Cultural Activist, Carnavalista
“The little I know, I want to share… While I am alive, I will do it.”
Ernestina Moh (1938-2017) known affectionately as Doña Tina, is considered a cultural icon within her community of Caledonia, and wider Northern Belize, for her great contribution in the safeguarding of the Carnaval tradition among the Maya Mestizo Heritage.
Doña Tina was born on November 7, 1938 in Caledonia Village, Corozal District. For over 20 years, Doña Ernestina Moh was the leader of the Caledonia Village Comparsa Group. Before becoming the head of the group in earnest, she dedicated much of her life to the teaching and retrieval of the Carnaval tradition and the cultural forms that accompany it.
Contributions to Safeguarding Carnaval:
Doña Ernestina has trained countless young people in the traditional dance and music of the Maya-Mestizo of Northern Belize. Her generosity and dedication to the tradition allowed her, despite her humble background, to arrange for the elaboration of, and donation of the materials required for the staging of traditional comparsas to the school. Her work has been based in the premise of encouraging positive identity reinforcement among the young people of Caledonia, pride in Maya-Mestizo Heritage, and respect and understanding for the varied cultural and social beliefs and practices that exist within the community, while always advocating for the promotion and maintenance of Carnaval. Through her efforts, the Carnaval of Caledonia Village has been maintained, as Caledonia remains one of the few communities in Northern Belize with a living memory of the tradition, songs, music, and belief system