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Call to keep Culpepper clear

Published on: 3/17/06.

THE ARAWAKS AND CARIBS are reclaiming Culpepper Island, St Philip.

They are doing it peacefully, though, with no legal battles, petitions, protests or demands.

Damon Corrie of the Lokono-Arawak nation and Jacob Frederick of the Karifuna-Carib nation are the two men behind the move.

Corrie told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday he wanted the small island, located near Bayfield, to remain the way it is right now, untouched.

He said he had heard of plans to develop it but was not sure when, how and if it would be done.

"It will be a national tragedy if they develop it. The area should remain pristine and the bay surrounding it. We have no plans of trying to erect traditional Arawak buildings," Corrie said.

"We want it to remain undeveloped and natural for all and future generations," he added.

"There are hundreds of us living here (in the Caribbean) that are direct descendants of Princess Marian who came here in 1925," he said.

She died a few years later and was buried at Westbury Cemetery.

He explained that the princess was the daughter of the last hereditary Lokono-Arawak Chief Amorotahe Haubariria (Flying Harpy Eagle) of the Eagle Clan Arawaks.

Corrie also said shell tools and bird eggs had been found on Culpepper Island and it was believed that they were from the pre-Colombus era. In a Press release both Corrie and Frederick, who is from Dominica, sought to dispel the rumours that the Arawaks and Caribs were extinct.

"[We] hereby declare to the world that rumours of our extinction are greatly exaggerated and we are in fact still very much alive and among you – the inhabitants of our island who came after we were robbed of our birthright in the name of civilisation and progress," the release stated.

They also condemned the fact that the Karifuna-Carib inhabitants of St Vincent and Trinidad still had no territory "after five centuries of being discriminated against and marginalised in their own lands". (DS)

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