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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

Dominica is an island full of secrets and mysteries. It is well-known for its incomparable beauty of the nature, but that is not the only feature a tourist can get attracted by. If you are inquisitive enough, it will be quite interesting for you to get acquainted with the native population of Dominica – Dominica Kalinago people, formerly known as the Caribs. .

So, who are those people? One may think they’re just like other authentic tribes or settlements in the USA or in Canada, for example, but this is not true. The Kalinagos is an outstanding people, because they don’t resemble any other nation, moreover, their culture, lifestyle, traditions and beliefs are very individual.

Nowadays the Kalinago people is not very numerous – only about 3000 of them remaining. They live separately, having their own area called the Carib Territory, in their own villages. There is a Kalinago chief who represents the interests of his people. It’s quite evident, that the Kalinagos are rather all-sufficient and that means they have their own rich and full-fledged culture which has been developing for more than 5000 years and now it is still preserved by the Kalinagos with zeal.

The Kalinagos have always been a friendly people, well-known for their hospitality. They are not afraid of strangers to whom they are always ready to offer food, drink or even an excursion to the most extraordinary places of their native island. This people are peaceful, and that means that they wouldn’t try to solve the possible problems by force. It’s more of their nature to coexist with other nations in peace and honest cooperation. From the times of Columbus the Kalinagos were known to be respectful and friendly, as the great seafarer described them to be the best people he had ever met. And you can be sure that nowadays nothing has changed, and a tourist will certainly get a cordial welcome.

photo of Carib house in Dominica

But such trustfulness and amicability sometimes had not a good result and the Caribs were betrayed, as well as there were lots of attempts to conquer this people. But the Caribs of Dominica are not easy to be conquered and the key to this is rather evident. They are the spirits of nature, they entirely belong to it and nature can help its children. The wood, the mountains and the rivers can sometimes protect not worse than stone walls and the innate instincts of the Caribs serve them better than a perfect battle craft. In the heart of their mother-nature they will always get the better of the situation.

The ability to protect themselves using the secrets of nature becomes apparent not only in the hostilities, but also in the sphere of healing. Any Carib will tell you a story about shamans with pleasure. The Kalinago people know everything about healing herbs, and a shaman is a “doctor”, who cures with herbs and magic. We all have the right not to believe in magic spells but the fact that herbs do possess the healing properties can’t be denied. Would be rather adventurous to try to get some decoction formula, wouldn’t it…

Well, but there’s always the reverse of the medal. There’s a certain cost at which the culture is preserved and it is rather high. There’s a modernization on Dominica which is the result of the progress like in any other country. But as the Kalinagos are not fully assimilated with the rest of the island, they have no possibility to use all the services offered. The other inhabitants have electricity and roads but the Kalinagos are deprived of this. The problem with schools stands aside because it is the most acute one – the Kalinagos often can’t get the education at school, because it is situated far away from their home and there’s simply no possibility for little children to go there… The problem can’t be ignored, to my mind. Hope the government will try to provide to the Kalinagos the right to get education.

This lot is quite authentic, with rich history, valuable culture, stable traditions. They have their own crafts and possess a gentle temper. The Dominica Kalinago people’s mode of life can serve as an example and, however that may be, their culture is a store of interesting facts and features to discover and to get closer to while visiting fabulous Dominica.

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