Indigenious people debate name change

A young Kalinago

There is an ongoing debate among Dominica’s indigenious people over moves in recent times to officially change their name from Caribs to Kalinagos.

The word “Caribs” was used by Europeans to describe the people who inhabited the islands of the Lesser Antilles at the time of Columbus’ second voyage in 1493.

But French missionary Raymond Breton, who visited Dominica in 1642, recorded that the “Caribs'” name for themselves was Callinago. Breton wrote the word as “Callinago”, but today the name is written “Kalinago”.

“This is the real name of the Caribs of the islands,” Breton wrote.

The name Carib has stuck to the island’s indigenous people throughout history until recent times when calls to officially get rid of the European name and use the original name instead began surfacing .

Proponents of the change are also calling for an official change of name from Carib Territory to Kalinago Territory.

During a meeting to celebrate World Indigenous People’s Day in the Carib Territory on the weekend, some indigenous people expressed resentment towards the name change, saying that they saw no benefits to be derived from it as   they had grown accustomed to the name Carib.

But others see it as a small step in the right direction.

“The name change is very important and residents need to steer away from that backward thinking,” Chief Garnett Joseph said.

He said further efforts must be made at the level of government to see the name change implemented.

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  1. Chrissy
    August 16, 2012

    100% supportive of the Indegenious people based on whatever their decision is…

    Let us be respectful of others please.

    I am proud of the indegenious and very blessed that together we form a wonderful and rich Dominican culture.

    They are Dominica. I am Dominica. Let’s respect each other please

    • Anonymous
      September 17, 2012

      its INDIGENOUS

  2. SamSaucepan
    August 15, 2012

    If I was Kalinago (Carib), I’d vote to name change. End of story. If I was out-voted, fine. Overall, I think we’re making steady progress for indigenous people, but we can do better. I’m just saying.

  3. STG
    August 15, 2012

    When will we all realise that we are all Black/ White/Chinese etc. etc. from a small group of nomads who left Mother Africa around 110 thousand years ago. This has been absolutely proven genetically. We are citizens of the Earth, not countries or made-up religious sects who sell passports to any crook with enough money. Let’s concentrate on looking after each other and our planet

  4. داود عبد الرحمن
    August 14, 2012

    This is a Carib/Kalinago affair, they have the sole right to steer their destiny. At U.W.I those who remember studying Caribbean Civilization Dr. J Campbell makes it absolutely clear that it is forbidden to call them “caribs,” we would get 0% on a paper just for calling them that.

    Thus, let us stay out of the Kalinago affair, let them debate their issue and hold a referandum. Please respect the natives of Dominica; they fought whites for centuries and collaborated with African peoples to fight the whites. We must respect their bravery their forefathers displayed.

  5. History
    August 14, 2012

    Question how do we know that Breton was right and the others were wrong. The difference is in the K oe C sound, so they would still be Caribs for short as Callinagoes. The K sound is Western African, and they are not Western Africans but the true Caribbean people, so Carib is absolutely appropriate, what that is needed is a mindset change, about the CArib people, they were valient warriors who inspite the might of European weaponry were able to defend the island from slavery and colonisation. I love the Carib name as it says I am Caribbean not African or European but CAribbean. My name defines me and my region.Kallinago is western African and Caribs were never slaves. The other problems also affect the African and white population it is not isolated to the Carib territory. There is drunkeness and poverty and incest in all sectors and racial groups in the caribbean. Caribs are not poor, we own the Territory as a collective meaning we are able to feed ourselves sowe are not poor and landless as some blacks and whites. The Carib territory and its people are rich in heritage and skills. We dont need western materialism and greed tearing us apart.

    • Kalinago king
      August 16, 2012

      Carib is Italian short for cannibalism.. I’m kalinago and it’s an insult to be referred to as caribs. It was always the Taino and Kalinago tribes running the show. Take your cannibalism brainwashed logic and step!

  6. Esther
    August 14, 2012

    A Vote / Referendum may be needed for the name change to Kalinago but I doubt it. I agree to their original name change to KALINAGO.

