ROSEAU, Dominica - The indigenous peoples of Dominica, the Caribs, say that they no longer want to be referred to by the “archaic and outdated” term “Carib” and are urging the Dominica government to help facilitate the change.
In a letter sent to the Ministry of Legal Affairs and copied to the Ministry of Carib Affairs, the Carib Council said it wants the term ‘Carib’ officially changed to ‘Kalinago”.
“While the Council awaits for such changes to be enacted officially, it announces that beginning today it will no longer use the term “Carib,” and instead, will refer to the lands of the Reserve as the “Kalinago Territory,” the governing body as the “Kalinago Council,” and its head as the “Kalinago Chief,” The Council said.
The 1978 Carib Act designated the lands, on which the indigenous people live, as the ‘Carib Reserve,’ and provided for the governance of these lands by an elected ‘Carib Chief’ and ‘Carib Council.’
“The term “Carib” has its roots in colonial times, first utilised to refer to the indigenous people of Dominica as cannibals, and is laden with derogatory connotations.
“Accordingly its continued use does not foster a sense of ethnic pride among the Kalinago people, and hinders attempts to increase the awareness and appreciation of Kalinago people and their contributions by the Dominican community-at-large,” the Council said.
It urged government, members of the media, and all residents of Dominica to recognise the name-change.
Dominica’s 3,000 Caribs live on a 3,700 acre reserve on the island’s east coast and elect their own chief who holds the position for four years.