Maroon garmentInstead of looking for a sponsor for this challenge, I decided to sponsor this one in honor of the Maroon women from Suriname. While growing up, I often had my hair braided by Maroon women. Never did I realize how much they contributed to the history of the country I grew up in.

They were instrumental in leaving the plantations and building communities far from the cruel slave masters and deep in the rural areas.

Yet, I learned about Ma Pansa from “Tenderheaded” an American Hair book by Juliette Harris and Ntozake Shange: a Suriname Maroon who hid seeds in her hair so that her people would have food no matter where they would land. I can’t think of a better example to celebrate the global connection of Black History at its roots.

The garments are handmade by Johanna Huur who works from her studio in Suriname. Phone: +597 8899128. More about this challenge: Click here

Nefertiti Maroon

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The Maroon Challenge

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Chassity Maroon Woman Salute

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I Am Woman!

African American History Month coupled with this challenge provides us with the privilege of paying homage to some of our ancestors. The Maroon people are a triumphant and powerful people that have persevered, and still they rejoice and celebrate life. I can relate to their verve and appreciation of the gift of life.

My recent research has taught me that like the Maroon women of Suriname, my heart,and it's ability to feel and emote what I am passionate about,is integral to my day to day. Passion when properly channeled,can fuel awesome efforts in ones life.

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Strong & Proud: The Maroon Women of Suriname

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When approaching this challenge I really thought about what it would be like to live in Suriname as a Maroon woman. To be completely honest I hadn't previously been aware of Suriname and needed to do some research to learn about the Maroons there. After my research I was so moved by their struggle  and even more impressed by the Maroon women. The Maroons of Suriname are apart of the African Diaspora, descendants of enslaved Africans, so I felt a historical connection as an African-American. They fought and won their freedom from the Dutch in 1975, however the women still did not have many rights.

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ReShonda - The Maroon Women of Suriname

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One thing I have enjoyed the most about being a finalist in "The Next Natural Model" is being able to experience different things. This challenge was very interesting because I had the opportunity to learn about a community of people that were brave and courageous and reminded me of our American Harriet Tubman. The Maroons are the descendants of runaway slaves who escaped into the interior rain forests immediately upon their arrival in the English, later Dutch colony. I admire them because of their strength, pride and defiance. That is still evident in their culture today.

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