Dominica holds one week of celebration of its Kalinago (Carib) people

The country’s its first inhabitants

Kalinago Dominica

To commemorate and honour the resilience of the “last existing indigenous peoples in the world,” Dominica is holding a festive celebration to its first inhabitants—the Kalinago people.

This is the 41st edition of the Kalinago Week, a week-long revelry with a variety of activities that highlight the heritage and culture of Dominica’s Kalinago tribe. It began last September 16 and will last until September 24.

The celebration, according to the website of the government of Dominica, is held at the same time as the 1930 Kalinago uprising where “armed police with orders to search for smuggled goods, clashed with disgruntled members of the indigenous population” in the Carib Territory. The clashes left several Caribs hurt and two dead.

The Kalinago Week pays homage to the resistance and the resilience of the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, especially in Dominica where the tribe “played a crucial role in the recognition of Dominica as the Nature Island of the Caribbean,” according to Dominica News Online.

This year, events included a youth rally, debates, and honouring of Carib Elders. There were also the annual Miss Kalinago and Princess Natari competitions, a memorial service paying tribute to the last surviving victim of the 1930 Kalinago resistance, Kalinago dress day, and a food and craft exposition offering cultural cuisines among others.

The Kalinago were known as the Caribs who originated from South America. “After the coming of Christopher Columbus and European settlers in the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Kalinago escaped to the isolated eastern side of the island and took with them rituals, rites, as well as a way of living reaching back to the original settlers of the island,” the report said.

In the early 1700s, when the British colonizers reached Dominica, Kalinago was left with 232 acres of land to inhabit. Their territory was then extended to 3700 acres in 1903.

At present, the Kalinagos continue to live harmoniously with the people of Dominica. And they’re also one of the beneficiaries of the current administration’s massive housing project.

The Kalinagos struggle to have a home of their own, since they come from a territory. Today, these people will be able to receive houses built under the Chinese funded project.

Aside from this, there are other housing projects that are currently being constructed throughout Dominica. Some are funded by international organisations, while some projects are funded by the island’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.

There are eight housing projects that are supported by the CBI programme, and they are being overseen by a private developing company named MMC Development Ltd., which has been working closely with the government since Tropical Storm Erika struck in 2015.

Climate-resilient houses are being built in the areas of Joe Burton, Scotts Head, Eggleston, Grand Bay Ville, Canefield, Vieille Case, Paix Bouche, and Woodford Hill.