  7. Nkrumah Kwame
    August 14, 2012

    No need to loose our cool here! There are two issues here:the proposed name change from CARIB to KALINAGO and the broader one of development of the Territory with all its attendant offshoots like alcholism, incest, unemployment, etc. The issues should not be confused nor drowned into each other. If these people who have suffered so long and lived in such squalid conditions wish to have their name changed there is NOTHING that should prevent them from so doing; it is their right. Zimbabwe was changed from North Rhodesia,Bukina faso was changed from Upper Volta, Haiti was renamed from Saint Domingue, Calcuta to Kolkata, as have been Mumbai and Chennai. These are some examples of real changes to “original” place names. So the question which arises is Why can’t the Kalinagoes change their name?

    And by the way, the contributors who are happy their ancestor were brought out of this sickening place (Afrika)and who do not consider themselves Afrikans, they too have a right to “play smart with chupidness”.

  8. tiny
    August 14, 2012

    waste of time…that’s like arguing about which hand should be used to greet someone… many other issues need attention………….

    i would like to change my name though……kids should not be given a first name until they are old enough to choose their own name

    • ????????????????????
      December 21, 2012

      tinyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy tinyyyyyyyyyyyy you thinking tiny?

  9. Anonymous
    August 14, 2012

    the whole of dominica starting with the name ‘Dominica’ is from columbus days and slavery yet we accept that. so what is the big deal with the caribs?but u know what? it does not matter to me if they want to change their name either. i just wonder why the new spelling?

  10. ummmm
    August 14, 2012

    kalinago…carib.. c’est la meme chose.. :-? name change don’t affect me economically (in other words, who cares?)

    • soitiswritten
      August 15, 2012

      That is ignorance talking!!

  11. Foreigner
    August 14, 2012

    I think the Kalinago people should be allowed to choose what name is used for them and for their territory in Dominica. Not because Carib is a “slave” name but because it is so insulting and so undeserved. The word Carib is derived from the Spanish for cannibal. Allow them to vote on what they are called.
    As for the region, it already has two names in common usage (both incorrect) – the Caribbean and the West Indies. There is no reason why the Kalinago or Dominicans could not use a third name. Germany is called Deutschland in German, Allemagne in French, Saksamaa in Estonian, Niemcy in Polish and Tyskland in Scandinavian languages. But everyone knows what they mean.
    I am all in favour of renaming Dominica Waitukubuli. I am sick and tired of my mail getting lost because it goes to the Dominican Republic by mistake. I am fed up with the BBC pronouncing the name wrongly and saying Dom-MIN-nick-a and I’ve had enough of people telling me that I am lucky to live in a country with such beautiful beaches, but aren’t I worried about the recent outbreaks of tummy bug in Punta Cana?

    • Kalinago king
      August 16, 2012

      In this day and age it is a fat lie to say your mail goes to DR.. I have never had that happen to me and I ship and mail things to Dominica from the US EVERY MONTH. From the time they see ROSEAU they have a code for the island that makes sure every mail goes to that country.. If you want to make sure just tell them the code.. Ask for it when next you go to mail something.. Anyways I don’t belIeve your story

  12. phucet
    August 14, 2012

    The kalinago people has seen the light fool,we blacks in the caribbean will remain the laughing stuck, we were given names by slave masters that have no meaning at all, making us hate our black skin.I support the move,it is all part of your identity.

  13. Zandoli
    August 14, 2012

    I for one would like Dominica (European name to be changes to waitikubuli it’s rightful name. And the name Carib to Kalinago also it’s rightful name. I know nothing will be gained from this but they were the first inhabitants of the island, so the names should stand. Why did the europeans have to change them. It’s back to this mental slavery thing again. The original names has a better ring to it and it suits the Island more anyway. It would go with the unspoilt nature of the most beautiful Island in the (dare i say it) Caribbean.

