Statement by Kalinago Chief-elect on International Day of World’s Indigenous People

Kalinago Chief-elect, Lorenzo Sanford

On this day, we pay homage to our brave and resilient Warrior Ancestors who fought for the preservation of Waitu’kubuli and the islands of the Americas. They were the Guardians of the Eastern Gate who fought back the European invaders and colonizers for more than two centuries.

The destruction of the land and genocide of the Kalinago People which followed, lasted for centuries. In this modern age, we need to change how we see ourselves in history.  I say we are the survivors of colonialism and genocide, not merely victims.

I say now is the time for a New Beginning for the Kalinago People.  Let this International Day of The World’s Indigenous Peoples be a time not only for reflecting on the past but also, a time to create a new vision for ourselves, and take charge of our destiny as we take our rightful place in the Land of Our Ancestors.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Indigenous People’s Languages”

Hundreds of years of domination by European colonialism resulted in the destruction of many aspects of our culture which had developed, and served our ancestors well, over thousands of years. The near total loss of our ancestral language was a most significant blow to the survival of the Kalinago People.  It also meant loss of knowledge and skills related to agriculture, astronomy, fisheries, animal behavior and hunting techniques, natural healing,  prayers, incantations and rituals, and the mastery of ecological  systems.

The inability to pass on sacred and secular knowledge to future generations in their pure form led to further loss of cultural heritage and identity. Therefore, it is very important for us, as a people, to preserve, protect and develop what is left of our Kalinago language.

Because the extent of the loss is so vast, all we have left are lists of words and phrases and the names of plants, animals and places. It might take generations before Kalinagos can once again have meaningful conversation in our language but the longest journey starts with but one step.

After the inauguration of the new Kalinago Council, I will propose the following in an effort to bring about some revival of our language.

* Make a collection of books, manuscripts and documents about, or containing Kalinago language.

* Encourage new Kalinago parents to give Kalinago names to their babies.

*Continue and expand the program of ceremonially renaming Kalinago youth and elders.

* Encourage entrepreneurs of the Territory to give Kalinago names to their businesses.

* Encourage youth, sports, and other community groups to adopt Kalinago names. * Work with teachers and education professionals to design and develop board games, word games, and number games using Kalinago words, phrases and themes.

* Network with Indigenous Peoples in English-speaking countries who are having success in native language revival. This is in order to benefit from knowledge, skills and best practices to boost our own program.

* In the medium to long term, opportunities will be sought for Kalinago teachers to study linguistics; focusing on the Kalinago/Arawakan/ Lokono language family.

* As time goes by, I envision the time when Kalinago language experts will develop curriculum around Kalinago language, myths, legends and culture for use by students of Dominica and the region.

On this day, let us vow to use, as much as is possible, all the words and phrases that we know in our daily speech; and to teach them to our young braves and nataris. On this day, let us recommit ourselves to the presentation of our culture and heritage for the good of the land and for future generations.

The road may be long but it is there and we have the spirit of resilience and determination to fulfill the task.

Let us continue to strive with unity of purpose and love for our beloved Kalinago Territory and Waitu’kubuli.


Kayman Kalinago

Kayman Waitu’kubuli.

Disclaimer: The comments on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of Inc. All comments are approved by before they are posted. We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • violate or infringe the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or include personal attacks
  • are abusive, profane or offensive
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are excessively long and off-message

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.


  1. Kalinago
    August 12, 2019

    I as a concerned Kalinago parent would like our Kalinago children to be taught more about their history in school, where they came from, what they as a people went through up to today, their struggles, etc. Not just about they came on a canoe and they ate cassava, etc. Their real history,before you come and talk about their language. We know how to talk more patois than speak the Kalinago language.

  2. Roger Burnett
    August 12, 2019

    I consider the revival of art and the training of skilled artisans equally as important as a revival of the language. I am not thinking of niknaks for tourists but functional everyday items: furniture, pottery and fabrics.

