Finding strength as a Canoe Woman

Ana Yamileth Regalado is a Canoe Woman, Fish Forever champion, and the community president of Cocalito, a small Garifuna fishing village in the Honduran municipality of Iriona. The community recognizes her as a leading member of the Canoe Women, a self-organized group of 50 local women who fish daily to provide food and economic security to Cocalito’s families.
August 4, 2023

[The following is based on an interview with Ana Yamileth Regalado in January 2023. The transcript is edited for brevity.]  

In the community of Cocalito, we realized that we needed a lot of basic things in the home, and we sometimes didn’t have enough to feed our kids the next day. As women of the community, we got together as a group and formed a leadership group to go fishing to support our homes. We formed our team more than seven years ago.

Today, we are known for being fighters. We are warriors. We get up at 5:00 in the morning. We take on several roles a day. We have a group to go fishing on the river and the sea.

There are 50 women divided into two groups, each with 25 people. And there are more than 100 families supported by these women who go fishing. The women of this community are a source of strength for their home and the economy of the home.

Fishing is something ancestral for us. Our ancestors passed down this practice to us, and we have strengthened ourselves over time. When we go out fishing and bring our fish back, it means income for us.

We help each other; we give each other strength. Here, in this community, life is a daily struggle. We have to fight every day… otherwise, we fail. But I know that the women of this community are brave.

We’re going to keep fighting until this community goes up. Because we want women, above all, to succeed. Let’s not be left behind. What is in the past is in the past. We are starting a new stage in our lives where women already have the strength and the command.

So, my women, let’s go forward always.