The kalinagos, a case for reparations

Frederick wants a level playing field in the reparation matter
Frederick wants a level playing field in the reparation matter

Kalinago historian, Cozier Frederick, has made a strong case for a level playing field for Dominica’s indigenous people as moves continue to obtain reparations from Britain for African slavery and the near eradication of the indigenous people of the Caribbean.

Speaking at the Emancipation Lecture held at the Baracoon Building on the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard last week, Frederick said that the case of the Kalinagos should go hand in hand with that of the Africans.

“Our struggle has to move along with the African struggle,” he stated.

He said the Kalinagos were “squashed” into the rugged terrains of the north east when they refused to be slaves, and thus the idea to destroy them was born.

He noted that in order for the Kalinago people to survive in the capitalist enterprise “that brought in slavery”, they need economic empowerment, and they need to get themselves out of the “destitute situation” that they are in.

“It’s not a level playing field,” he argued. “The issue for reparation and the issues for the Kalinago as part of this reparation project are to level the playing field and to some extent (to) bring back some level of empowerment for the Kalinago people.”

Frederick also pointed out that it is “still very evident today” of the long standing plight of the indigenous people who were left devoid of basic amenities such as electricity, water, land ownership, purchasing a vehicle, among others.

“When you travel out of the community you go into a wider African Dominican community, and you see a different material condition. You are in a situation where everything seems to be against you,” he said adding that the Kalinago has come to the realization that they are being treated as third class citizens in Dominica.

“You go to Marigot, for example, or even Castle Bruce and you see the wall houses, the pickup trucks and you don’t see that within the Kalinago territory and why is that so?” he asked.

Meanwhile Chairman of the Reparations Committee, Dr. Damien Dublin, said that British legal firm, Leigh Day will partner with a Caribbean teams of lawyers on the reparation matter.

He explained that the firm was chosen because it recently won compensation for hundreds of Kenyans tortured by the British colonial government during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950′s. There was an out of court settlement to the tune of $30.5-million in that matter.

Dublin is of the view that one very important aspect of the reparation is reconciliation and disclosed that among a 10- point action plan proposed by CARICOM is a full formal apology from European countries stating and recognizing that atrocities were done.

He said the role of the Rastafarian movement is also very important in the process.

“And we think that a formal apology needs to be extended to the Rastafarian movement for the injustices done to the Rastafarians right here in Dominica,” he opined.

According to Dublin, the Reparations Committee is also in support of the erecting of a monument in commemoration of the Kalinago struggle.

“The reparation struggle is just ethical and necessary,” he remarked.

The lecture was held on the topic: The case for Repatriations: Repairing the Consequences of Slavery.”

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27 Comments

  1. La voix
    August 6, 2014

    The issue of reparation is a complex subject and we should not reduce it to racial prejudice or color differentiation amongs people which is a completely different subject.
    I don’t think this subject should be linked with the indigenous people struggle because they were never captured as slaves however if the region is compensated then they would benefit from any reparation. The point of concern is what happens to the wealth of our grandparents before they came to the Americas? Should we have part of it also? Why go ask the colonisers for compensation when our grand parents may have left fortunes for their children and they are have not yet received it. Should we not establish who our ancestors were first before we can go and make an agreement of how much is owed to us. The issue of reparation is not just an issue of payment is is also an opportunity to link the people of this region to their ancestors to allow a connection that can expand beyond dollars and sense.

  2. SamsGutter
    August 6, 2014

    Dominicans, those of African descent and European descent definitely treated the Kalinago people as third class citizens. I remember them being called “ingin” and belittled when they left the “reservation”. So yes there is a need for reparations and recognition of the Kalinago people for contribution to Dominican society.

  3. Fight for Justice
    August 5, 2014

    Is Cozier Frederick a historian as he was described in the news clip?

  4. anonymous
    August 5, 2014

    I must be seeing a different territory when I drive through from what Frederick is alluding to in terms of comparing it to neighbouring villages. Just recently I remarked that there are more new concrete structures going up in the territory than any other community nearby. The impression that I have I is that the people of the territory are not as destitute as they once were. I do not think that they face different economic hardships than that of other communities. The key issue which needs addressing is that of land ownership. otherwise it is counterproductive to continue perpetuating marginalization while at the same time wanting to be empowered.

  5. Dominican2
    August 5, 2014

    Dominican what’s your point about how Kalinagos were portrayed by Europeans? You mean the Lying Europeans who met Waitukubuli inhabited by the Kalinagos and made up stories to their European leaders? You need to go study your island’s history. Does it burn you that whites can relate to Kalinagos and vice versa? And that Kalinagos may be right to think they are better than blacks? At least they refused to be any white man slaves that’s much more than blacks can say.