  3. Lin clown
    August 11, 2019

    UWP wanted the their PUPPET charles Williams as Kalinago Chief.

    August 11, 2019

    well said, this is a great article, claim your history and your truth!

  5. Watching
    August 10, 2019

    Of course some one wrote that speech for the gentle man.. If he could speak and articulate him self he would have been at the debate to.speak his points. I waiting to see the Kalinago Reserve his supporters stated that is coming.

  6. Bob Denis
    August 10, 2019

    The Spirit of the Kalinago Ancestors seems to be awakening with the election of this young warrior.This is a lesson that the Africans in Dominica can gain tremendous value from, Hope that the Story/History of the Kalinago People will not be seen through the Lens of their historical oppressors. Be true to the cause young warrior, Knowledge is awaiting.

  7. Kalinago Identity
    August 10, 2019

    Wonderful speech and great ideas, but we all know this young man did not write this. I am kalinago, I have heard the man speak, the man needs to go to school, study then come back and represent us. He cannot articulate himself, the fact is fact regardless of how many of us that voted for him. Chief Sandford with all due respect when you actually take the time to think about the quality of representation we the Kaliango people deserve, you know deep down you are not the right person for the job at this point in your life. Fact is fact, you cannot hold your own in a meeting with the United Nations or with anyone who can make a solid argument in an articulated manner. I think the person who wrote this speech for you should be Cheif. No disrespect, I am just of the opinion that we the Kalinago people deserve more than you are able to provide at this stage in your life and development. No disrespect. Just facts.

    • Dominican
      August 11, 2019

      Most Presidents and Prime Ministers don’t write their own speeches. Free up the young Kalinago champion. In the Bible a number of the kings started their journeys even younger than chief elect Sandford

    • Francis Joseph
      August 12, 2019

      Long time not comment on DNO.
      I share your concern Kalinago Identity. I`m asking not to condemn you. As a loyal, proud Kalinago, what are you able to do to be that person to raise its profile? You see, leadership is not a one person business. Take a lesson from Jesus and why to this day he is still recognised and a great morale, religious leader? That is because he had 12 disciplines and did not do his spiritual work and blessings on his own. Therefore, our Current Chief needs solid Carib Councillors to support and guide him. Pease go for it and be that servant. The Kalinago Territory and people need to take control of their destiny and to be co-operative and not be politically divided and divisive. That is what some people and politicians would like. Take up the tasks, lots of people out there who are able to guide and help you plan the future of your people and Territory. I recall my work as DDO and Director of CCF in the Territory, and helped elevate the Council. Rise up, Go for…

    • Jenny
      August 13, 2019

      There were intelligent people in that position long before chief Sanford and nothing was done to better the lives of the people. In the near future the world be be handed to the young people why not start to allow them to groom themselves to be able to grow and understand themselves and allow them to make decisions to better their communities. Why the negativity towards that young man. If you know he is not capable then roll up your sleeves and guide him to do the task he was assigned to in the manner he should instead of criticising him. Peace to all.

  8. Garvey
    August 10, 2019

    Weather he wrote it or not,it is very important the we as DA people on a whole adopt that philosophy.Big up Dominica culture.

  9. Welcome Chief
    August 10, 2019

    Young handsome Chief. Young man put your people first. I hope they hold you accountable at all times. Ask Skerrit for the Kalinago people money 💰. Then we will know you are the real deal. A warrior. We’re watching 👀

    • Forreal
      August 11, 2019

      What bull…. you spitting man,both the negro and Indian race need to demand reparations from Europeans,stop politicizing these serious issues, you see skerritt as the colonialist here?what’s mentality wrong with you all people, you all like saul,both eyes on side of you all heads.

  10. RastarMarn
    August 9, 2019

    Nuff Respect to the young Lad but as though a Kalinago Chief should be clothed in his traditional official gabs,,,

    All this Shirt and Tie Bizniss is not signs of the Colonial pardners nuh,,,

    Garçan wear your size nuh, doh come representing in an official capacity wearing gabs designed and promoted from the same ones that took heritage, Land and hereditaments!!!

