Cécile Fatiman

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Cécile Fatiman

Cécile Fatiman (fl. 1791), was a Haitian vodou priestess, a mambo (Voodoo). She is famous for her participation in the vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman, which is considered to be one of the starting points of the Haitian Revolution.

Biography[edit]

Cécile Fatiman was the daughter of an African slave woman and a white Frenchman from Corsica. She and her mother were sold as slaves at Saint Domingue, while her two brothers disappeared in the slave trade.[1] She is described as having long silky hair and green eyes.[1]

In August 1791, Fatiman presided over a ceremony at the Bois Caïman in the role of mambo together with priest Dutty Boukman. Boukman prophesied that the slaves Jean François, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders of a resistance movement and revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue. An animal was sacrificed, an oath was taken, and Boukman and the priestess exhorted the listeners to take revenge against their French oppressors and "[c]ast aside the image of the God of the oppressors."[2] According to the Encyclopedia of African Religion: "Blood from the animal, and some say from humans as well, was given in a drink to the attendees to seal their fates in loyalty to the cause of liberation of Sainte-Domingue."[3] During the ceremony, Cécile Fatiman acted as if she were possessed by the goddess Erzulie.[4] She was also said to have cut the throat of a pig and offered its blood to the spectators.[4] A week later, 1800 plantations had been destroyed and 1000 slaveholders killed.[5][6]

Fatiman was married to Louis Michel Pierrot, a general in the Haitian revolutionary army and later president.[1] She is reported to have lived to the age of 112.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Joan Dayan, Haiti, History, and the Gods, University of California Press, 1998
  2. ^ Charles Arthur and Michael Dash (eds), Libète: A Haiti Anthology (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1999), 36.
  3. ^ Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama. Encyclopedia of African Religion, Volume 1, Sage Publications, p. 131.
  4. ^ a b Richard M. Juang, Africa and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History, ABC-CLIO, 2008.
  5. ^ Sylviane Anna Diouf, Servants of Allah p. 152
  6. ^ John Mason, "African Religions in The Caribbean: Continuity and Change".

References[edit]