- Santa Rosa Carib Community of Arima, Trinidad
- Kairi Tukuienyo Karinya: “Revisiting the Historical Record December 1st, 1999 marks the 300th anniversary of the Amerindian liberation of the Arena forest.”
- Queen Justa Werges: Obituary
- The Amerindians of Trinidad and Tobago: a brief page prepared by Trinidad’s steelpan organization, PanTrinbago.
- The Story of the Caribs and Arawaks, by Kim Johnson: The author of the site is a respected Trinidadian journalist and author, producing here a very readable and informative website providing a historical overview of the history of the Amerindians of Trinidad. See this site in conjunction with the links to Rene Bermudez Negron’s website below.
- Speech by Prime Minister Basdeo Panday of Trinidad and Tobago, at the 2000 International Gathering of Indigenous Peoples at the Santa Rosa Carib Community Centre in Arima: PM Panday establishes a Day of Recognition for Trinidad’s Amerindian heritage and promises to consider a grant of land for the Carib Community.
Ruins of Absence, Presence of Caribs:
(Post) Colonial Representations of Aboriginality in Trinidad and Tobago
By Maximilian C. Forte, PhD
Published by the University Press of Florida, 2005.
This, the first book on the Santa Rosa Carib Community of Arima, Trinidad, is based on four years of ethnographic and archival research.
PAGES ON AMERINDIAN TRAIL.COM:
- Amerindian Trail.com: From being the first populace, to now on the verge of extinction, the Amerindian cause is to lobby the Governments in the region for rightful ownership to land and address the injustices endured throughout the centuries to the present day….In recent times, tribes from the far north, (Canada) have returned to the islands to establish their roots with Amerindians along the trail, proving them to be first people to inhabit this part of the world.
- The Santa Rosa Amerindian Community is the only organized area of Amerindian survival in Trinidad and Tobago. They were formally recognized as representative of the Indigenous Amerindians of the twin-islands state by the National Government in 1980. Linked pages on-site: Amerindian Tales, Amerindian Names, Rebellion In Trinidad, Cassava Processing, Hyarima
- Amerindian Rebellion in Trinidad, 1699: Eighty years after the establishment of the Arenales mission, nearpresent-day San Rafael, the Amerindians revolted. What had happened?
- Bitter Cassava Processing: The surviving Amerindians in this area still use basically the samemethod for preparing manioc bread.
- Hyarima: The last great leader of this nation’s indigenous people was Hyarima. He was a Nepuypo – a sub-tribe of the Carinepogoto (Carib) whose villages were established throughout northeast Trinidad.
Links From René Bermúdez Negrón’s Megasite on Trinidad Spanish and Amerindian History
- Links From René Bermúdez Negrón’s Megasite on Trinidad Spanish and Amerindian History–300 Years Of Spanish Presence By René Bermúdez Negrón: materials on the Spanish governors of Trinidad, the aboriginal history of Trinidad, Caribs, Arawaks, general overviews of Trinidad’s history.
- About the Aboriginal Peoples that inhabited America: “Trinidad was physically and geographically part of prehispanic America, and was therefore part of all its process of population. There are three general theories about the arrival of human groups to the continent: immigration from Asia; from the South Pacific and the arrival to America of people of diverse origins such as southern Asia and even Europe….”
- The arrival of the Spanish or shall I call it the Encounter The Third Voyage & The Discovery of Trinidad: “The Third Voyage, 1498-1500 Columbus left the port of Sanlucar in southern Spain on May 30, 1498 with eight ships, bound for the New World on his third voyage. After stopping at the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira, the fleet arrived at Gomera in the Canary Islands on June 19….”
- The Arawaks: General ethnohistoric and descriptive overview—origins, social organization, arts, housing, dress, diet, agriculture, defense, transport, housing, religion
- Spanish Governors of Trinidad and “Men of Mark”: List and Biographies
RELATED ORGANIZATIONAL WEBSITES:
These are the websites of Trinidadian organizations which have actual working ties and/or exchange relationships with the Carib Community of Arima and that, in some way, have worked to support them or worked in conjunction with some of its members.
- Turtle Island Children — the autochthonic voices of Amerikua, (the land of perpetual wind.) Turtle Island Children: Promoting the Bioregional Vision.