  11. I Still Red
    August 9, 2019

    I like to see young people, especially young men step to the wicket to take responsibility. In fact it was because of that I supported Roosevelt Skerrit for 15 years, hoping that he would learn from the previous 5 years. To my disappointment he got far worse every year and that’s why I am forced to vote UWP and Mr. Linton next election.
    Young man this is a tremendous opportunity presented to you so please make sure you don’t disappoint me and many others, like Roosevelt Skerrit disappointed us. Make sure to circle yourself with people of good character and not like those greedy, selfish, and poisonous beasts with SC as title that Skerrit circled himself with and helped plunged him into a deep deep dark hole that he might never be able to get out of again. But you came from a strong family so I am confident you will stay on track. Good luck and God Bless you

    • viewsexpressed
      August 11, 2019

      Everyone knows all over Domininca that this failed Skerrit must Go. He has to go, he is this failure with weird fanfare and not sufficiently mature enough to be Prime Minister. There are too may challenges ahead of us to understand, comprehend and analyse, before we have little immature men like Skerrit as Prime Minister. Skerrit must Go, and now too. Out Please, you have failed us.
      Read this bit of this Kalinago person and what he says: “In fact it was because of that I supported Roosevelt Skerrit for 15 years, hoping that he would learn from the previous 5 years. To my disappointment he, “failed Skerrit” got far worse every year and that’s why I am forced to vote UWP and Mr. Linton next election.” Hon. Linton for Prime Minister.
      Yes. That is why we welcome Hon Lennox Linton and his highly Professional UWP Team. Dominicans wake up, e have work to do to build up our Domininca.

  12. out of south city
    August 9, 2019

    While reading the statement, I could not resist the thought of our African ancestors, who also fought to preserve their language and culture but were brutally beaten, lynched, raped and even denied food. Any way, regardless of all these atrocities, they were so very resilient and became independent and provided for their families. Today, they must be turning in their graves to see how dependent we have become as a people because we have allowed the institutions of our colonisers to sidetrack us and have forgotten who we are as a people. We need to once again, reclaim what is ours as well, as an African people. The dependent syndrome will kill us if we do not resist that temptation that has been put in place by corrupt and selfish leaders. We need to rise again as the resilient people we once were and set an example for the younger generation.

  13. Gouvelma
    August 9, 2019

    The little ones shall lead them!!! As you take leadership of the people and try to revive lost cultures and practices I also pray that you will pursue that which was stolen from your people. I make special reference to the Venezuela donated funds which the reigning government is yet to account for. I also call on you to stand firm in upholding honesty decency and good governance. I note that the PM has elected to take you along on a trip to the United States. In no way do I see this trip advancing the livelihood of the Kalinago people. It is more of an ego building trip for the PM intent on cornering and indoctrinating you into the labor corrupt movement. I call on you to be strong and stand for principle and morality above money and corruption. Your people have suffered under the hands of the DLP/SFP. The time to take a stance and say enough is enough is now. As the elections draw nigh I urge you to join with the team that stands for good governance and bring about positive change.

  14. JD
    August 9, 2019

    After interacting with this young man recently and the way he spoke, he could not have written this.

    Cozier wrote that for him.

    • August 9, 2019

      Distasteful Dominicans.Where do you all draw the line. Not even the presidents or PM s wrote their speeches . Idiotas

    • ?????????????????????
      August 9, 2019

      really negative people you are. never judge a book by its cover. Stop judging and if you cannot say good, refrain from saying bad. Are you his contemporary? Are you always with him that you know so well if he could or can write this? Stop it and wish others well. And I now say a nice piece of narrative. I got very interested. Now I want to know more about the Kalinago language! Give the young man a break. Go teach yourself something! there is a wealth of knowledge on the internet. Just google!

    • foreign observer
      August 9, 2019

      That doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe what has been written. If he’s had help to articulate his vision so be it. He’s been Chief for what – maybe 2 weeks? Doesn’t he deserve support rather than condemnation? So many people bemoaning the lack of youth engagement in Dominica, yet here is a youth trying to do something for his unique people.

