The Kalinago Territory

The Kalinago Territory

Location, Name and Territory

The Kalinago Territory of Dominica was formerly known as the Carib Territory or the Carib Reserve and comprises some 3,700-acre (15 sq. km.) of remote and mountainous land on the north eastern Atlantic coast of the island. It was established by British colonial authorities in 1903 for the indigenous Kalinago people who inhabited Dominica prior to European colonization and settlement. The Territory lies along Dominica’s wild northeastern coast and a paved coastal road links the territory’s eight hamlets from Bataka in the north to Sinecou in the south, with Concord to the west of Salybia.

The Carib Reserve Act

Seventy five years after establishment of the Carib Reserve, the Carib Reserve Act was enacted in 1978  which was the same year of Dominica’s independence from British rule. Its enactment reaffirmed the Carib Reserve’s boundaries, its land management, institutions of local government and its governance by a Chief.

Development and Infrastructure

In the late 1980s, a road initially cut but left unpaved was finally fully paved as an asphalt road. Known to date but not defined, what is known as the ‘Old Colonial Road’ passes through all hamlets of the territory with the exception of Concord. Soon after, came electricity and infrastructure which the Kalinago Territory did not enjoy prior to this date, unlike all other places in Dominica has enjoyed for many years. Social development and integration with the rest of the inhabitants in Dominica was therefore severely hampered to the detriment of the Kalinago people.

Population and Governance

The population of the Kalinago Territory has always been estimated to be around 3,000 Kalinago since prior to the 1980s and this figure today must surely be incorrect at best. Furthermore, the population in hamlets nearer to the boundaries of the territory has mixed with local people of African and mixed descent outside the territory to a large degree and a few have also mixed with others from outside the island, a natural process of slow globalisation.

Legal residents of the territory share communal ownership of all land within the Territory. The Kalinago Territory has limited local government in the institutions of the Kalinago Council, and its head the Kalinago Chief, which are the equivalent in power to the village councils and council chairpersons elsewhere in Dominica. The administrative centre is located in Salybia (also known as Salibia), which is the largest of a total of eight hamlets in the Kalinago Territory.

Revival of Kalinago Customs & Culture

Fueled largely by Caribs who had gained more education and traveled to other countries, mainly the United Kingdom and Europe, as well as the growth of the tourist industry, modern movements of revival, rediscovery and preservation of Carib culture is ongoing by various small groups in the territory. The Kalinago people prior to this revival had lost most of its culture and customs during the course of all the years of colonization.

A Model Carib village, the Kalinago Barana Auté, was constructed and officially opened in 2006. Cultural preservation groups stage dance and musical performances at the model village and other locations, and practice traditional Carib crafts, such as making baskets and pottery, that are sold to tourists as souvenirs.

In February of 2015, a name change from the ‘Carib Reserve’ to ‘Kalinago Territory’ was brought to Parliament under the Carib Territory Amendment Act by Kalinago Affairs Minister, Mr. Casius Darroux, which received approval from Parliament and was subsequently passed into law.

Other completed projects include the construction of the Salybia Primary School in May 2010 and the L’Escalier Tête Chien Tourism Facility which was completed in 2011.

What The Future Holds for the Kalinago

Current Minister of Kalinago Affairs, Mr. Cassius Darroux, has development plans for the Kalinago Territory which are slated to include:-

  • new accommodations for the Kalinago Village Council,
  • the commissioning of a resource centre,
  • the resurfacing of the Kalinago Territory road networks and
  • the Sineku playing field (started in 2010, ongoing)

Dated: April 28th, 2017