  6. Francisco Telemaque
    August 5, 2014

    The Caribbean Indian issue is a totally different issue you see: they the Dominica indigenes just as the American Indians (indigenous), were hound and brutalized by the Spanish, whatever happened to the American Indian, and the Caribbean Indian, the government of Spain seem totally responsible. And let us be specific, the the Spanish are more responsible for the dilemma of the Caribbean Indians than anyone else.

    Incidentally, the Spanish are not altogether white! Cortez in my opinion was not actually white; he did as much damage to the American Indians, in Mexico, and elsewhere. Those of us who lived in Europe can spot someone of Spanish decent, from a hundred miles away.

    So, this historian may have to sue the government of Spain for the almost total eradication of his people, However, there is no comparison between Slavery, and what the Carib Indians of Dominica suffered. At least history taught us that the Caribs fought, and in some cases took their very own life’s by suicide rather than been enslaved.

    The African slaves tolerated slavery, though a few such as the Morons of Jamaica escaped successfully, Even when Vessey Denmark Telemaque led the insurrection here in America, he and those who followed him when they were caught they were executed. And indeed I am a descendant of Vessey Denmark Telemaque, and also the Judge who prior to passing sentence on the house slave in Haiti who preyed on the superstitious slaves who said in his court ” no man on earth has any power over her, and can do nothing to touch her.” Mr. Judge Telemaque then said to her, since you have power to know and tell tell to the slaves you prey on, before I pass sentence on you; tell me what my sentence will be!

    This mulatto would woman could not answer, hence, he instructed his aids to cut all her hair off her head, leaving her with a balled head, and ordered her to work in the fields with the slaves she fooled all the years, thus becoming a joke to the slaves. That is also taught in history, in some Universities, the same as the Vessey Denmark Insurrection.

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  7. DFR
    August 5, 2014

    Who will be the payors and who will be the payees. I am not aware of any pure indigenous people in DA. As a matter of fact the majority of people in DA have some traces of another group. forward we must go ! Bury this reparation idea. It does more harm than good.

  8. Mamizoo
    August 5, 2014

    I totally agree with you Mr Frederick. We need to do better than that. We cannot cry foul when we are committing the same foul.
    I must admit that there has been some slight improvement towards equal participation and involvement but much more needs to be done.

    On the issue of reparation it would be not just logistically smart to include the kalinago people but also morally right to do so. Slavery and colonialism have not only affected African people but also the Kalinago people.

  9. Francisco Telemaque
    August 5, 2014

    Everybody is looking for something free; free money seems to be the order of the day! Slavery was abolished about four hundred plus years ago. Not a single one of the emancipated slaves remains alive, yet there are some who wish to benefit money from the spilt blood of the departed slaves.

    In Dominica, no one can point out any burial grave of a single dead slave, which can be linked to any surviving relatives in the country, yet we crave a few pence from the British for keeping our people in bondage for four hundred years. The British were not the only people involved into Slavery, and the slave trade. The Dutch, French, and the Portuguese were co-conspirators, supported by many Black African Kings, and Tribal Chiefs. Are we going to sue the nations of West Africa for the crimes of the tribal chiefs and kings who captures our ancestors, and kept tied and guarded as animals waiting on the slave traders to take them away?

    It is one thing to blame white people for enslaving our people, nevertheless, how much of the blame should our ancestors share? Let us be truthful, and fare about it: Black people sold us, their very own Black people into slavery, and that’s the truth!

    Without the corroboration of our very own ancestors the white’s could not have gone into any place in West Africa, and capture (steal) millions of people, and brought them to the American continent, and the West Indies. So, whereas the vicious politicians in the Caribbean, Dominica included may wish to profit from the brutality, and scared flesh of the dead slaves, it is not going to be as easy as they predict profit off the dead. If Dominica, and the rest of the Caribbean needed some form of reparation for the cruel act of slavery, the island leaders should have demanded that at the moment the British decided to force the nations into independence.

    I suppose in Dominica’s case we were so busy, and eager to chase the British, and all white people out of Dominica, we lost all sense of reality, and thought nothing about seeking reparation them. Even at that the British government gave the then Dominica government fifty million pounds as a package that could get our nation started. In the 1970’s (fifty million pounds), translated into approximately two hundred-forty ($240,000,000.00) million dollars, and that could have gone a very long way. Nevertheless, because we fail to use our God given commonsense; as usual, we ensured a black and white Elephant, we call Cane Field Airport. And that’s the way we live in our country, anything idiotic that’s what we indulge into. As far as I am concern that pittance donation given by the British, to me resembles reparation for the few slaves who arrived in Dominica and sold to owners on other islands in the Caribbean.

