Indigenous people name change nowhere close

Graneau said a name change of the island's indigenous people is proving to be difficult
Graneau said a name change of the island’s indigenous people is proving to be difficult

It appears that the island’s indigenous people may have to wait longer for an official name change from Carib to Kalinago.

A monument honoring their ancestors also appears to be nowhere close on the horizon.

At a press conference to launch Kalinago Week last Friday, MP for Salybia Ashton Graneau, appeared clueless when questioned on the progress of the monument.

“Truthfully I cannot tell you where we are with it,” he stated. “We would have to have an engagement with government and I think cabinet had approved in principle that we would support the monument.”

On the official name change matter, Graneau said it has been a recurring one and also very difficult.

“That has been coming up over and over again,” he stated, pointing out that the name change has proven difficult in areas such as re-writing the history books and who is going to bear the cost of re-writing such books.

Additionally, Graneau pointed out, the Constitution of Dominica has to be changed to accommodate the name change, although he said this is the easiest part.

“Even in the Constitution, for example, it would be easy because it is the government of Dominica who owns the Constitution, so it would have been very easy for government to change that name in the Constitution,” he said. “How easy would it be for the historians and the others who have written books on Kalinagos is another question and that is something we have to pursue. And we haven’t reached that stage where we can get that discussion with the authors and documents of information regarding Kalinagos. Maybe I have not been forthright enough in that.”

Graneau mentioned that discussions have been held with the Attorney General on the matter but no meetings have been held with the Kalinago Council as yet.

“I think that this is the next step to go now,” he said. “To see where it is, what is it that we need to do to get it into parliament. I think that is where we should be going now.”

In September last year prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said that he was in full support of the idea of a monument in honor of the Kalinago people and the government will underwrite the cost of the undertaking.

In terms of the name change, in 2010 the Kalinago Council wrote to the Ministry of Tourism and Legal Affairs, requesting the name “Carib” in the 1978 Carib Act be replaced legally with the word “Kalinago.”

It described the term Carib as “archaic and outdated.”

Although the name change has not been officially enacted, the Council said it would no longer use “Carib,” and instead, will refer to the lands of the Territory as the “Kalinago Territory,” the governing body as the “Kalinago Council,” its head as the “Kalinago Chief” and the people as “Kalinagos.”

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11 Comments

  1. September 16, 2014

    mr. graneau’s explanation seems to be very weak.

  2. BMB
    September 15, 2014

    I find it rather unfortunate that, “Hon. Ashton Graneau – Minister for Carib Affairs” appears so out of touch, that he doesn’t even realize, or mention, a name-change for the very Ministry he holds…? The name’s insignificant here because of the big salary? He’s simply ‘spinning top in mud’ with this “history book” and “constitution” talk..! Walk away from that Ministry you hold (and the salary) if the name offends you that much. Or does it?

  3. Channel 1
    September 15, 2014

    But watch Graneau in the pic nuh all you. All you ain’t find he looking like he lost.

  4. September 15, 2014

    From an academic standpoint, Carib is an inaccurate term to refer to Dominica’s indigenous people. Our language was primarily Arawakan, not Cariban and the people a mix of Arawakan and Cariban tribes. Kalinago and Karifuna are the two terms that the people used for themselves. It is right there in the historical documents. When an error is discovered it should be corrected especially when dealing with history and especially when that history is being taught to children. I can tell you right now that in my work on the Kalinago language this misnomer is confusing to readers and one that I have to constantly address in my writing.

    Keisha M. Josephs
    Ph.D. Candidate in Linguistics
    University of Arizona

  5. Anonymous
    September 15, 2014

    So what did you want him to do? Lie to the Kalinagos? At least he was being forthright with his answer.

  6. Pondera
    September 15, 2014

    It was best Mr Graneau had said nothing. He makes no sense. He is totally divorced from the process. There is no need to edit history books that have been written. New writings will show the change. Amending the constitution to read Kalinago instead of Carib should be bi-partisan and should have unanimous support. Graneau must get out of Roseau people business and acquaint himself with the issues of the Kalinago people.

  7. kicha
    September 15, 2014

    what will be practical impact of the name change (Carib vs Kalinago) to the lives of Kalinago people? I guess zero…Why you wont create your own Kalinago Political Party and claim designated seats in Parliament for Kalinago people? You really need your own cultural autonomy and special programs to survive as ethnicity…otherwise your days as ethnic group are counted.

  8. Peace
    September 15, 2014

    I don’t know how realistic it is to have every history book edited to refer to our indigenous people as Kalinagos. The issue of the monument and the change in the constitution seems like low hanging fruits and one that should be honored. Mr. Graneau, you can do better.

  9. Partisan
    September 15, 2014

    What was written before now is history, what will be written now is revised history. Whether or not historians new better back-then should not be a reason for not removing that distasteful name “Carib (Flesh eaters)”. To my fellow indigenous neighbours you need to do your best and gain support from the rest of the island to convince the ‘Powers that be’ it’s time for a change :wink:

  10. maindesk
    September 15, 2014

    Graneau has no idea whether he is coming or going

  11. i must speak
    September 15, 2014

    lol!!!! just watch his face…its as clueless as clueless can be. ure the MP for the people yet you have no idea what is going on. smh

    it is really time for a change!!! it is not an option, it is a must!!

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