Carib of Dominica - Religion and Expressive Culture



Religious Beliefs. Carib beliefs in supernatural forces involve some retention of traditional elements, a long history of Catholic influence, more recent Christian missionary endeavors, and generalized West Indian folklore. Most Carib consider themselves Catholics and continue to have babies baptized by the local priest, but they express little interest in Catholic theology. A growing number have become affiliated with U.S.-based Protestant fundamentalists. Numerous maladies continue to be attributed to witches, but fear of witchcraft is diminishing. The Carib believe that Creoles are the most dangerous witches. Children are told stories about the wondrous magical powers of their Indian ancestors. In the mid-twentieth century, the Carib still relied on magic to protect their gardens from theft, but such remedies are no longer considered effective.


Ceremonies. Religious rituals are performed in churches, but most Carib seldom attend a church service. The Baptists sometimes have a public baptism to initiate new members; these, however, attract very few participants or spectators.


Arts. Traditional drumming has all but died out because the Carib now prefer the music they hear on the radio. Some of the baskets they make, especially those for sale, are aesthetically enhanced by coloring, and some attempts have been made to produce additional arts and crafts for the tourist trade. As art supplies and photographic equipment have become more obtainable, some interest in painting and photography has begun to emerge.


Medicine. The availability of modern medicine has eroded faith in magical cures. The last remaining medicine woman has died, but many still experiment with herbal cures, and some older residents insist that certain formulas are particularly reliable. Many, especially pregnant women and women with babies, take advantage of the services of a local public-health nurse and clinics staffed by a visiting doctor. Maladies that fail to respond to modern medical treatment are likely to be attributed to witchcraft.


Death and Afterlife. When someone dies at home, as is usually the case, the body is laid out and neighbors are encouraged to drop in. Funerals, at which the corpse is buried in a cemetery, are modest; but wakes are far more elaborate, involving a large number of family, friends, and even strangers who may wish to come by if only for food, drink, and games. There is general agreement that the dead have an afterlife, but there seems to be no clear picture of what such an existence entails.

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caryn
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Oct 21, 2015 @ 6:18 pm
THIS ARTICLE IS QUITE EDUCATIONAL AND DISTURBING AT THE SAME TIME.IT TEACHES US ABOUT OUR ANCESTORS AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOW AND THEN BELIEFS.

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