07 August 2011

Preserve heritage sites. New Carib Queen:

Preserve heritage sites. New Carib Queen:
By Louis B Homer
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Aug 7, 2011 at 11:42 PM ECT

As newly-elected Carib Queen Jennifer Cassar took up office on Saturday, she immediately called for the preservation of all special Amerindian sites in Trinidad.

In her maiden speech as head of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Carib Community, Cassar said: "I am emboldened to engage the attention of the authorities and the national community on the preservation of Corita, a petroglyphics stone at Maracas St Joseph, site of the old church at Caura Valley, Banwarie site in south Trinidad, and La Venezuela Statue on Old Santa Cruz Road."

She said the positive contributions made by their forefathers to the development of these areas have been largely ignored, and the history of Trinidad and Tobago has been no different.

Cassar said her first step would be the realisation of a heritage village which is critical to the preservation of Carib culture, spiritual traditions, and the social and economic development of young people.

She said Government has agreed to grant the community 25 acres of land on Blanchisseuse Road.

"My first duty will be to pursue discussions with the Cabinet-appointed committee to complete the paper work to officially hand over the land to the community next year."

She said the village will be used as a catalyst to generate employment, provide food security and the understanding of indigenous food and craft, create an environment for the education of children, create a museum to showcase the diversity of the nation, and to develop activities in eco- tourism and sustainable business activities.

Cassar, a descendant from a full Carib bloodline from Guyana, was inaugurated as the new Carib Queen at a colourful ceremony during Holy Mass at Santa Rosa Roman Catholic Church, Arima, in the presence of members of the Carib community and officials from the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism and various organisations.

Minister Winston Peters was represented at the historic ceremony by Permanent Secretary Jennifer Jones.

Following her anointment by Monsignor Allan Ventour, parish priest of Arima, the community's new banner was blessed and Cassar was presented to the congregation, with loud acclamation from members of the community, as their fifth Queen of the Carib Community of Santa Rosa.

Her predecessor, Valentina Medina, died recently after serving as queen for 11 years.

03 August 2011

The Caurita Stone and Trinidad's Caribs

First published as:
Caurita Stone a Carib legacy
By Heather-Dawn Herrera
In the Trinidad Express, 14 July 2011

Since 1995 when the existence of the Caurita Stone was first publicised in our local newspapers, there has been much speculation as to the origins and meanings of the etchings on its surface. Back then, the stone was known as the "Mystery Stone of Caurita".

Today, the site, in the hills of the Maracas Valley where the stone is located, is the main destination of hikers and descendants of Amerindian ancestry.

Ricardo Bharath Hernandez, chief of the Santa Rosa Carib community, and Cristo Adonis, shaman for the community, led us on a trip up to Caurita, which included members of the National Heritage Council Rawle Mitchell and Niketa Yearwood.

Adonis, well acquainted with the natural vegetation of the area, pointed out several plants that usually go unnoticed by the untrained eye. The roots and leaves of most of these plants are composed of important medicinal ingredients for various illnesses and diseases. Adonis identified many of these precious plants amid the understorey of the forest.

As the trail wound through estates of cocoa, coffee and mixed species of forest, a bubbly stream criss-crossed the way several times. Immortelle trees provided sanctuary for oropendolas, busy as always with the duty of building nests and caring for their young. A large ficus tree welcomed a bay-headed tanager onto its shady bough.

It was just below the area of a large bamboo stool that Adonis revealed how he first found the stone.

"I was in these hills searching for the stone. My little son was with me at the time. When we reached this bamboo stool, an agouti dashed up the ridge ahead. My son said, 'Where the agouti run is where the stone is.' We headed up this ridge, following the direction of the agouti, and found the stone alongside the track."

Eager now to reach the stone, our party headed up the ridge, and just as Adonis had described, there it was, sitting prominently at the side of the trail.