- John John Enterprises Eco-art from the St. Ann’s/East Dry River Watershed
- Paria Springs ECO COMMUNITY: Paria Springs, a nature lodge in Trinidad, the Caribbean’s best ecotourism destination, where you experience South America’s vast diversity of flora and fauna on a Caribbean Island. The best of both worlds.
Newspaper Articles on the Carib Community of Trinidad,
THE NATIONAL LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICE (NALIS) of Trinidad and Tobago:
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE GLI GLI
Stories by Simon Lee Sunday Guardian February 27, 2000 Page 23:
Night had already swallowed the palm thick slopes of the Carib Territory on Dominica’s east coast when I reached Salybia, the main hamlet. I plunged into the darkness, feeling my way down a track that leads to the Atlantic shore. The muted glow of a kerosene lamp in the open window of a board house spurred me on down through the trees. Further down I fumbled on the dim outline of another board house. Silhouetted in the window were two old heads. One motioned me to the back of the house. I called at the open doorway and from the interior gloom emerged Jacob Frederick.
CARIB POLITICS 500 YEARS LATER
Tracy Kim Assing Sunday Guardian January 30, 2000 Page 12:
Removed 500 years from their ancestral cultural and traditions, is the Carib community in Arima clinging to an already lost heritage? The death of Carib Queen Justa Werges on January 16, at the age of 73, left a void in the community as it seeks to locate a new queen. But as Tracy Kim Assing discovered when she trekked to the foothills of Arima last week, there are many other gaps in the administration of the Carib community.
CELEBRATE OUR CARIB HERITAGE
Sandra Chouthi Features Desk Express Section 2 June 29, 1998 Page 1:
The Carib people want to create their own heritage centre, but there is one minor obstacle: they have few artifacts to work with. The Santa Rosa Carib Community Centre at Paul Mitchell Street, Arima, has several items made out of coconut leaves – a shield, a hummingbird, and a catfish. There are also a wooden grater, coulev or cibukan, which the Amerindians used to squeeze cassava, and a sifter, made out of terite. None of these things, however is enough to give the groups of schoolchildren and foreign researchers and professors who visit the centre each year, the information they need about the Amerindians’ presence in Trinidad.
REVISING THE ARENA AFFAIR
Trinidad Guardian November 30, 1999 Page 21:
Tomorrow marks the 300th anniversary of an event in Trinidad’s history about which little is recorded and few people know – a bloody uprising against colonialism by the country’s original inhabitants and the cruel reprisal by the governing authorities. It has become known as the Arena Massacre but as Guardian Features Writer LISA ALLEN-AGOSTINI reports, the descendants of the nation’s first people are seeking to set the record straight and get the history recorded right.
Trinidad Guardian November 30, 1999 Page 21
There is a statue in Arima commemorating Hyarima, an Amerindian cacique and the Amerindian people of Trinidad and Tobago. Below is an inscription about the Carib warrior leader.
HOW ABOUT AN AMERINDIAN HERITAGE DAY
Excerpts from a story by Al Akong Independent October 1, 1999 Page 23:
…the indigenous Caribbean people gave us the sturdy pirogue…
Today we hear no cries, no entreaties for recognition, or against oppression, political or other wide, of the Amerindians, who were the original West Indians, Trinidadians too, and were all but wiped out from the Antilles when the Europeans arrived here to run the Caribbean.
MEDINA IS NEW CARIB QUEEN, By Marlise Andrews, Trinidad Guardian, March 28, 2000, Page 6 —“Valentina Medina, of Mausica Lands, Arima, has been named Carib Queen for life, at an election held on Sunday at the Santa Rosa Carib Community Centre. Medina, 66, was among three others who were nominated as successors after Justa Werges, queen for the past 11 years, passed away in January. She was named after nominees, Julie Calderon, Mary Hernandez and Norma Stephens, withdrew their names for “various reasons.”
WAY OF THE SHAMAN, By Laura Ann Phillips, Trinidad Express, October 11, 2000 This article consists of an interview with Ricardo Cruz, the young shaman of Trinidad’s Carib Community.
…FROM THE DAILY EXPRESS (TRINIDAD)…
- “Carib Queen dies at 84”, By Trevor Burnett, Trinidad Express, Wednesday, January 19, 2000.
