Collection Description

Culture Name

Island Carib

Culture Description

Occupying the Lesser Antilles, the Island Carib were among the first peoples encountered by Europeans in the New World. They fiercely resisted European intrusion, finding their last refuge on the mountain island of Dominica, where they continue to live on the Carib Reserve (established in 1903). The Carib Reserve Act of 1978 preserved the Carib's communal ownership of reserve land and spawned a revival of Carib culture and ethnic identity. With improved roads to the reserve, the local economy has revived with more and more Caribs growing bananas for export.


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Middle America and the Caribbean --Caribbean



OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF Collection of Ethnography and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

There are 16 documents in the Island Carib file. Four documents are missionary accounts from the 17th century, all translated at HRAF (Bouton 1640, no. 3; Breton 1665, no. 2; Breton and Paix 1929 [1635-1656], no. 1; Du Tetre 1667, no. 4). A late-nineteenth-century account is provided by Ober (1895, no. 9) and early-twentieth-century summary by Neveu-Lemaire (1921, no. 10). Taylor (1938, no. 6) and Rouse (1948, no. 5) have written basic monographs. Taylor wrote a critique of Rouse's work (Taylor 1949, no. 12). In other articles, Taylor wrote about kinship and social structure (Taylor 1946, no. 11), dietary and occupational restrictions (Taylor 1950, pp. 8), and basketry with Harvey Moore (Taylor and Moore 1948, no. 7). Hodge and Taylor (1957, no. 13) complied a comprehensive ethnobotany of the Island Carib. The recent resurgence of Carib identity and ethnicity is covered in three works: Layng (1983, no. 14), who writes about the history of the Carib Reserve and ethnicity, as did Owen (1975, no. 15) in a brief article; and Kossek's cultural history, written as a critique of Layng (Kossek 1994, no. 16).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in the file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is from the article, "Carib of Dominica," by Anthony Layng, in the Encyclopedia Of World Cultures, Vol. 8 (pp. 37-40). 1995. James W. Dow and Robert Van Kemper, (Eds). Boston, Mass.: G. K. Hall & Co. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by Ian Skoggard, in March 2004.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

CARBET-family/village-621; as structure-344

CEMI (ICHEIRI)-spirit helpers of shamans--775

OUICOU-orgiastic drinking parties--786


Indexing Notes by

Ian Skoggard

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