10 April 2006

Carib Cultural Village Opens in Dominica

18 February, 2006
From the Office of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica

"There is great anticipation and heightened interest in Dominica and the Carib Territory in particular, for the official opening of the Kalinago Barana Auté (Carib Cultural Village by the Sea) next week.

"Initially called the Carib Model Village, the project was first conceptualized over 20 years ago, but it was not until 1994 that the Freedom Party Government put it to the Caribbean Development Bank for funding. The total estimated cost of the project is in the region of EC$2.5 million.

"The Kalinago Barana Auté is built on 4.2 acres of land and boasts a number of structures, including an Administration and Interpretation Centre, a Craft Shop, Demonstration Buildings, a Snackette, and a Karbet. Situated close to the sea, the site has a waterfall and a river flowing through it with a series of trails running through it.

"The Kalinago Barana Auté honours the diversity, history and heritage of the Kalinago people by presenting their customs and cultural traditions and by providing an opportunity for visitors to experience, learn about and appreciate their way of life.

The Project is expected to offer many opportunities and services to the Kalinago people. Some of these are:
  • Provide an opportunity for visitors and the people of Dominica to experience, learn about and appreciate the uniqueness of the Kalinago culture;
  • Develop programs so that the Village can host special events, education and community programs and facilitate research;
  • Provide ongoing economic benefits of heritage tourism to the Carib Territory by providing work, small business opportunities and the sale of crafts, traditional foods and herbs;
  • Reintroduce plants from the pre-Columbus era by developing a plant restoration program to restore the area with traditional trees, herbs, grasses, berries and traditional food plants.
"Since the 2000 General Elections, the Government of Dominica has placed the development of the Carib people high on its agenda. In September 2000, the Coalition Government led by Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Douglas, established a Department of Carib Affairs.

"In 2003, the Government of Prime Minister Hon. Pierre Charles formally endorsed the Carib People Development Plan.

"On May 12th 2005 history was created, when for the very first time, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, named a Carib, Hon. Kelly Graneau, as the Minister for Carib Affairs.

"The official opening of the Kalinago Barana Auté next week is another manifestation of this Government's strategy of economic diversification, through the development of the tourism sector. The development of the Kalinago people of Dominica is an essential component of that strategy. "

For more on the Carib Cultural Village, see Kelvin Smith's chapter in Indigenous Resurgence in the Contemporary Caribbean (Peter Lang, 2006).

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