Indigenous People of the Caribbean

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Submitted By xavier115
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The Indigenous Heritage Of The Caribbean And Its Contribution To A Caribbean Identity
Text from the Untold Origins Exhibition held at the Cuming Museum, October 2004 to February 2005.

The Cuming Museum

155-157 Walworth Road London SE17 1RS 020 7525 2163

‘Mabrika Mabrika- welcomeIt has been very important to be able to look at the objects in the Cuming Museum. It makes me realise how much we can regain from what we have lost of our culture by studying these objects.’
The Honourable Charles Williams, Carib Chief of the Carib Territory, Commonwealth of Dominica, on a visit to the Cuming Museum, October 6 2004. He is holding a ceremonial baton or club, used by chiefs as a badge of office on ceremonial occasions. From the Schomburgk collection.

The Caribbean has always seen people on the move - from the settlement of people from the South American mainland thousands of years ago, the forced settlement of enslaved people from Africa, to the 'Island hopping' and immigration abroad in search of work in the 20th century. Within the Untold Origins exhibition we explored what happens when people and cultures move and come into contact with each other. What do people preserve from their original culture to maintain their sense of identity? How does contact with a new culture change how they view themselves? The histories and stories of the people who populated the Caribbean prior to the arrival of Europeans 500 years ago seemed hidden. Until recently the received history of the Caribbean as taught in schools repeated the inaccurate story of Carib cannibals eating their way up the island chain, terrorising the more civilised Arawak communities. The indigenous people had been represented as being exterminated, with tiny populations of survivors on a few islands. The…...

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