This dance company was named Chief Joseph Chatoyer to honor the legacy of a brave Garifuna man who fought fiercely against the Europeans' influence in defense of the Garifunas' territories.
It was founded by Felix Gamboa in December 2008. Gamboa was born in Honduras and came to the United States at the age of 16. Gamboa never disconnected himself from his culture and traditions, and, to help others do the same, he welcomes everyone and anyone who's interested to deepen their knowledge about who they are.
The Garifuna are a combination of West African, Indian Arawaks, and Carib natives that were exiled from their motherland of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on March 11, 1797, to the Island of Roatan, Honduras, where they arrived on April 12 of the same year.
Despite the experience of intense physical hardship and strong acculturation pressures, the Garifuna maintain a distinct identity embodied in their unique language, religion, and tradition. They have been able to maintain their language, their identity as Garinagu (plural for Garifuna), and most of all their infectious and mesmerizing music, which Gamboa proudly exposes to all eyes and ears.