Kalinago please

Kalinago please
 
Caribs
The Caribs opting for a more “conscious identity” by reverting to their original name Kalinago

For centuries, they have been known as Caribs.

But Dominica’s Amerindian community say that they now want to be known by their original name – the Kalinago people.

So, why now?

The current Carib, or Kalinago chief, Garnet Joseph, told BBC Caribbean that one of the key reasons for abandoning the name Carib is the “negative connotations that are associated with it”.

Local Carib scholars have been arguing that they can’t be keen on a term that has its roots in colonial times, one that was first coined to refer to Dominica’s indigenous people as “cannibals”.

“We accepted it because it was part of our history that we were taught in school … but we know that this was not the original name of the people,” Mr Joseph told BBC Caribbean.

Those vigorously promoting the use of Kalinago say the name Carib is laden with derogatory connotations, and its use does not foster a sense of ethnic pride “among the Kalinago people”.

Mr Joseph and his council have written to the government of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit asking that Carib be legally replaced by the term Kalinago.

But ahead of that official recognition Dominica’s indigenous people are already using Kalinago to describe themselves, with the local government body in the Carib Territory already being referred to by residents there as the Kalinago Council.

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