Karifuna Cultural Group
The Karifuna Cultural Group was established in 1978 with the objective to revive and maintain the remaining aspects of the Kalinago culture. Over the years, the group has assisted to position Kalinago cultural heritage within the national context.
Employing popular theater techniques, the group has attempted to educate the residents of the Kalinago Territory by focusing their attention on the issues and challenges in their lives and helping to find solutions to these circumstances.
Over two hundred (200) young persons have been registered to be active members of the group at varying intervals over the years, and they all were engaged in researching, documenting, and presenting the Kalinago culture beyond the parameters of the Kalinago community.
Group members have served and continue to serve the community in various capacities such as Ouboutou, members of the Kalinago Council, teachers, doctors, sports officers, priests, district development officers, health and other social workers and church leaders. The institution has also been the nurturing and training ground for all other cultural groups in the Kalinago Territory.
The overarching achievements of Karifuna include international travel and the forging of contacts with other indigenous peoples while presenting Kalinago culture to the world. The groups travels have brought Kalinago youth to North and South continents, Europe and the entire ‘Caribbean’ region. Karifuna has actively established and fostered relationships with other indigenous groups and organizations worldwide.
Locally, the group was bestowed the E.O. Leblanc Award in 1981; for the best cultural group in the island, the Golden Drum award in 2003 for the development and promotion of Kalinago and Dominican Culture. Added to the groups accolades is the LIME lifetime Award of 2012. Additionally, the group has assisted immensely in the island’s tourism thrust and its visual performing arts presentations are in constant demand by visitors to the island.
The group operates out of the ‘Platform’ in Crayfish River; a facility which tremendous financial and labour resources were invested by the membership at the time.
The group’s intent is the construction of a ‘Cultural Center’ for the Kalinago Territory that will enable the group and others to develop within the constructs of a well-organized place designed for cultural performances, shows and large gatherings. Karifuna also expects to use the center for economic generation activities that would create employment for membership and other persons in the Kalinago Territory.
Karina Cultural Group
An offspring of the Karifuna Cultural group, the aim of Karina is to revive, help and maintain Kalinago tradition through song, dances, herbal medicine and some aspects of the ancient Kalinago language.
Through its cultural activities, the group has assisted in creating awareness among the younger generation, the wider Dominican society and by extension the region.
Honoring and inspired by their history and people, the cultural group performs occasionally at the Kalinago Barana Autê. With their drums, dance and songs, Karina cultural performances unite the past with the present and the spirit of their ancestors come alive in their songs and rhythmic drumming.
This dance troupe is an offshoot of the Karifuna and Karina Cultural groups and established as the in-house assemblage for the KBA. Members operate fulltime within the establishment and produce elements of traditional dance expressions while participating in the production of Kalinago art/craft.