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Indigenous Culture and Heritage - Grenada

Updated: May 30, 2023

There are rich indigenous or Amerindian traditions that continue to exist in Grenada. They are evident in our foods, arts and craft, language and heritage landscapes. They also had values of self-sustenance and were advanced in building their own societies. The indigenous people, in particular, the Caribs or Kalinagos were the first inhabitants of the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.


Foods

Ground provisions eaten as part of the Grenadian diet have its origin in our indigenous heritage. This includes sweet potato and cassava. The Caribs or Kalinagos used the Cassava to make a variety of dishes including an alcoholic beverage. Today, the community of Munich has maintained Cassava using it to make Cassava bread, and also to turn Cassava into farine. Corn is also a staple of the indigenous peoples. On the sister isle of Carriacou, the Annual Corn festival is held to celebrate corn and the variety of dishes that can be made including corn soup, roast corn, corn porridge, corn cake, Konkie and corn flour.




Arts and Crafts

The Indigenous people were very good with their hands. They were skilled artisans. These skills included:

  • Ceramics and pottery

  • Weaving to create hammocks for sleeping

  • Agricultural tools

  • Woodworking to make canoes and paddles for fishing

Language

There are words in our lingo or language today that are derived from the indigenous peoples. They form part of our everyday vocabulary. Examples of such words include:

  • Manioc (cassava)

  • Maize (corn)

  • Hammock

  • Hurricane

  • Canoe

  • Barbeque

  • Tobacco

  • Potato

  • Cacique

  • Caribou


Heritage landscapes

Petroglyphs which are writings made by the Indigenous peoples can be found at designated locations. One such example is in Mt. Rich. There is the Mt. Rich Carib Stone Interpretation Center, located in the northern parish of St. Patrick's.

Learn more: MYCEDO


There is a Petroglyph path in which persons can do a tour using a guided map to visit various petroglyph locations in Grenada.


In addition, there are Workstone sites. Workstones are large boulders that

formed from repeated use in the manufacturing of stone tools used in hunting or farming. One example can be found in Grand Mal in St. George's.


Mt. Rich Petroglyphs
Mt. Rich Petroglyphs

Lastly, there is the heritage site in Sauteurs called Leapers Hill. This site is historic due to the events of May 30, 1650 in which many Caribs or Kalingos lost their lives. Today, that event is believed to be an example of genocide.


Leapers Hill
Leapers Hill

Values

The Indigenous people held the value of being self-sustaining communities. They were actively engaged in agriculture, and could feed themselves. They were also fishermen and hunters. They were artisans and craftsmen and women. Furthermore, they had a formal political structure with a chief and elders. The ability to be self-sustaining is a value that can be rewarding for any island or community.


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