- “Caribs Celebrate Santa Rosa Festival”, Trinidad Express, Monday, 24 August, 1998, Trevor Burnett: “Carib men lift their patron Rosa de Lima to begin their annual procession through the streets of Arima…”
- “T&T goes after billion-dollar travel trade: Rustic resort to lure eco-tourists”, Trinidad Express, Wednesday, 04 February, 1998, Sandra Chouthi: “GLEN Christo Adonis, wearing on his hips a belt from which hangs a scabbard in a long leather pouch, climbs a mandarin tree with the agility of a monkey. Adonis, who lives on Calvary Hill, Arima, is of Carib and East Indian and African ancestry…”
- “T&T Caribs on the move”, Trinidad Express, Letter of the Day, Friday, 19 June, 1998, Beryl Almarales: “The members of the Santa Rosa Carib Community have therefore decided to establish a research centre at our headquarters on Paul Mitchell Street, Arima, and to mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus on our shores with the opening of this centre…”
- “Caribs upset after meeting with PM aborted”, Trinidad Express, Tuesday, 22 September, 1998, Trevor Burnett: “In a rare news conference, the Carib community of Arima, led by Councillor Ricardo Bharat, voiced dissatisfaction on Sunday over an aborted meeting with Prime Minister Basdeo Panday previously scheduled for between September 25-26…”
- “Arawak Artifacts Found at Harris Promenade”, by Vidhisha Mannah, Trinidad Express, Saturday, 03 January, 1998: [look two-thirds of the way down this page] “A number of items which could provide an insight into the lifestyle of the early inhabitants of Trinidad have been unearthed by workmen engaged in the redevelopment of Harris Promenade, San Fernando…”
- “John Stollmeyer Returns to the Earth”, by Olivia Mejias, Trinidad Express, Wednesday, 06 January, 1999: “…which he is now planning to build an Amerindian hut in Las Cuevas and live there in harmony with the Earth…”
- “Out of the Woods: Former copy writer applies Amerindian ethics to her eco-craft”, by Deborah John, Trinidad Express, Sunday, 16 April, 2000: “…Nothing must be wasted and things that are not biodegradable must be recycled and this is her way, she says, of applying Amerindian ethics to our environment. ‘The Amerindians don’t waste anything. Things like discarded tubs and metal frames remain in landfill forever unless we find some way to use them’…”
- “Remember the Amerindians”, by Kamal Persad, Trinidad Express, Sunday, 04 December, 1999: [look three quarters of the way down this page to find the article] “…The surviving descendants of the Amerindian genocide in Trinidad have been commemorating the last great Amerindian act of resistance and rebellion against Spanish and Catholic imperial domination over the last week and these activities will continue during the month of December…”
- “Mystery of the Pitch Lake”, by Afiya Butler, Trinidad Express, Monday, 10 April, 2000: “…According to Amerindian legend, the Pitch Lake in La Brea was punishment from the Gods dealt to the Chaima, a powerful Amerindian tribe. To them, the hummingbird was sacred. But one day after an important victory, the chief of the tribe celebrated by killing and eating the bird. This angered the gods…”
- “Raleigh’s Tall Tales”, by Kim Johnson, Trinidad Express, Sunday, 04 July, 1999: [look half way down this page to find the article] “Despite the six-cent commemorative stamps issued in 1935, 1938 and 1953 by the colony of Trinidad and Tobago, Sir Walter Raleigh never claimed to have discovered the Pitch Lake. He knew that the aboriginal inhabitants of Trinidad were long familiar with the pitch lake-pitch is an Amerindian word….Yet his most outrageous tales were swallowed, such as that of the Ewaipanoma tribe, who ‘have their eyes in their shoulders, and mouths in the middle of their breasts, and that a long train of hair groweth backward between their shoulders’…”
- “Trinidad’s first governor confused El Dorado with fountain of youth”, by Kim Johnson, Trinidad Express, Sunday, 27 June, 1999: [look 80% of the way down this page to find the article] “Juan Ponce de Leon (1466-1521) sought the Fountain of Youth in Florida. But El Dorado-The Gilded Man, an Amerindian king who annointed himself daily with gold dust- was supposed to live somewhere in Peru. Alas, like any rainbow’s pot of gold, his kingdom retreated from its seekers. It migrated east and ended up in North-eastern Venezuela or Guyana. Thus Trinidad became important as the launching pad for its conquest. Antonio de Berrio, Trinidad’s first Governor, was already an old retired soldier when he was recruited to the search for El Dorado…”
- “British Feared ‘Cocoa Panyols’”, by Kim Johnson, Trinidad Express, Sunday, 29 August, 1999: [look 25% of the way down this page to find the article] “…Also known as Cocoa Panyols or just Spanish, they were of Spanish/Amerindian/ African stock, and came in their numbers during the last century from a Venezuela racked by revolution and civil war. Even more would have been invited to fill Trinidad’s post-emancipation labour shortage, instead of East Indians, but high government officials thought them ‘a dangerous and criminal class’…”
- HYARIMA AND THE SAINTS: A PAGEANT PLAY FOR SANTA ROSA. By F. E. M. Hosein, 1931—Also available in the following formats:
- The Antique Saints of Trinidad—a valuable synopsis of historical information on the veneration of particular saints and the Madonna in Spanish colonial Trinidad, with further information on the Caribs and the Santa Rosa Festival in Arima, and its mission history.
