
Publisher: University Press of America (January 16, 2010)
Paperback: 280 pages
The Democracy Perspective in the Americas presents the author's views on the evolution of democracy in the American hemisphere and the challenges confronting this form of governance. It comprises a collection of his statements and published commentaries on the perspective of democracy from 1993 to 2008, while serving as Guyana's Ambassador to the United States at the Organization of American States (OAS) and in Venezuela.
At the OAS, in particular, Ishmael was deeply involved in diplomatic discussions, in which he presented his perspective of the promotion and development of the democratic process at forums dealing with the organization's agenda.
Since 2004, Ishmael has participated in numerous high-level meetings of the newly-established Union of South American Nations, enabling him to present a front-row view of the political, economic, social, and ideological challenges facing the advance of democracy and the integration of the South American nations.
Amazon.CO.UK - University Press of America - Available at Barnes and Noble