  14. questioner
    August 14, 2012

    what should be changed, is the history books. Instead of saying europeans thought they were cannibals whilst the caribs let that crap slide, what should be written is the truth – that the caribs embraced their cannibal personas because they instilled fear in their enemies.

    they called themselves caribs because thats what kept them alive. don’t you think they skinned a few whites and pretended to eat them so they would gtfo dominica? for us today to say that is wrong is silly because the different between life and death, war and peace, colonization and freedom, was the fact that they were thought to be fearless cannibalistc caribs and not sweet sounding kalinagos

  15. questioner
    August 14, 2012

    who cares. if they did or didnt eat people, it kept dominica unihabited for centuries. the name doesnt mean we were cannibals, it means people ‘feared’ we were canibals. like people call black people black, when they are actually brown. this fear is what kept dominica one of the purest places in the caribbean.

    the carib cheifs of 1493 would have well wanted to make columbus think they ate people so they would leave them alone.

  16. j/a
    August 13, 2012

    what hell name change Carib is Carib and that how it’s going to stay

  17. Looking in
    August 13, 2012

    No matter what name we call ourselves, people from Dominica who think they are ‘high class’ will still treat us with no respect.
    Columbus came…never landed on the Island, yet the name he call it remains… we have so much confusion with The Dominican Repulbic….Had Waitukubuli remain,,,,the whole world would know where this paradise is situated. So I am in total agreement, let us get back our real name…Kalinago/ Calinago. Mabrika!!

  18. Rastar-Marn
    August 13, 2012

    But wait nuh dem people cannot use their native tongue to name themselves den,,, as thought Calinago/Kalinago and Carib are not thier native/indigenous words,,,

    Allyou doh do enough to dem people already den- take all their lands and put dem on a part of their Land and tell them thats their (Carib Territory/ Reserve) like dey some animals,,, allyou just like dem Albinos dat came before allyou,,,

    Leave dem people alone already!!! dey should be able to call demselves whatever they choose to in their native/indigenous tongue,,,

  19. Malatete
    August 13, 2012

    “What’s in a name….” (Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet).I Don’t know what practical benefits a name change will bring to the people. Since one can change one’s name by deed poll I guess the same argument for doing so could apply here, except that in this case it may be forced upon some, who have no wish to change the current status. Some will continue to refer to themselves as Carib while others have already adopted the Kalinago moniker. No amount of legislation is going to change that.

  20. Dominicanpearl2
    August 13, 2012

    Oh my, seriously? Chnge the namw? History and names are important. As much as we wished it did not happen, it happened. Columbus came. Why is th hospital still Princess Margaret or the Queen still on the currency. There are certain things which should remain historical, Like it or not our ancentry is European, African and the Native people. So now I must tell my US friends that we do not have Caribs in DA? When I have been saying this for years? Is this the biggest problem that is in the territory? You know whatever. I don’t care. Do whatever you all want to do. Just let me know when I am not supposed to say that I am not Dominican. I am what?

  21. Anonymous
    August 13, 2012

    name change name change, why not change dominica to waitikubuli, and everyone get rid of their european name..

    • Boo
      August 14, 2012

      Because then we’d all become Waitukubulians ? Sounds like an alien species from Star Wars.

    • Milly
      August 14, 2012

      aahahahahahahaha good one. i agree. smh

    • DA4LYFE
      August 14, 2012

      That wouldn’t be a bad idea but D’cans and black poeple are to brainwash and love white people to much to offend them. Have you ever heard a D’can talk about his/her family history with european blood? Those people eyes light up it even sparkle when they discuss their european roots omitting the fact that most of their family was house servants and belly warmers?lolol

  22. Anonymous
    August 13, 2012

    Good idea I love the name kalinago.

  23. speaking logic
    August 13, 2012

    Is the name Carib insultive????? oh no…..Kalinago is ok…so let the people decide….I think they should vote on it….just my opinion

  24. Shameless
    August 13, 2012

    Come on people! I love my Carib ancestry (I am bata) and find no real reason for the name change. After all, there comes a time in life when we all must pick our battles. History has recorded the name as Carib and as such an entire region -Caribbean- resonates with my people making us unforgettable. So to hell with Columbus and the others and what they thought/ believed before naming the indians Caribs. Leave the name alone and let us all simply agree to refer to them locally as Kalinagos. Mr. Joseph please leave this battle alone. There are more pressing issues in the territory that need your undivided attention.

