Learn Gullah fishing methods, celebrate the sea at 'Famlee Day'

charley@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 2, 2012 

  • Gullah/Geechee Famlee Day is from noon to 5 p.m. on Labor Day, Monday at the Hunting Island State Park's Nature Center.

    Free educational activities including fishing, marsh walks, beach education, cast net making, casting, films about the Gullah/Geechee culture on the Sea Islands and how Gullah/Geechee survive by using their traditional fishing methods.

    Members of the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association will have a fish fry throughout the day and Gullah/Geechee cuisine will be on sale along with books, CDs and crafts items.

    Details: 843-838-1171, GullGeeCo@aol.com

While growing up on St. Helena Island, Marquetta Goodwine, chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, remembers catching and heading shrimp to share with her family and her community.

From noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Goodwine and others will share their fishing knowledge in the second in a series of Gullah/Geechee Famlee Days at Hunting Island State Park Nature Center.

"I want to show people more of a love and appreciation for the land that we are on," Goodwine said. She wants to educate others on how to become custodians of the Lowcountry environment through sustainable-living practices.

"I will try to get more people to participate in recycling oyster shells instead of keeping them for their yards and roads," she said. "We will not have an oyster population or clean waters in the future if we do not take care of the oyster beds and restore them."

The entire day is a hands-on event, not Power Point presentations in dark rooms, she said.

"I want people to be able to smell it, touch it and what else it connects to," she said. "We are living on the water, and a lot of people seem to forget where their seafood comes from."

Shrimping used to be a communal event -- from the people who made the nets and boats to those who caught, then headed the shrimp and prepared them for cooking.

The community taught another. Now Goodwine is hoping to restore those lessons from generation to generation when people fished for sustenance.

"You learned things as you grew up, and the whole community participated," she said. "We need the entire family to come out and bring their crab traps and fishing gear and learn from the Gullah/Geechee traditional fishermen."

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