Indigenous Kalinago People of Dominica
“Nearly 6,000 years ago, people took the bold step of paddling their canoes out beyond the horizon of the Caribbean Sea, where no land could be seen. They were well rewarded for taking this risk, for they found a large, rich, and uninhabited chain of islands that stretched 1,500 km and contained more than 200,000 sq. km of land. It was the last large area of the Americas to be explored and populated.”
– Samuel M. Wilson
There is an abundance of information on the Western Island Civilization (Caribbean Region) that provide sufficient evidence to advocate that there was the existence of peoples within that region for an extended period of time. These confirms that before the period of European colonization, referred to by scholars as ‘Pre-history’ or ‘Pre-Columbian’, the area as part of the wider Western hemisphere was a heavily populated area. It was also evident that the area consisted of a land with its own peoples and ways of life, and as varied and diverse as any of the other populated areas in the world. Because of this, the “island basin” inclusive of the coastal areas of Columbia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, and islands such as Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Wai’tukubuli and the other islands of the Lesser Antilles, there lived hunting, fishing, and agrarian peoples such as the Kalinago, Taino, Lokono (Arawak), and others.
Although the ultimate records revealed in the European written stories about the people have been unable to distinctly discern differences between various waves of Amerindian settlement, the material culture literally “unearths” diverse characteristics.
It now appears that the people referring to their tribe as the Kalinago inhabited the islands of the Lesser Antilles for a long time as one of the waves of inhabitants coming to the islands from the Southern Continent. While not establishing a westernized perception of an advanced civilization with massive permanent infrastructure, there are clear indications of the movement of the people through sessional migration based on the availability of basic food supplies. This suggested that there were temporary settlements within close proximity of each other along the coasts of all islands enabled through access by the dugout canoe. This mode of transportation allowed the Kalinago operated freely throughout the region for the intents of commerce and exploration sanctioning for the operating of one of the world’s first Sea Borne Empires.
The Kalinago people occupying the eastern smaller islands within the Island Civilization, before the European invasions, by all standards reverberated the nature of a successfully evolving tribal society with similar characteristics of the island dwellers before them. Evidence supporting this is based on the confirmation produced by both archaeological and anthropological analysis about the nature of their existence toward the commencement of colonialism. As distinct academic disciplines, the Archaeological data unearths the material culture of the people, while the anthropological information discusses the behavioural patterns of the society.