Irvince Auguiste: Traditionalist Candidate for Chief of the Kalinago NationTweet
TODAY LRI EXAMINES ONE OF FOUR CANDIDATES FOR THE POSITION OF CHIEF OF THE GREAT KALINAGO NATION OF DOMINICA ISLAND IN THE CARIBBEAN, TRADITIONALIST CANDIDATE MR. IRVINCE AUGUISTE, WE LOOK AT HIS PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS, HIS CURRENT EFFORTS, AND HIS NOBLE VISION FOR THE FUTURE INCLUSIVE TRIBAL GOVERNMENT HE IS DEDICATED TO CREATING.
IRVINCE’S POLITICAL HISTORY:
In 1984 Irvince Auguiste became the youngest Kalinago Chief ever in the history of the great Kalinago People – the last and most successful indigenous defenders of the Caribbean islands from ALL European invaders, the Spanish, the French – even the English could not defeat them for almost 300 years after the villain Columbus unleashed the Native American Holocaust in the New World.. Irvince served his people as Chief from 1984-1994, and then served as a member of every Kalinago Tribal Council from 2004-2014.
IRVINCE ESTABLISHES HIS CREDENTIALS AS A KALINAGO TRADITIONALIST IN HIS FIRST TENURE AS CHIEF:
Since the 1980s under the leadership of Irvince first two terms as Chief, we have witnessed a new political phenomenon in the Carib Territory called Caribism. This idea came from a few other community conscious people which Irvince supported. So it posits that the polarization of the Carib people along party lines is the antithesis of Carib unity and that what is needed is a Carib peoples’ political organization that would enlist the support of all Caribs in securing a seat in Parliament. From there, the Carib organization could bargain with whichever party won a majority in Parliament. Caribism calls for greater autonomy in the administration of Carib Territory affairs, cultural reeducation in the schools, establishment of international linkages in an effort to assist the development of the territory, agricultural diversification, revitalization of Carib cultural heritage, and resolution of the longstanding dispute on the Territory boundaries.
The Caribism movement was unable to reverse the polarizing effect of the two main political parties during the 1985 national elections, however, although its leadership was able to win political control of the Carib Council elections in 1984. The then 22-year-old elected Carib chief, Irvince Auguiste, soon after declared a week of activities in commemoration of the Carib lives lost during the British invasion of the territory in 1930 instead of just a day.
He also moved to settle the Carib lands boundaries which have been disputed for years with the successive government of Dominica. In 1985 he met with the Queen of England on the Royal ship while on Dominica, and the following year, 1986 traveled to England for the purpose of collecting the repaired Mace of office of the chief at Buckingham palace, and to research for the Territory land title which he successfully got.
By 1986 he was also engage in the formation of a regional organization for Indigenous Peoples since he was fully conscious that this was the best way at the time, to get a proper platform for advocacy on the plight of the Kalinago people.
IRVINCE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE CREATION OF THE CARIBBEAN ORGANIZATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (COIP) in 1988
In 1988 Irvince was a co-founder of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP), the organization was born out of a first meeting of Dominica (Kalinago), Guyana (Lokono-Arawak), Belize (Maya) and St. Vincent (Garifuna) Indigenous representatives – Irvince was the only Chief present – at a meeting that was held in St. Vincent in March 1987.
So if the truth be told – Irvince Auguiste has been trying to unite the Indigenous Nations of the Caribbean ever since he first became the youngest Chief ever of his own Kalinago People
IRVINCE ENSURES KALINAGOS REPRESENTED IN THE HISTORIC 1st CARICOM INTER-TRIBAL GAMES
The first CARICOM Inter-Tribal Games ever held in history was held on Pakuri Lokono-Arawak Territory in Guyana from September 26-28th 2012, for those who do not know ‘CARICOM’ stands for the ‘Caribbean Community’ – which includes all of the Independent former English Colonies including Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, Belize and the former Dutch colony of Suriname.
Not all these countries still have indigenous Amerindian populations however, only Guyana, Belize, Suriname, Trinidad, Saint Vincent and Dominica have known/recognized indigenous Amerindian populations.
Damon Corrie (best known Lokono descendant & Indigenous Rights activist in the Diaspora) who created these games had invited Amerindian athletes from all 5 CARICOM countries with Amerindian populations to compete, but only the Kalinago of Dominica were able to send 2 athletes (Jacob Che Frederick and Tikenti Auguiste) thanks to the personal private sponsorship of Irvince Auguiste through the Touna Village Development Agency he created & still heads.