    • blessed
      August 9, 2019

      Do we write the way we speak, didn’t think so

    • lmckoy
      August 10, 2019

      How many leaders do you know that do not have multiple advisers? The new chief is young, able and willing to learn, is committed to his people, so give him a chance.

    • Troy
      August 10, 2019

      Not surprising. This is what we do best, and we feel good about it. Your statement should be one to elevate this young Man. Whether it him who wrote it or not is not your business. The president of the United State doesn’t writer his own speech so what. Give this young man his credit, and mind your own business.

    • WeNiceMan
      August 10, 2019

      OK so what’s the big deal? World leaders have speech writers.

      Once the CONTENT reflects HIS thoughts and plans that’s all that matters.

  15. greed
    August 9, 2019

    That looking like some Cozier write

  16. Annon
    August 9, 2019

    Good speech. Don’t we all wish that Skerritt was as eloquent as this young man.

      August 9, 2019

      Oh boy! Skerrit really runs things.
      Just give the chief what is due to him without involving Skerrit.

      • viewsexpressed
        August 10, 2019

        Kid, childish on the Block, dont attempt to change the message. The message s repeated below for you to comprehend and understand, and this is a fact, we all know this. So read this again.
        “Don’t we all wish that Skerritt was as eloquent as this young man.”
        This failed man Skerrit is not eloquent and know not of socio-economic. He has killed our economy, abuse our poor people with handouts shared out at the Red Clinic. How shamefull of Skerrit an his blind loyalists.
        Also read this nonsense from that Kid on the Block. here goes: “Oh boy! Skerrit really runs things.” Again from this failed Skerrit blind loyalist who has nothing to offer us and our Dominica. Just like Skerrit these acolytes are all over trying and failing to promote Skerrit for what he is not. That`s really a failure and incompetence by this immature failed “Odd Prime Minister”. We need decent government and mature, committed leadership to strengthen our government and our people. We Welcome Hon Linton and…

    • ???????????????
      August 9, 2019

      You always dreaming about the PM! you sleep PM, wake up PM so you must talk of PM all the time!

      • Ibo france
        August 10, 2019

        Do you feel compelled to retort in kind to everything you perceive to be a slight of the PM? The man only cares about self and family. He gives you Cool Out, Red Clinic and NEP to lure you to vote for him and his utterly corrupt party. You defend the PM like a hen defends its young chicks, overly aggressive.

      • viewsexpressed
        August 10, 2019

        “???????????????”, Yes, because yyour PM is a failure, he is immature, incomoetent and has not develomtal vision on how best to take this suffering isald of us, where he, Skerrit has reduced our people to poverty and begging as he poorly managed, corrupted, insulting administered by failed Skerrit of o.
        Skerrit is not focussed on development. He feels if no talks nice talk and mention s A, B, C & D, that this development of our ailing island will function and rise up from the abyss of poverty created by failed Skerrit and his useless 19 ministers and other blind acolytes who support his foolishness. Skerrit, go away, get lost, move on and leave us alone, so go mind your “Funky Business”, just leave us alone please, leave us alone., leave us alone. Skerrit, where you going, Who`s your blind advisor?, Just leave us aloe, please, leave us alone”. So, go mind your funky business, leave us alone, just leave us alone. You have done nothing, our people are suffering – So you must Go,…

    • Ibo france
      August 9, 2019

      JD, most politicians have speech writers so they come to the podium with their prepared speeches. Delivery of the goods and commitments is much more important than who wrote the speech. I truly wish young Mr. Sanford, the Kalinago Chief well. However, anybody who has a close relationship with a surrogate of Skerrit is not good. These guys (Skerrit’s penpals) have too much of a corrupting influence on the people around them.

  17. Romain Laville
    August 9, 2019

    As the great grandson of MP/Minister Lionel Laville. You have my support.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available