- “Around Arima”, a page by a Trinidadian national: “Situated in the northeast of Trinidad, in the middle of the East-West Corridor, Arima was originally settled by Caribs and other Amerindians who called the area “Naparima.” My main objective for visiting Arima was to seek out the last remnants of Carib culture in Trinidad. My father’s family claims Carib ancestry, so I’ve always been curious about this part of my heritage. While in Arima I visited the free Amerindian museum at Cleaver Woods…”
- Banyan Archive Database: A complete listing of all video footage gathered by Banyan, including a large variety of footage on Caribbean Amerindians
- Summary of the Banyan Archives: a condensed listing of major television programs produced by Banyan, organized according to subject category, including Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean.
- Banyan Programme Catalogue
- CCA7 Art Camp, featuring an Indigenous Exhibit in Trinidad—extract: “During the months of July and August 2003, Caribbean Contemporary Arts hosted its third Art Camp for young people. The CCA7 Art Camp 2003: B.C. The New Old World, which ran for two weeks, got its name from the upcoming exhibition in the InterAmericas Space at CCA7, Centre for the Contemporary Arts, ‘THE NEW OLD WORLD/El nuevo viejo mundo’ by Puerto Rican artist, Marisol Villanueva. The exhibition documents the peoples, traditions, and landscapes of indigenous peoples in the Spanish and formerly Spanish Americas…. The participants, with the guidance of Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez, Chief of the Santa Rosa Carib Community in Arima, learnt weaving skills and made fans and weaved finger games….”
- Review of “The Fragrance of Gold”, by Kim Johnson
- Gouverneur Chapeau Paille: Woodford’s Years—a page on some historical aspects of the years in office of Governor Ralph Woodford.
- iMDiversity.com, MG Almanac – Caribbean- Trinidad & Tobago – Jamaica – Guyana, by Charu Gupta, MGV Contributor: “When Columbus arrived in Trinidad and Tobago in 1498, these islands were home to approximately 35,000 Amerindians. Conquest, submission and decimation of the Amerindians soon followed and by 1784, there were 4,500 non-natives and only 1,495 Amerindians…”
- International Indigenous Gathering held in Trinidad, by Genetha Bimechi Ali: UCTP Newsletter, on the August 2000 Gathering of Indigenous Peoples at the Santa Rosa Carib Community in Arima, Trinidad—“Arima, Trinidad – The Third Gathering of First Nations People in ‘Iere’ (Trinidad) was held from August 26 – 30th, 2000. Delegates from Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Puerto Rico, the United States, Belize Canada and Iere were in attendance…”.
- Karibik Reisen—“Königin statt Häuptling: Eine Frau ist Oberhaupt der Kariben-Indianer Trinidads”: a page in German on Trinidad’s Caribs, featuring Carib Queen Valentina Medina and Shaman Cristo Adonis.
- MANZANARE Design Solutions: this Trinidadian design and marketing firm held an exhibition in Trinidad and Paris of its various furniture and handicraft items inspired by Amerindian themes. The title of its exhibition was “Amerindian Heritage: Guyana, Brazil”. The pieces tend to be quite imaginative and interesting, ranging from chairs to drums.