Read more about the CARICOM Inter-Tribal Games here: http://www.pantribalconfederacy.com/confederacy/News/pdf/games.pdf
IRVINCE AUGUISTE INSTRUMENTAL IN CO-FOUNDING REGIONAL INDIGENOUS NGO
Dominica, West Indies (UCTP Taíno News) – December 9th, 2012 marked another historic day in the annuals of the history of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples as it marked the founding of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organisation (CADO). The founding board of this Caribbean-based initiative includes well-known members of the Lokono Arawak, Kalinago Carib, and the Taíno Indigenous Nations. The group will focus on various projects to restore and or promote the tangible and intangible Amerindian culture and heritage throughout the islands, and be registered officially as a non-profit in Watikubuli (Dominica), Eastern Caribbean.
A collective statement by CADO noted that “”We are coming together to bring benefits to our peoples as best as we can. Being traditionalists as we all are, ‘Development’ is understood by us to be that which restores as much of our tangible and intangible heritage as has been lost and ensuring that as much as possible of it is taken into the future in the hearts and minds of the generations yet unborn that will follow us down the red road of our ancestors.”
CADO’s founding board highlights gender and regional balance with the following members Shirling Simon-Corrie (Lokono), Damon Corrie (Lokono), Louisette Auguiste (Kalinago), Irvince Auguiste (Kalinago),Migdalia Ma. Pellicier (Taíno), and Roberto Mukaro Borrero (Taíno). From their spiritual perspective, and in their Caribbean traditionalist Amerindian Cosmovision, the 3 tribal nations are of the same maternal umbilical cord/tree of life, with a base/roots in the Lokono South, a middle/ solid trunk in the Kalinago center, and top/crown; branches in the Taino North.
Members are all experienced indigenous rights advocates participating throughout the region locally, nationally, and internationally at such forums as the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Justifiably, the CADO motto is “Dedicated to the Preservation and Promotion of Amerindian Cultural Heritage, and the Implementation of Internationally Recognized Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
The groups contends that while it is well known that Caribbean Indigenous Peoples were the first to suffer “historical colonialism’s cruel fate,” they are the “least listened to” of all Indigenous Peoples in the Western hemisphere. CADO members also affirm that Amerindians still suffer the effects of present-day neo-colonialism in the Caribbean, which continues to ignore indigenous existence or marginalize contemporary communities and organizations. From the perspective of its founding members, CADO’s regional perspective emphasizes, not only the spirit of resistance to assimilation, but also of the calls for Caribbean Amerindian unity. As such, the founders of CADO plan to move forward as “one blood, one mind, and one spirit.”
As Bob Marley prophesied, “as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.”
IRVINCE NETWORKS WITH INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES TO BRING ASSISTANCE TO THE KALINAGO PEOPLE:
Most recently (prior to his newly announced candidacy for the upcoming July 2014 elections), Irvince Auguiste is spearheading a project in which students from a University in Canada are sent to the Kalinago Territory to work among the island’s indigenous people.
Irvince Auguiste told Domica News Online that this initiative comes following a recent month long trip to Canada where he participated in a special attachment program at the University of Winnipeg.
“My trip to Canada came out of a friendship that I have with a student from the Caribbean who is studying at the University of Winnipeg,” he explained. “Through that relationship that we had, she visited Dominica and as a result of the visit here she felt very much that the Territory could be one of the areas that the University could use in its annual International Attachment program for students.” According to him he was excited about the program.
“She went back to Canada and she met with the University persons who contacted me and they were very excited themselves about having an area in the Caribbean that they could have had an international attachment,” he stated.
At present two students from the university are on attachment with in Kalinago territory. “We decided that we would ask them for persons with interest in indigenous land management and they sent us a young man for eight weeks,” Auguiste noted. “The young lady has a financial background and we wanted her to spend some time with us and advise us on how we access credit as Kalinago people in Dominica.”
Based on that, Auguiste noted, he hopes to contact different financial institutions to find out what is their policy as it relates to the Kalinago Territory since those who live there do not have land as collateral for loans.
