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Did you know the Caribbean was named after the Carib Indians?

By May 27, 2018Caribbean, Dominica
Carib Indian basket

Well before Christopher Columbus set sail and “discovered” the Americas the Carib Indians had migrated northward along the Caribbean islands. They originated from the Venezuela area and sailed their dugout canoes from island to island as they colonized them. They were more of a warrior tribe than the Arwaks and Taino they displaced and pushed further north.

Carib Indians chief statues

Statue garden dedicated to past chiefs. Some are missing after the hurricane.

Now a day the only place you will find the Carib (they prefer the name Kalinago) in the entire Caribbean is on the northeast part of Dominica. You see they fought to keep many of the islands, but wave after wave of European colonist and African slaves pushed them off each island. Dominica was the last island to be colonized and as it was the Carib fled up into the mountains and attacked the colonies every now and then. Finally, all they had left was a section in the remote part on the northeast part of Dominica and the British Crown granted them a reserve in 1903.

I tell you all of this as a set up for a half day tour I took to their territory. I set up the tour with Eddison through Danial my boat boy. It was a great tour, but if you do any tours make sure you use one of the operators from PAYS, which is essentially an organization of the boat boys in Portsmouth. The thing that surprised me the most was the length of time it took to get to the Carib Territory that was only 15 miles away, but with as mountainous and winding all the roads are it should be expected.

Carib Indian canoes

Check out the canoes. The rocks are spreading them out and the water is so they don’t dry out.

Once there, $10 US gets you a 45-minute tour where they tell you a little about the history of the Kalinago and then walk you through a reconstructed traditional village explaining different aspects and the way of life for the Carib in the past. Part of this included how they made their dugout canoes (I did not know they keep water in them so they do not dry out and pile rocks in the middle to slowly spread the canoe wider), dying and weaving baskets (they use a special reed and soak it in different mud to color it), homes (three different types of shelter depending on the activity), legends, folklore, and much more. Even though they were still rebuilding from Hurricane Maria I still found the tour enlightening and even bought a beautiful traditional basket. There was a large chest size one with a lid I loved but being on a boat I could fit it. This one will have candles, sea glass, and other small items in it and sit on my table as a center piece. What do you think?

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