    Assertive, NOT Agressive!

    • Citizen
      August 14, 2012

      I totally agree with this comment. As stated the entire region got it name from the word “Carib”, so why change now?. I like the name Kalingo, so as Shameless says lets use it locally.

  25. Dorival John
    August 13, 2012

    I totally support the Kalinago people on this.

    If for example an alien species from a planet called, say, Zoomera, invaded Dominica, took my little piece of land and decided to name me Dorival Zoomeran. Wouldn’t I want to keep my original name of Dorival John, the name my parents gave me? Would it be wrong if my descendants decide that they want to regain the family honor and take my their original last name of John and get rid of Zoomeran?

    Now this is an example I am using here eh because I know a bunch of idiots going to come and say there is no such planet as Zoomera. It’s just an example I am using to get my point across.


    • Wesleyman
      August 13, 2012

      considering John is the SLAVE name that your ancestors aquired, and since no John ever left africa on any boat, your point sir is mute. The caribs have more pressing issues to deal with, like for instance poverty, alcoholism and incest. Stop patronizing nonesense, will they now rename the region the kaliganobean… This is the caribbean, and they are the caribs…Damn it.
      What name do we now call the arawaks ( oh sorry there are none.. we dont know what happened to them …do we?)

      • Looking in
        August 13, 2012

        stop being a wesleyan

      • Looking in
        August 13, 2012

        i mean wesleyman

      • Dorival John
        August 13, 2012

        Dude, I don’t consider myself African, even though my ancestors may have come from there hundreds of years ago. As a matter of fact I am grateful for the slave trade because it it wasn’t for slavery I would be living in that God forbidden continent where maybe I would have grown up as a child soldier, or maybe living in hut of walls made with cow dung, or I would be burning my villagers because they stole some yams (they have videos of that on Facebook) and so on…..

        Africa is the most uncivilized continent on the planet and I am happy slavery got my ancestors out, despite the suffering they endured.

        But this here being argued is completely different. I used my name as an example, heediot (according to the Jamaicans, lol). These people have been marginalized for centuries, what is wrong with the name change?

        And mind you, it have the same amount of alcoholism and incest in Wesley and around Dominica….it is not unique the Territory…so you point is mute…..hahahahahaha

      • Dorival John
        August 13, 2012

        Here is another point I miss Mr. Wesleyman….since no John never left Africa, I guess you would prefer I use my original African name from my ancestors, right?

        If that is the case why can’t these people use the original name that they used for themselves?


    • DA4LYFE
      August 14, 2012

      @Dorival John..It don’t mattter what you consider yourself..Once you in America or any other european country you’re considered African rightfully so..You mention uncivilize Africans that statemnet alone sound highly unintelligent and self-hater(which is prevalent within D’can society.
      side note:I truly hope you being sarcastic if not sad…really sad.

    • داود عبد الرحمن
      August 14, 2012

      It is very sad you make a blanket statement about Africa just from simply watching bias media.

      Secondly, it exposes a fallacy in your thinking to even consider any kind of good in the worst holocaust in history – The Trans-atlantic Slave Trade.

      Africa is either the first or second largest continent in the world and of course there are problems however, there are economies in Africa that are far better than ours. For e.g if one does any research, despite its problems in the north, the south especially Lagos has a booming economy, they are even involved in satellites and space travel. It is an oil rich country.

      Africa is a diverse continent with a lot of beauty and culture thus you need to re-educate yourself about this place.

  26. concerned
    August 13, 2012

    I love the name Kalinago as it sound less insultive They will always be considered as carib indiens so let’s try and respect them

  27. Mouth of the Youth
    August 13, 2012

    So wouldn’t the Caribbean name change to Kalingobean? Just a thought :wink:

    • Dorival John
      August 13, 2012

      Because the original name of the Caribbean didn’t have the word Kalinago in it, you idiot.

      • ????
        August 13, 2012

        Dude are you serious??? lol

    • annon
      August 13, 2012

      you are so funny!

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