“We will probably look at that and hoping that information collected from that will put us in a position to formulate a proposal to submit to the government or an Non Governmental Organization to establish a financial facility specifically for the Kalinago people of Dominica,” he said. He also revealed that the university is prepared to sponsor a part scholarship for a Kalinago student who would be willing to be a part of that program in September 2015.
IRVINCE WILLING TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHER INDIGENOUS NATIONS TO ASSIST THE KALINAGO:
Mr. Jeff Goss – with the support of Chief Martin Walking Bear Wilson – a member of the Amonsoquath Cherokee Tribal Nation of the USA is willing to work with Chief Auguiste and the New Kalinago Council to develop Aquaculture projects on the Kalinago Territory, and Irvince also has excellent collaborative relationships with the Lokono-Arawak and Taino Tribal Nations of the region who are trying to help find external markets for Kalinago cottage industries in North America and Europe together with their own heritage products ….Irvince is also the most famous Kalinago Chief locally, regionally and internationally – ever since his National Geographic article appearance in the June 1990 issue – boosted by his widely acknowledged advanced autodidact diplomatic skills that allow him to open doors in the halls of power locally, regionally and internationally – that others do not achieve as easily.
IN IRVINCE’S OWN WORDS AS HE DECLARED HIS 2014 CANDIDACY:
“I made a decision to serve the Kalinago Territory as Chief again. I was Chief at 21 years and 8 months of age. I did it when there was very little in the way of human resources and when we the Kalinago people had to struggle for recognition. I championed that cause successfully. Now we have the support I dreamed of, but I am disappointed that we are not embracing all the educated professionals of our Territory, and to make them part of the decision making.
I want to be a leader to unite our people again across all differences, restore dignity in the office of the Chief, so that Kalinago people can once again feel proud to be Kalinago. Change the system of our governance to be one of inclusion, instead of a one man show. Let us do it my people. I promise to lead the battle without fear or favor!” Irvince Auguiste, Kalinago Teritory; Dominica. 11 June 2014
A YOUNG KALINAGO VOTER SPEAKS (copied from the FB group Kalinago Connections):
“The reason I didn’t mention Irvince before has been because he is the only one in the group (of 4 candidates) that has consistently engaged some of us young folks and asked our opinions on stuff over time. As young people, we need leaders that are willing to engage us in decision-making, because the future belongs to us, not them. I’ve grilled all of these candidates over and over, and to me, if a ‘youth in decision-making agenda’ has to be pushed, I’d go with Irvince. I have asked him about his assertion of the Chief and Council as operating as independently from Government as possible, his views on the housing schemes, the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous people and ILO 169 and a range of other issues. So far I have been satisfied with the responses but we have their campaign period to continue asking.” Kimani John, Kalinago Student of the University of the West Indies; 11 June 2014
Irvince outlined his vision for the future:
” I understand the frustration of our youths. People often make general statements that ‘nothing has happened in the Kalinago Territory” which is a common remark in every political setting, whether it is local or national.
When I served as chief there was only one telephone at the police station and it served everyone who needed to use a phone. There was no electricity, no Cable TV, no pipe borne water; when I left office as Chief there was water in a few villages that had streams that could flow water via gravity – also electricity came and there were many more telephones at private homes, and even public telephones..the Jolly John public playing park was done among other developments.
In the current tenure of Chief Garnette Joseph we obtained a Health facility in the Kalinago Territory….I am mentioning that as I believe credit must be given where it is due devoid of any political rivalry, so I wonder why would some people feel that the Territory has not improved.
Over the last 20 years much more could have been done at certain times, should I be entirely blamed for it ? Did my successors build on the foundation I made or take any of my advice? Ask the Dominican Public. They know! As Chief I never had the resources from 1984-1994 and assistance that now exist. I did what I could at the time.
I see opportunities that we can do to use to our advantage right now. Think of me as chief 20 years ago, young and without experience, yet I stood up to the challenge for two straight terms. I must have been doing something right.
I have more experience now, and would like to be the chief who visits my people at their homes, not sit in the Council office all the time… I need to and I WILL include everyone – If I am given another chance to serve my people after these 20 years out of office that I have spent taking note of the failures – and unwillingness to listen to my humble advice to correct these mistakes as a mostly ignored Council member – of different Chiefs with very different non-inclusive leadership styles – that came after me.”
NB – The polling date itself for the election of Kalinago Chief is carded for July 7th 2014, and the poll for the Kalinago Council will be held on July 28 and Nomination Day is on July 15, 2014