A Poem for Lesley-Ann by Ayun
3 months ago
Formerly the Newsletter of the Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink (ISSN 1684-0232): News, essays, website reviews concerning the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, and the global struggle for indigenous rights.
Fri May 9, 11:12 PM ET
ROSEAU, Dominica - The leader of the last remaining pre-Columbian tribe in the eastern Caribbean says outlawing marriage to outsiders can save Dominica's dwindling indigenous population, but legislators are balking at deciding who can marry whom.
Chief Charles Williams has proposed a law requiring ethnic Kalinagos to marry only each other for self-preservation. He also requested that foreigners be barred from living on the tribe's 3,800-acre reserve.
"We would like as many Kalinago people to respond and pair off so that we can multiply and protect the race," Williams said during a recent news conference.
An estimated 1,000 Kalinagos of the roughly 4,000 who live on the reserve are considered full-blooded Indians. Carib women who marry non-Indians traditionally leave the reserve, while men who do the same are allowed to stay.
Several legislators said Friday that they refuse to entertain the marriage proposal.
Such a measure would be "legislating who a person can marry, and this cannot be so," Sen. Claduous Stanford told The Associated Press.
Kent Auguiste, a member of the Carib Indian council that oversees the reserve, said the culture should be preserved but not at the expense of personal freedom.
The impoverished Kalinago tribe relies mostly on banana and citrus farming.