Head of UWI Open Campus says heritage critical to national development

Kimone Joseph is Head of the UWI Open Campus-Dominica

Head of University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus-Dominica, Kimone Joseph has emphasized the importance of creole culture to the Dominican identity and said that our heritage must be seen as critical in all our efforts for national development.

UWI will be hosting its 3rd country conference at the campus, on August 15th and 16th, 2019 under the theme “Creole as Cultural Heritage: Framing, strengthening and Advocating.”

“When my staff decided to embark on country conferences in the academic year 2015-2016, we had the idea…that we would host these every three/four years,” Joseph stated during the the press launch of the Conference on Monday. “After all the past three strategic plans, our institution has placed tremendous significance on two elements that make country conferences ideal and those are research and outreach. Yet, here we are in 2019, waist deep in plans for the third country conference in four academic years.”

According to the UWI official, in the 2017 to 2022 strategic plan of UWI, there is a call for the university to provide access, alignment and agility.

“The hosting of the Dominica Country Conference is directly related to all three themes as we seek to bring researchers, practitioners and the general public together, to share and participate in the process of examining creole heritage in all its forms and allowing space for ideas on the paths we want its development to take in Dominica,” Joseph added.

She said this ground breaking event which is free and open to the public, will bring together cultural leaders, academics, professionals and students to discuss creole cultural heritage issues and exchange ideas .

Raymond Lawrence is Chief Cultural Officer

Meantime Chief Cultural Officer, Raymond Lawrence has said that Dominicans have to appreciate and embrace both the traditional and contemporary aspects of their culture.

“In Dominica, we have now come to better understand and appreciate what we describe as our creole culture which embraces both the traditional and contemporary aspects which is inclusive to our language, cuisine, creole wear, music, dance, arts and crafts…and the list goes on,” he stated.

Lawrence continued, “Our culture is what I can describe as a unique hybrid. We have been mainly influenced by the Kalinago, Africans, French and English….so, a very dynamic process called creolization took place in our culture which gave rise to a unique Dominican and Caribbean culture. In Dominica, we must and should continue to promote both dimensions of our creole culture, the traditional and the contemporary which I think we have been doing very successfully.”

Lawrence goes on to say that there is always room for improvement when promoting Dominica’s culture and Dominicans need to give even greater support and encouragement to all our various of cultural expressions.

“We have to include our creole language in our schools…we need to wear our creole wear, why not all throughout the year expanding its use outside of the independence celebration? and on the contemporary side we can also create these types of modern creole music based on various other types of rhythms that we have in Dominica,” he suggests. “Hand in hand, both the traditional and contemporary aspects of our creole culture will continue to define and redefine who we are as a Dominican and Caribbean people, proud of our roots.”

Lawrence said our culture should not be bringing us down but lifting us up as a people and be sources of inspiration to young people and “raising Dominica high like a beacon on the world stage”.

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6 Comments

  1. Vellie Nicholas
    July 17, 2019

    Very forward-looking, visionary! I love that the need for incorporation of traditional and contemporary aspects of culture have been recognized. And, true, every facet of our culture should be uplifting…not conducive to debauchery and immorality. I totally endorse the embracing of our creolisation by infusing it in our education plans.

  2. Vellie Nicholas
    July 17, 2019

    Very forward-looking, visionary! I love that need for incorporation of traditional and contemporary aspects of culture have been recognized. And, true, everything facet of our culture should be uplifting uplifting…not conducive to debauchery and immorality. I 100% endorse the embracing of our creolisation by infusing it in our education plans.

  3. Bob Denis
    July 16, 2019

    The Whites who stayed back after the end of chattel , we should term creole, their England and French desendants still canvass colonial influence as we speak. Dominica Africans are the great influencers, our Maroons made sure of that through their fight for Human justice, not Kalinago brothers, History tells us that the Native didn’t give much of a fight, in most cases suicide was the easy way out, my intent is not to show any disrespect towards my Kalinago brothers , but the truth must be told. To this day, West African dialects are being used in our every day Patios. The discourse of the African in the Caribbean, should be Reparation + Repatriation . Creolization is nothing but the same ole same ole, when we add the negatives that reside within, e.g class and division, the Fallacies of Creole will be decoded, is this the Hybrid that is wanted in the Now?.

    • Nrt
      July 17, 2019

      Bob D, you seem to have a finger on the pulse of our plight, however, on the issue of the Kalinago you are quoting the same lying lazy historians that suicide was the easy way out. Historians also wrote that they were cannibals, when in fact the European was one most likely to be hungry and tired so the young Kalingo who had everything to eat from agouti, manicou, cassava etc became easy targets for pirates’ dinner.
      Those lazy historians neglected to put any effort into research to find out the obvious from lies to figure out who would most likely eat whom?

    • Nrt
      July 18, 2019

      Bob D, it’s over hours still can’t see my post in response, pardon me if duplicate: You seem to have a finger on the pulse of our plight, however, on the issue of the Kalinago you are quoting the same lying lazy historians that suicide was the easy way out. Historians also wrote that they were cannibals, when we can read btween the lines, it’s logical the Europeans were the ones most likely to be hungry, tired and lost at sea so the young Kalingo who had everything to eat from agouti, manicou, cassava etc became easy targets for pirates’ dinner.
      Those lazy historians neglected to put any effort into research to find out the obvious from lies to figure out who would most likely eat whom?

  4. Roger Burnett
    July 16, 2019

    As a Dominican by self adoption my views on culture may be different to the norm but nevertheless, I hope constructive.

    The creole language should be available as a subject in schools, but not a compulsory subject. All aspects of culture should come voluntary and spontaneously from the heart. They cannot be forced.

    In Dominica we tend to confuse art with culture. Culture is something we all do and feel comfortable with: it may instill pride but not necessarily deep thought; it preserves rather than creates. Art is individualistic and often controversial: it questions accepted beliefs and breaks new ground.

    We have a Ministry for Culture, The Arawak House of Culture, The Old Mill Cultural Center and a Chief Cultural Officer, but nothing specifically for art.

    I hope that one day we can give the creative arts the same attention that we give to culture.

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