Bois Caiman (page 59)
Bois Caïman (literally ‘Alligator Woods’) was the site of the meeting on the night of August 13-14, 1791 in the northern mountains of Haiti. The ceremony was historic because it was said to be the ritual that was performed to overthrow French rule in Haiti. Houngan Boukman Dutty led the Vodou ritual, and Mambo Marinette, who was possessed by the lwa Erzulie Dantor, a Vodou goddess of love and warrior mother, performed the pig sacrifice. All the slaves, and those living in the hills came together to be a part of this ceremony, to bond and unite and make a pact with Iwa Erzulie Dantor to rise up together and defeat the French.
The following prayer has been attributed to Boukman at the vodou ceremony: “The god who created the earth; who created the sun that gives us light. The god who holds up the ocean; who makes the thunder roar. Our God who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds; who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white man’s god asks him to commit crimes. But the god within us wants to do good. Our god, who is so good, so just, He orders us to revenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us. We all should throw away the image of the white men’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that speaks in all our hearts.” This ceremony started the revolt that led to the first ever, black
Up to the present, Haiti’s historians have all attributed Haiti’s achievement of political independence in 1804 to this ceremony. Bois-Caiman is a very holy place, a high place which could only be entered by witch doctors during Vodou ceremonies, they have been meeting there every 14th August.
In Morne Rouge, you will also encouter Bois Caiman. In those woods, it is agreed that the Haitian revolution started. The leader of the revolution at this point was another slave called Boukman. Nothing much is left of the Bois Caiman trees.