community engagement & activities
Engaging & connecting with friends of Haiti.
HAI regularly holds community meetings which provide information for the betterment of the community. HAI also engages in civic and cultural integration, not only to support the Haitian community here in Indiana, but to also help provide cultural perspectives to Missionaries that do work in Haiti.
The Haitian Community
The Haitian Community in Indiana is a relatively young but rapidly expanding community. Leaders throughout the community continually strive to help new residents fully integrate into their new society. One of the main goals of the Haitian Association of Indiana (HAI) is to help the Haitian community integrate into the local social structure and provide civic education by partnering with various resources.
Brilliant colors, naïve perspective, and sly humor characterize Haitian art. Big, delectable foods and lush landscapes are favorite subjects in this land. Going to market is the most social activity of country life, and figures prominently into the subject matter. Jungle animals, rituals, dances, and gods evoke the African past.
Artists paint in fable as well. People are disguised as animals and animals are transformed into people. Symbols take on great meaning. The vivid colors conjure up feelings of vitality and spirit of the people. Haitian art is rooted in the culture of the people. Haitian art and artists are highly reflective of the everyday experiences and life of Haitians. Paintings express the history, the landscape, the struggles and the joy of the people.
Many artists cluster in ‘school’ of painting, such as the Cap-Haïtien school, which features depictions of daily life in the city, the Jacmel School, which reflects the steep mountains and bays of that coastal town, or the Saint-Soleil School, which is characterized by abstracted human forms, and is heavily influenced by Vodou symbolism.
Haitian culture fuses African, French, and West Indian elements. As evidenced today in the clothing Haitian wears, the food they eat and the Gods they worship. This multidimensional ethnic diversity and rich cultural depth and history is reflected in all aspects of the ordinary Haitian life. In Haiti, around 56% of the population identifies as Roman Catholics, while about 30% identify as Protestants. Voodooism also has a major religious influence in Haiti. This mystical practice with West African roots originated during colonial times and plays an important role in Haitian culture.
Value of Education to Haitians
Many Haitian parents who have immigrated to America, moved to give their children an education and a better life. An education is extremely valuable to any Haitian family. However, many parents do not understand grade-level placement and believe their children should be placed based on their age rather than their level of education. Haitian parents also completely rely on the school system for educating their children because they feel it is not their job. Because they feel they have no role in their child’s education, most Haitian parents do not feel the need to attend school events or meetings. However, they are more likely to attend a meeting in regard to their child’s behavior because they believe that establishing discipline and moral development is their responsibility.