|Hurricane Maria destruction is everywhere|
Of course, he thought he had found India, thus the misnomer of calling the people he encountered, “Indians.” That was only the first of several embarrassing blunders by the uninvited guests.
|Kalinaga home amidst defoliated landscape |
Research suggests however, that the Kalinaga’s spiritual framework may have led them to believe that they would acquire the strength and power of their enemies by ingesting some of their flesh. Perhaps the reader finds this distinction to be splitting hairs, but to me, this kind of partaking of flesh does take on a different flavor from cannibalism. (Pun intended).
|Surviving descendant of African slaves |
and a wild dog
In addition to the white Europeans, tens of thousands of kidnapped male slaves from Africa were being unceremoniously dumped onto the islands as well, and replenished repeatedly.
|Our excellent guide took us to the ruins |
of an old sugar cane processing plant.
Note massive wheel powered by water.
While those decent Christian Europeans were trying to develop some good, honest commerce in the islands—a place that was clearly ripe for development and domination, the Kalinaga continued to fight them off.
|Reservation land on far mountains|
It wasn’t long before the European settlers voted on the question of whether the Kalinaga should be eliminated entirely. They actually voted! “To kill or not to kill.” (Does it go without saying that there is actually a Commandment that already addresses this question?)
|The Kalinaga are learning to take |
advantage of tourists' interest in their
history by selling handmade crafts.
However, not unlike the Nazi decision that would spawn the Holocaust many years in the future, the "final solution” for the Kalinaga was that the islands would be better off without them. Kalinaga were hunted down and systematically exterminated. (The guys with big guns are traditionally the decision-makers, as we well know).
|Home on reservation land|
To the Kalinaga’s credit, they managed to thwart the settlement of Europeans on Dominican soil for almost 200 years! The extremely rugged mountainous topography likely contributed to their success. In the end, however, the only Kalinaga to escape slaughter lived where they had retreated, high up in the mountains.
|Kalinaga woman's shop|
The cultural losses of the Kalinaga have been dramatic, as have the losses of all native groups on this side of the Atlantic. Their native language is lost forever. A few of their old traditional skills have been preserved, such as water-tight basketry, canoe building from a single log, pottery and carving.
|This woman, Elizabeth "Ma Pampo" Israel |
died in 2003 at the age of 128.
*See footnote below for more information.
|Fruits that grow on Dominica include coconuts, |
persimmons, mangos, almonds, cocoa, bananas,
avocadoes, oranges, grapefruit, tamarind, breadfruit,
pineapples, and more.
|Most of the island remains without |
|A Primary school on the Kalinaga reservation|
The only living members of an entire people and culture unique to the Caribbean islands have been all but obliterated. I found myself hoping that the Kalinaga we encountered did not know that I sailed from a country that celebrates Columbus Day.
*On Dominica, families vie for the honor of having an elder over 100 years live with them. Those who live beyond 100 years receive free utilities, free rent, and many other benefits. Imagine, a nation where everyone wants to have Grandma live at their house?
|How many years will it take for the jungle |
canopy to return to the east coast of Dominica?