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HER OWN PEOPLE, EVEN FAMILY TURNED HER OVER TO THE DUTCH TO DIE, SHE SURVIVED AND THRIVED, NEVER STOPPING HER MISSION

Her own family turned her over to the Dutch for money. They chopped off her breast, so that she would die a slow, excruciating death. She escaped to the hills and not only survived, but thrived, and continued to save slave babies until she died

Finding out that I was a descendant of this great slave, explained a lot to me. It explained my personality, my drive, my conviction to fight, and above all survive, no matter what they throw at you

WHERE MY ANCESTRY CAME FROM! I AM A DESCENDANT OF THIS GREAT RUN AWAY SLAVE ONE-TETE LOHKAY

one_tete_lohkaySt. Maarten’s Emancipation Day is a time for remembering roots and honouring those who longed for the freedom we take for granted. For generations stories have been told of one such person One-Tété Lokay, and now a statue stands in the Belair Roundabout to give us an image to hold in our minds. She stands for defiance against injustice, for rising up in the face of tyranny and oppression. One-Tété Lohkay is one of the island’s remarkable legends. She has been called a female freedom fighter in St. Maarten’s days of slavery and can be considered an example of rising up against oppression.

The story goes that Lohkay, a young woman or perhaps a girl, was enslaved on a plantation in Dutch St. Maarten. However, being a slave was not for Lohkay; she rebelled and ran away from her “owners.” Lohkay was hunted down by the plantation lords, recaptured and brought back to the plantation. As punishment for the defiance and as a warning to other slaves, the overlords ordered that one of Lohkay’s breasts be cut off. That is how she became known as One-Tété Lohkay.

 

In those days slave women were never allowed to talk back; if they did the masters might call them “insolent” or even “evil.” Historians tell us that it was common practice to mutilate the body of a rebel, as a method of intimidation and even terror to others. To cut the breasts off a woman who was rebellious was not unheard of in those days. Lohkay was told that if she ever disobeyed again, they would cut off her other breast. Lohkay was nursed back to health by her family and friends using natural herbal methods and she eventually stood proud again. Like a true heroine, Lohkay was able rise above the pain and turn that symbol of punishment into a badge of honour.

PHOTO JUDITH ROUMOU - BE PROUD OF YOUR ANCESTRY, YOUR HERITAGE, YOUR BLOOD YOUR STRENGHT
PHOTO JUDITH ROUMOU – BE PROUD OF YOUR ANCESTRY, YOUR HERITAGE, YOUR BLOOD YOUR STRENGHT

 

SHE BECAME known to all as One-Tété Lohkay and grew even more courageous and determined to be liberated. Lohkay did escape again and lived alone in the hills, occasionally coming down to visit her people and even to raid the plantations in Cul de Sac for extra supplies. During those raids she wore only a sash around her waist and smeared her body with lard to avoid being wrestled to the ground and recaptured.

 

She is admired by many on the island, because she managed to escape slavery and live freely. The oral history tells that as the slaves were heading out to the fields in the early morning, they could see the smoke from Lohkay’s camp in the hills.

photo judith roumou

photo judith roumou

 

SCULPTED BY Michael Meghiro, her statue was unveiled in 2006. It depicts Lohkay running with a bundle of sugar-cane sticks on her shoulder. If you look closely, you can see that one side of her chest is deformed. Recently there has been an effort to relocate the statute to the top of the Cole Bay Hill as a symbol of her survival in the hills, especially the high ridges above Cul de Sac. Cultural activist Shujah Reiph has been quoted as saying, “We need to put Lohkay on the top of the mountain where she deserves to be.” Wherever the statue stands, One-Tété Lohkay certainly remains a hero to the island and a symbol of emancipation! The legend of One-Tété Lohkay

~ An Icon of Emancipation ~

 

St. Maarten’s Emancipation Day is a time for remembering roots and honouring those who longed for the freedom we take for granted. For generations stories have been told of one such person One-Tété Lokay, and now a statue stands in the Belair Roundabout to give us an image to hold in our minds. She stands for defiance against injustice, for rising up in the face of tyranny and oppression. One-Tété Lohkay is one of the island’s remarkable legends. She has been called a female freedom fighter in St. Maarten’s days of slavery and can be considered an example of rising up against oppression.

The story goes that Lohkay, a young woman or perhaps a girl, was enslaved on a plantation in Dutch St. Maarten. However, being a slave was not for Lohkay; she rebelled and ran away from her “owners.” Lohkay was hunted down by the plantation lords, recaptured and brought back to the plantation. As punishment for the defiance and as a warning to other slaves, the overlords ordered that one of Lohkay’s breasts be cut off. That is how she became known as One-Tété Lohkay.

 

In those days slave women were never allowed to talk back; if they did the masters might call them “insolent” or even “evil.” Historians tell us that it was common practice to mutilate the body of a rebel, as a method of intimidation and even terror to others. To cut the breasts off a woman who was rebellious was not unheard of in those days. Lohkay was told that if she ever disobeyed again, they would cut off her other breast. Lohkay was nursed back to health by her family and friends using natural herbal methods and she eventually stood proud again. Like a true heroine, Lohkay was able rise above the pain and turn that symbol of punishment into a badge of honour.

 

SHE BECAME known to all as One-Tété Lohkay and grew even more courageous and determined to be liberated. Lohkay did escape again and lived alone in the hills, occasionally coming down to visit her people and even to raid the plantations in Cul de Sac for extra supplies. During those raids she wore only a sash around her waist and smeared her body with lard to avoid being wrestled to the ground and recaptured.

 

She is admired by many on the island, because she managed to escape slavery and live freely. The oral history tells that as the slaves were heading out to the fields in the early morning, they could see the smoke from Lohkay’s camp in the hills.

 

SCULPTED BY Michael Meghiro, her statue was unveiled in 2006. It depicts Lohkay running with a bundle of sugar-cane sticks on her shoulder. If you look closely, you can see that one side of her chest is deformed. Recently there has been an effort to relocate the statute to the top of the Cole Bay Hill as a symbol of her survival in the hills, especially the high ridges above Cul de Sac. Cultural activist Shujah Reiph has been quoted as saying, “We need to put Lohkay on the top of the mountain where she deserves to be.” Wherever the statue stands, One-Tété Lohkay

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