In celebration of Garifuna Settlement Day, we remember a giant in the Archaeology and Garifuna community in Belize.
As a pioneer, he became the first archaeologist in Belize and the first Garifuna to be trained in Archaeology and Anthropology.
Following upon his studies, he was appointed by the Government as the first Archaeological Commissioner of Belize. In this position, he was given the responsibility of establishing Belize’s initial Archaeological Department in a context where Belize , then known as British Honduras, was creating new institutions to define itself as a nation.
For many years, he was the only trained archaeologist in Belize. During his tenure as Archaeological Commissioner, Dr. Palacio was instrumental in the development of legislation relating to the excavation, preservation and development of Belize’s rich archaeological heritage. Prior to his tenure, many valuable artifacts were stolen and sold illegally outside of the country. His groundbreaking work over many years laid the basis for the training of other Belizean archaeologists and for the establishment of what is now the Institute of Archaeology, the statutory body responsible for the oversight and management of all archaeological sites in Belize.
Aside from his work in Archaeology, he maintained a strong current of Garifuna Studies and successfully introduced the first formal Garifuna Language training programme. As a leader in the Garifuna movement, Dr. Palacio contributed to the local and regional development of the culture. He was a founding member of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous People (COIP), which for many years provided a forum for research and discourse on matters relevant to the indigenous peoples of the region. His training in Social Anthropology provided and continues to provide important platforms for original research on Garifuna themes.
Dr. Palacio has distinguished himself as a committed Garifuna pioneer and an expert on matters pertaining to the Garifuna Heritage and Culture in Belize and in the region.
Thank you, Dr. Palacio.
Happy Garifuna Settlement Day
by the Belize Institute of Archaeology