Kalinago Chief, Lorenzo Sanford, is optimistic that the addition of Kalinago Day to the independence calendar will increase Kalinago participation in Creole celebrations.
He told Dominica Vibes that Kalinago culture is not as highly recognized as creole culture but that could change.
He said, “We believe the more dominant culture overshadows our Kalinago culture- and for obvious reasons, we are the minority.
“However, that will change when Kalinago Day is officially recognized as part of the calendar of events during the independence period.”
The Chief says that this addition to the calendar has been celebrated by Kalinagos for years but they are now looking to have this observance nationally recognized.
Chief Sanford added, “We celebrate September 19th which marks the Kalinago uprising of (the) 1930’s in the defense of having the right to self-governance and other basic human rights. We have been calling for that day to be recognised as the official Kalinago Day.
“We are pleased to know that at the inauguration of the Council, the Hon Prime Minister made the commitment to recognize that date as the official Kalinago Day, after consultation with the people.”
Chief Sanford also wanted to clarify that the Kalinago people are Dominican citizens, and therefore do participate in the independence activities.
“We were first to inhabit Dominica. It means therefore that we were always free and had autonomy over our actions and a right to self-governance.
“…We were driven from our native settlements and given a small section of the island. Statehood was achieved thereafter, and Dominica became an independent nation. Ideally, as Kalinagos, we too are Dominicans and so we pay tribute to Dominica being an independent state, and we also participate in the activities.”