Kalinago Council

The Kalinago council office sits atop a steep hill in Salybia, the unofficial territory capital (Photo by Ruane Remy) Just north of the main road near the area known as...

The Kalinago council office sits atop a steep hill in Salybia, the unofficial territory capital

(Photo by Ruane Remy)

Just north of the main road near the area known as St. Cyr in Salybia, the Kalinago council office sits atop a steep hill with a view all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Kalinago council, as it exists today, is a creation of Dominica’s Carib Reserve Act of 1978.The Act’s purpose is to set the boundaries of the Kalinago Territory and to form the body that can run and regulate the territory. This allows the people some autonomy as a distinct group within the country.

Before the Act and pre-1956, the people would choose their chief by submitting the name of the person they thought best suited. After 1956, a representative of the Queen (Dominica was under British rule from 1763- 1978) would select a chief from those who applied. The Kalinago people would then approve the decision.

The council consists of the chief and six other members, all elected. The chief is paid and the other positions are voluntary. The chief must be a resident of the territory and a term of office is usually five years. There have  been no female chiefs and there is currently one female councillor. Every person with the right of residence on the reserve—born in the territory, one parent is Kalinago or lived in the territory for 12 years—is eligible to vote in elections.

The council can create bylaws “for the rule and good government of the Reserve generally for the occupation and use of lands in the Reserve,” as is written in the Act.
finance and managementThe following categories fall under the council’s jurisdiction:View from Kalinago Council Office (Photo by Ruane Remy)
  • finance and management
  • community and public works
  • youth and sports
  • disaster management
  • agriculture, environment and fisheries
  • culture, tourism and community events
  • social services, community and gender affairs

Excluding the public road cutting through the territory, the council also has the right to prevent individuals who do not normally reside there from “working, occupying or cultivating lands in the Reserve.” An outsider can reside within the territory if a permanent resident has invited that person for lawful purposes, such as marriage.

Next: Identity: From Carib to Kalinago 

Back: Kalinago Territory

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