The name change from Carib Territory to Kalinago Territory is one on many “urgent matters” that will be in for consideration when parliament convenes for the first time since the general election late last year.
Parliament will meet on February 20, according to Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit.
“We also intend to take a couple urgent matters before the parliament, for the parliament consideration,” he said. “One of course has to do with the renaming of the Carib Territory.”
He informed that what is known as the “Carib Territory” will be changed to the “Kalinago Territory” and the “Carib Chief” will be renamed to the “Kalinago Chief.”
Skerrit described the move as very important and a “correction of history as have had articulated by the Kalinago people for many years now.”
He also noted that many historians both locally and otherwise have “corrected that historical wrong” in their publications.
“So they have replaced the word ‘Carib’ with ‘Kalinago’ …” the Prime Minister said.
The matter has been a long running one with leaders of the island’s indigenous people calling for a name change.
Former chief, Garnet Joseph, has in the past expressed disappointment that the proposal to the government was not getting the attention that it deserved, adding that the request for a name change is justified.
The 1978 Carib Act designated the lands of the Territory as the “Carib Reserve,” and provided for the governance of these lands by an elected “Carib Chief” and “Carib Council.”
However, in recent times, leaders of the island’s indigenious people have argued that the word “Carib” has its roots in colonial times, first utilized to refer to them as cannibals and they say it is laden with derogatory connotations.
They say the continued use of the word does not foster a sense of ethnic pride among the people, and hinders attempts to increase the awareness and appreciation of the people and their contributions to Dominica.
They argue that the word ‘Kalinago’ should be used because Father Breton, who lived among the people in Dominica on and off between 1642 and 1653 wrote in his dictionary, “This is the real name of the Caribs of the islands.”
Breton wrote the word as “Callinago”, but the usual phonetic writing today is “Kalinago,” according to historian, Dr. Lennox Honychurch.