The Kalinago (Formerly Carib Indians)

Dominica's indigenous people - properly known as the Kalinago - were the original inhabitants of our island and have a 3,700 acre Territory on Dominica's east coast.

The present Carib chief is Charles Williams, elected in July 2014.


For more detailed information, please visit KalinagoTerritory.com

Carib Crafts

Map of Dominica

Dominica's First People live on a 3,700 acre Territory on Dominica's east coast that was set aside for them in 1903. They number approximately 3,000 and elect their own chief who holds the position for 4 years.

Besdies the warm and friendly people, other attractions in the Kalinago Territory include its many craft shops, the L'Escalier Tete Chien, Horseback Ridge and Isulukati Falls, as well as the Karifuna Cultural Group.

Don't miss a Kalinago tradition - casava bread. Be sure to stop at a bakery and sample this wonderful bread which is made from the local cassava roout and often flavoured with coconut and ginger.


Related Links

The GliGli Project

The 1902 Report

 

Dominica's First People by Dr. Lennox Honychurch

 

History

In 1493, Christopher Columbus landed in Dominica with his men and his ships in search of gold and fortune. To his dismay, he found only rivers, rich volcanic soil, mountains and the Caribs (now called the Kalinago)! The Caribs had settled on Dominica, but their ancestors had come from South America: down the Orinoco river and then up the Caribbean Sea where they settled on the most rugged of the islands in order to protect themselves from enemies. The Caribs welcomed Columbus and his men and in return Columbus worked them, almost to the verge of extinction.

There are only 3000 Kalinago remaining after years of brutal treatment by the Spanish, French and English. They live in eight villages on the East Coast of Dominica. Collectively, these villages are called the Kalinago Territory. The Kalinago have their own chief and also a representative in the house of assembly. They tend to keep to themselves and their culture has remained very much unchanged compared to other areas of the island. They reputedly use 300 different herbs for medicine -- some of the best bush doctors hail from the Territory. Dances, traditions, legends, and beliefs have been kept alive by the elders who pass on theses traditions through Story-Telling. The language is only spoken by a few people today but their dances are being performed by Karifuna, their dance group.

The Kalinago Territory is well worth a visit. It is almost spiritual how one is flung Centuries back into a cool, calm place with the most beautiful group of people, amidst the straw huts and baskets made by the best artisans. You might never want to leave but you would have to unless you could prove that you have Carib Ancestry!

Karifuna Cultural Group
The Karifuna Cultural Group is made up of individuals from the Carib Territory who are preserving traditional Carib dance, music and performances.
Karifuna Music
Karifuna Dancers

 


100th Anniversary of the Carib Territory
Dominica's Caribs celebrated 100 years of the Carib Reserve in June/July 2003 with the following activities:
Monday, July 7th Art and Craft Exhibition - Sineku Resource Centre
Friday, July 11th School Dance Festival
Thursday, July 17th Lecture by Dr. Lennox Honychurch
Saturday, July 19th Cultural Activities
Sunday, July 20th Bat-Coco Competition
Wednesday, July 23rd Women's Activity
Thursday,. July 24th Language Symposium

 


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