    Note that Dominica was not a place where there were many field slaves, the house slave were more aparent; nevertheless, they shipped the slaves from Goree island directly to Dominica where they were sold at the old Market in Roseau. When I was a boy, I stood and sat on two blocks on which the slaves stood on as they were examined by the prospective buyer. Payment for an act of cruelty, be it slavery, or the internment of the Japanese in World War II is not easy. In America the emancipated Slaves were promised forty (40) arches and a Mule, that did not happen. Read the following brief, one can also research the theory, where greater details will be found.

    Forty acres and a mule refers to a concept in the United States for agrarian reform for former enslaved African American farmers, following disruptions to the institution of slavery provoked by the American Civil War. Many freedmen believed they had a moral right to own the land they had long worked as slaves, and were eager to control their own property. Freed people widely expected to legally claim 40.

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • rsvp
      August 5, 2014

      its called a culture of dependency…lives of many generations in the Caribbean are based on assumptions that whites owe you something and whites are to blame for everything. It seems that sufferings of slaves entitles you to get some compensation. Its nonsense.
      Slavery was abolished hundred years ago and you still blame whites for your personal pitfalls, for your inability to build up wealth-fare society, for your inability to settle down and build up a nation with your own identity and ideals. How Brits can be held responsible for all ugly things exist in modern Dominica society? How anybody living today can be responsible for your foolishness and willingness to believe in fairy tales? Read what Mr Telemaque wrote..its harsh words but its truth!

      Why wont you dedicate the energy and passion spent on such pointless topic and do something really good for yourself and for society in general? How about teaching your sons to respect women? How about teaching your kids that family values are the most important things? How about stop listening of stupid politicians and start using your own brain? How about believing that whites are not enemies and in 21st century racism is a mindset of idiots? Maybe big changes in Dominica society start from tiny things…maybe its not the government to start those changes but its you and your family…?

  10. La voix
    August 5, 2014

    One additional point, no amount of money can compensate for the brutality and exploitation of slavery therefore we should not begin by asking for money but by seeking assistance in a tangible way to take us from poverty to prosperity because if you give people to share money some will take all and others will get nothing. I support reparation but not where people are seeking money to increase their bank accounts.

  11. La voix
    August 5, 2014

    The first step to reparation is to connect us to the resources our grand parents had in Africa then when we see what we have there we may not need to ask anything else. Link the families here in this hemisphere to their relatives in the African continent before we go to court. We may have quite a lot of resources there idle that we need to explore. After we achieve this then we can start talking at reparations. That is the first task of the committee.

  12. imagine
    August 5, 2014

    Africa got billions of dollars of interest free loans, free roads, hospitals etc…most resource rich places (oil Nigeria, Guinea etc) are in Africa. Despite of World Bank efforts all money donated for development of Africa were plundered and generally africans are poorer now than 40 years ago. Did donation helped somehow? No! Africa is the most violent, poor and economically weak region of the planet.
    So what you would do with money if Britain pays you a compensation? What Kenyans did with the money they received? What is your plan? 30M USD would repair the consequences of slavery?

  13. Hope
    August 5, 2014

    Move on people!

  14. Seeing through
    August 5, 2014

    How could a people repair the consequences of slavery, by the further deepening of MENTAL SLAVERY and a new form of colonial rule, being imposed by the neo- oppressor class?

    When some defend, protect corruption of all kinds, especially done by those in authority, in Public Office, you cannot repair the consequences of slavery.

    A nation in dictatorial mode, aided and abetted by a few exercising their “power” as grovelers, party operatives, tricksters,, cannot be repairing the consequences of slavery. Immoral, illegal, unethical acts are being supported day in day out and condoned by the same ilk. Their personal wealth getting bigger on the backs of the people, is their only concern. For real. Right in our Eyes.

    What about the injustices done to the poor, marginalized citizens? Witness what, in the 21st. century, Black brothers and sisters, are clinging on to. Bad governance, Lies, secret passport sales, deception, fooling the masses, impoverishment instead of using our natural resources and managing those for the benefit of the people.

    Who has amassed massive wealth in quick time and by dubious means, while in public Office? The oppression continues. The victimization is rampant.

    Their is fear being instilled. Any patriotic Dominican, who dare express his/her alternative opinion on issues of development, watch out. Just like the days of Massa, with “Power,” more and more modern enslavement is being unleashed.

  15. Anonymous
    August 5, 2014

    Everybody is looking for something, including the black people looking for reparations.

    Stop looking back. Look ahead and improve the lot of your people. That will do a whole lot more good to get improved conditions in health care and education.

    Don’t waste your energy on seeking reparation.