The height and width of the stone is roughly six feet by eight feet, and drawings have been etched into the top half of its exposed surface at the front. These drawings show faintly between the growing mosses that carpet the stone. Mitchell promptly got to work cleaning the stone, so the depictions on the surface could be seen clearly.

Members of the Santa Rosa Carib community view this stone as having special spiritual significance and regard it as part of their natural heritage. Some of the etchings identified depict a chief, other people in ceremonial wear and a deer.

The chief and the shaman present gave offerings to the four porters or gateways: El Tucuche to the north, El Cerro del Aripo to the east, San Fernando Hill to the south and a mountain in Venezuela's Paria peninsula to the west.

It is agreed among Amerindian communities in Trinidad that etchings on the stone bear spiritual significance. The site of the Caurita Stone is now regarded as an important part of the ongoing quest for knowledge and understanding of Amerindian ancestral occupation and life on this island.

Sites such as this bear testimony that our First Nation did set the path for our present way of life and so, as an integral part of our anthem, do represent an important part of our heritage for the future.

01 August 2011

The Chief's Prayers

Today is both the start of the month of Santa Rosa for the Carib Community in Arima, Trinidad & Tobago, as well as African Emancipation Day. Sometimes the two events are jointly celebrated on top of Calvary Hill in Arima, where the events begin at 6:00am with the blasting of the cannon. As that cannon is blasted, this post is scheduled to go up. Usually a smoke ceremony is held by the Caribs, and this is a collection of some of the prayers used by Chief Ricardo Bharath Hernandez. Best wishes to the Carib Community and Happy Emancipation Day!


Adaiahiili Tamushi Anshika ba
O Great Spirit God give us your
Maiauhii daiba wai koma anshihi
Peace so we can love as you love us
Amarita mun sakwa daiba
Make us healthy so
Wai koma kamunka usahu kahiihii
We can have a good life
Wa chin achi waianchicha
We praise you O Lord


Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)
published in Native American Prayers - by the Episcopal Church.


We send our prayers to the Great Spirit
Adaiahiili Tamushi
Whose manifestation we see in the spirit of the hawk,
Whose spirit we see in the mighty wind,
Whose spirit manifests through the sacred fire,
Who gives sustenance through the waters,
Who is ever-present in the forests,
And who gives us the provisions of the earth.
And through Santa Rosa,
We ask that he may receive our prayers,
As we pray for forgiveness,
As we pray in thanksgiving,
As we pray for continued blessings
For our Community,
For our Borough,
For our nation,
And for our world.

Here are some more prayers in the various Indigenous languages of the Caribbean:


Kioumoue tetaniem oubecouyum:
santiketàla eyeti:
membouilla biouboutou malibatali:
Mingatte-catou-thoattica ayeoula tibouic monba cachi tibuic-bali oubecou.
Huere-bali im-eboue bimàle louago lica hueyou icoigne:
roya-catou-kia-banum huenocaten huiouine cachi roya-ouabàli nhìuine innocatitium ouaone.
Aca menépeton-ouahattica toróman tachaouonnê-tebouroni:
irheu chibacaiketa-baoua touaria toulibani-hanhan-catou.


Mábuiga María
Buíntibu labu gracis
Abúreme biníuatibu
Jádan sun
UUríña biníuatiguiyé
Tin bágaim Jesus.
Sándu María lúguchu
Ayumuraguabá uáu
Uguñetó, lídan
Ora uóuve. Ítara la.


Karima, najamutuata jakutai,
Jiwai yatomanetekunarai.
Jirujuna rujanu rijana.
Najamutuata jiaobojona eku abaya.
Raina eku monukajase jiaobojona eku abakunarai.
Kanajoro ama saba jakutai taisi kamoau.
Kaisiko asiraja nonajakutai taisi kuare barinaka kaobojona bereaoko.
Taisi monuka kaobojona asirajasi kuare barinaka bere.
Kayakara minaka jau.
Tiarone asiraja arotuma amojekumo kejeronu.
Iji are Airamo tane rujakitane ja.
Iji are jijara taeraja.
Iji are Airamowitu.