- The Missions in Trinidad: A detailed historical overview of the establishment and operation of Amerindian missions by the Catholic Church throughout Trinidad’s colonial history, prepared by Paria Publishing Company.
- “Queen of a Forgotten People”, by Mychelle Loubon, in Caribbean Voice, April 2003—an article on current Carib Queen, Valentina Medina, her family and her positions the revival and maintenance of Carib traditions
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Trinidad and Tobago—the People,” from the Internet Archive:excerpt—“ The original inhabitants of Trinidad were chiefly Arawak. Although there are inhabitants of the town of Arima who claim descent from Carib royalty, it is doubtful that the land was settled by Caribs. Tobago was frequently visited by American Indians, probably both Arawak and Carib, but was not settled before the arrival of Columbus….”
- “SPIRIT OF THE AMERICAS: Recent finds have thrown new light on the Caribbean’s rich Amerindian past. But lack of funds for archaeology, and new development on many islands, mean we’ll continue to lose much more than we preserve. Alex de Verteuil explains,” Caribbean Beat Magazine, from the Internet Archive: Excerpt—“ Trinidad is roughly 10 km from Venezuela, and was the gateway for human migration from South America to the southern Caribbean. Amerindians crossed in their canoes over the narrow dividing strip of water and settled the island, which eventually became a jumping-off point for further voyaging up the island chain. The island’s unique position made it very important in the Amerindian history of the region. Throughout Trinidad, middens have been found bearing an assortment of pottery sherds, stone axe-heads, animal bones and various bits and pieces of everyday life. These middens were the garbage dumps of the early village dwellers and, today, contain invaluable clues to the lives of the people who lived in South America and the southern Caribbean before the arrival of Columbus, 500 years ago. But despite its rich and important Amerindian heritage, there has been little attention paid to archaeology in Trinidad. In fact, there is no qualified archaeologist on the island. A government-appointed committee exists to advise the Ministry of Culture on archaeological matters, and at the university there is an Archaeology Centre, but funding to operate it is minimal. Finds are housed in a small bungalow on the campus in crumbling cardboard boxes. These have been carefully labelled and catalogued by Archie Chauharjasingh, a former civil servant, who now, as assistant at the centre, devotes much of his time to the cause of archaeology in Trinidad…”
- “MEDICINE MAN, Herbalist Francis Morean goes back to Trinidad’s Spanish and Carib past to retrieve the remedies of old. By Peter Rickwood, photography by Mark Meredith,” from Caribbean Beat Magazine, at the Internet Archive: Excerpt—“ From a passageway beside the Zeb-a-Femme, a conservatively dressed young man strides into the shop. In shirt, tie and crisp slacks, Francis Morean looks the upwardly mobile banker. In fact, he’s one of Trinidad’s foremost experts on herbs, owner of the shop and a contemporary link in the cultural exchange that began 500 years ago….”
- Paria Publishing, on the History of Tobago—interesting notes on the Carib history of Tobago, for example: “….one such myth had to do with Caribs and how they maintained the notion that Tobago was the ‘earthly paradise’ of their people. In their belief system, the island contained a ‘porthole’ to heaven. When approaching the end of their lives, Caribs would leave other islands to the north and even as far away as ‘down the main’. They would turn the bows of their long canoes to beach them on some shingled shore in Tobago, journey into the mountains of the island’s central ridge and find the ’porthole to paradise’….”
- “The Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago”, by Merle Hodge, 1975—a highly readable piece on interactions between ethnic groups in Trinidad, the role of ‘race’, and labour patterns, with some notes on the Caribs—extract: “There is even a handful of Caribs in Trinidad, when this, the indigenous has died out completely from most of the other islands….”. There are also interesting notes on the remaining Carib population in the late 1700s—“Tobago was declared a desert island. Everyone was meant to leave it. But a remnant population lingered on, made up of ex-slaves, intermingled with the black Caribs who had come from St. Vincent, and Europeans who had somehow missed their returning boats….”.
- Trinidad and Tobago, A Brief New World History—an excellent presentation of detailed information on a wide array of aspects of the history of Trinidad and Tobago, featuring early colonial maps, photographs, and detailed references.
- Trinidad and Tobago, History & People—a brief page of historical and demographic information on Trinidad and Tobago, provided by the Smithsonian Institution with young students in mind.