    • August 5, 2014

      If I you are a sprinter, I am a competitor, it is your big race, race of your life…i send my thugs to cut off your right foot so that you cannot participate in the race; the competition comes, I run the race and won the gold and all associated prices along with having my name in the world records.

      You were a faster better runner than I was and it would have been your big break. 10 years down the road , I saw to you, forget about it, don’t look back, get up and start training. You were a good runner and can do it again. I would like to see how you feel when I saw that to you. I would like to see your reaction with your one leg.

      The situation we find ourselves in is even worst. We don’t know which country we came from, which tribe, what is our religion, what is our language, nothing..nada. You may say it is not important, but whilst you are saying that, think about this. 10 of the fastest growing economies are now in Africa. BRICS have now started a bank world 100 Billion to cut out the world bank.

      In Cuba, the white Cubans are going back to spain, tracing their families through their last name, getting European papers and are able to travel out of Cuba to improve their situations. The black Cubans can’t because a black Cuban name perez cannot trace his roots to Spain but to a canefield in Cuba. See the significance now?

    • Peace
      August 5, 2014

      Sounds like a true simpleton!

      The reality is that for centuries, these European nations prospered on the backs of black people. Europe built its wealth on the sweat and tears of my forefathers! The economic, social and political injustices inflicted on us as a people continue to leave us on an uneven playing field. This is not about looking for handouts.

      • rsvp
        August 5, 2014

        those european states which prospered on the backs of slave ceased their existence in a cold wet rats infested ditches of World War 1 and then 2. Europe was demolished and it took decades to rebuild it. Modern European countries have nothing to do with slavery.
        you lost the contact with reality and don’t understand that the world changed and the slavery exists only in your mind…you are free men but you force yourself to live under pseudo-burden of slavery legacy…wake up…

    • August 5, 2014

      Anonymous .

      Hello and good afternoon my people . The Western World was built on the backs of slaves and our resources. We must seek reparations for our people by examine what occurred otherwise we won’t advance. We must sue them in the World Court in The Hague.

  16. grell
    August 5, 2014

    Great initiative Mr.Fredrick,if only the Prime minister we so call our leader would back you up,instead now he is in a bitter fight with a doctor,just smh my head now,such disgust towards this leader acting like a little girl in a melee.

  17. TRUEMAN
    August 5, 2014

    *****WHY NOT TAKE DOMINICANS TO COURT***

    “And we think that a formal apology needs to be extended to the Rastafarian movement for the injustices done to the Rastafarians right here in Dominica,” he opined”.

    …………………………………………….

    Why stop there. Is that all you want?

    Why not take us Dominicans/the government to court for the rastafarian movement pain and suffering.

    HOW RIDICULOUS!!!

    What about the injustice that was done to us Dominicans by the rastafarian movement!!!

    It is very strange how this injustice was left out. Did you FORGET the TERROR that the some rastafarian imposed on Dominans in the 70’s. Now you think we need to apologise to them.

    Of course, I am not saying that all the rasta men were involve in this terror but please stop being bias.

    -Thanks

    • Truth
      August 5, 2014

      I am so much in support of you, those elderly people that were terrorised, prevented from going to their garden and even got killed, yet some people conveniently forgot, just to find favour with the Rastafarians.

    • grell
      August 5, 2014

      Check you history,they fought for a cause,ignorance in people like you thats why black people continue to suffer.

    • Anonymous
      August 6, 2014

      Can you please articulate a bit more on What kind of terror you claimed the Rastafarians committed in Dominica, and are these your own poeople..dominicans?

  18. Dominican
    August 5, 2014

    Once again you yourselves continue to seperate dominicans, is it you and us or us and them. On both sides there are predudices. nobody talk about African colour more than the Kaligano peopl you guys think and believe that you are white or above others. Well think again about how you were portrayed by the europeans.They saw you guys as non human we had to fight side by side to say leave off here you guys go we fought you moved into the terrain.

    • afan
      August 5, 2014

      As a dude who from the northeast, went to school with kalinago, have close kalinago friends, may even have some kalinago ancestry though i am a neg by outer appearance i find your statement deeply offensive. These ppl have always gotten the last of everything, the short end of the stick, have been the butt of manynold jokes. But despite this and all the other negatives kept alive a culture, never agitated or revolted against black rule so show respect. You cant call yourself dominican yet hate its original people, i think efforts should be made to celebrate the kalinago culture and history more, to resurrect the language and to adopt their ancestral approaches to many aspects of living. After all which self loving son/daughter of slaves will dislike the people who aided and fought alongside the maroons, who fought against tyranny, should we forget the likes of carib warner??? So though i want to cuss you out i am more interested in making you see that you cant love yourself yet hate your ancestors

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