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Dominica Indigenous Tribes

March 8th, 2007 (at 08:15am) Written by: Chris

Though Arawak tribes once inhabited Dominica, the Carib (kalinago) Indians either killed them or drove them away. There is an old history myth that the Caribs would eat the Arawak men and would take their wives. But by the time Columbus arrived in 1493 the Caribs were firmly in control of the island. Though many Spanish ships sailed to this island, the Caribs continuously kept any would be settlers at bay.

Originally the Arawak settled on the island was known as the Orinoco, but when the Kalinago tribe of Caribs took control of the island. They named Dominica “Wai’tukubuli” meaning “Tall is her body.”

One of the most interesting things about the eventual European takeover of Dominica is that, unlike on many other islands, the native Caribs still live on the island today, even though the British wipe out large numbers of the tribe. In 2003, Dominica celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the establishment of the Carib Reserve.

Entry Filed under: Indigenous Tribes

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Comment by Carib Language
2007-07-09 15:19:10

The Arawaks were not driven away. The women intermarried with the Carib men. Modern day Kalinago people are a mix of Arawak and Carib, and the language is an Arawakan language. Linguists used to call it “Island Carib” but in the language of the Kalinago the name is Karifuna. The name Waitukubuli is made up of 2 Arawak words and can be translated to mean “Its/her body is tall” or “Its/her body is long” or “Its/her body is big.”

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