Produced in 2010, this presentation provides a concentrated overview of the political and cultural resurgence of Carib indigeneity in Trinidad and Tobago, against forces that would declare the Caribs to be "extinct".
In which ways can one speak of a “resurgence” of indigeneity in Trinidad? What does it mean to be Carib in Trinidad today? Does acknowledging a Carib presence significantly alter mainstream theories of the historical and cultural development of Caribbean societies? How have Trinidadian self-perceptions and self-representations been altered by acknowledging the Carib presence? These and related questions are addressed by Maximilian Forte in his outline and analysis of the increased recognition of the Carib presence in Trinidadian society, and the many political contradictions faced by the “Carib resurgence”. In particular, we are invited to examine the meanings and valuations of indigeneity, the multiple interests vested in erasing the theme of indigenous extinction (long prevalent), and the poisoned chalice of state support for the organized, formalized Carib Community in Arima, Trinidad. We will look at the roles of the state, the Catholic Church, the national media, and the transnational indigenous peoples’ movement in both spotlighting and circumscribing the Carib resurgence. Ultimately, the discussion will broach the question: If there is Carib resurgence, why does it matter?