We, the Carib Community 
of Trinidad and Tobago
©1998, Santa Rosa Carib Community, All Rights Reserved. Reproduced here as per the brochure.
  • Amerindian peoples have existed in Trinidad for as long as 7,000 years before the arrival of Columbus, and numbered at least 40,000 at the time of Spanish settlement in 1592. 
  • All of Trinidad was populated by several tribes, Trinidad being a transit point in the Caribbean network of Amerindian trade and exchange. 
  • Amerindian tribes were referred to by various names:  Yaio, Nepuyo, Chaima, Warao, Carinepogoto, Aruaca, Shebaio, Saluaio, etc. 
  • Amerindian words and place names survive into the present:  the Caroni and Oropouche rivers; the Tamana and Aripo mountains;  places such as Arima, Aripo, Paria, Arouca, Caura, Tunapuna, Tacarigua, Couva, Mucurapo, Chaguanas, Carapichaima, Guaico, Mayaro, Guayaguayare;  flora such as cassava, maize, cacao, tobacco, and fauna such as manicou and agouti. Some of the place names refer to objects used by Amerindians: Guaico, an obvious adulteration of "guayuco" refers to what some call the "loin cloth" worn by Amerindians; Aripo is the name for the griddle used to cook cassava bread; Maracas, as you have already guessed, refers to the musical rattle. Some place names also remind us of the names of Amerindian groups of the past: Chaguanas, Piarco (from Parico), Tamana,
  • Trinidad's Amerindians formed part of large regional island-to-island and island-to-mainland trading networks; the Warao of Venezuela, who still exist, were frequent vistors until only recent times. 
  • The Amerindians developed the canoe, the bow and arrow, and the ajoupa (the name of their housing structures).. 
  • Amerindian cuisine is enjoyed by many Trinidadians:  Cassava bread and Farine;  Warap; barbecued wild game;  corn pastelles; coffee;  cocoa;  chardon beni. 
  • The Amerindians also gave Trinidad and Tobago its first major rebellion in the name of freedom:  the Arena uprising of 1699, led by Cacique Bustamante. 
  • In 1783 Trinidad's Amerindians were displaced from their lands to make way for the influx of French planters and their African slaves. 
  • Around 1759 the Mission of Arima was formed, consolidated and enlarged by 1786, and the Amerindians were to have had control of a maximum of 1,300 acres of land. 
  • A number of tribes were pressed into Arima, mostly Nepuyo, and generically referred to as either "Caribe" or "Indio" -- Arima was the last Mission Town. 
  • Parang, utilizing both Spanish and Amerindian musical instruments, emerged from the evangelization of the Amerindians, some argue. 
  • The Caribs in Arima , converted to Catholicism, were led by a Titular Queen.  
  • The histories of major towns such as Arima and Siparia, two large former Amerindian Mission Towns, have given us Trinidad's two oldest festivals:  The Santa Rosa Festival of Arima, and La Divina Pastora in Siparia. 
  • The Santa Rosa Carib Community is the last remaining organized group of people identifying with an Amerindian identity and way of life.  
  • At least 12,000 people in Northeast Trinidad may be of Amerindian descent.

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