Indigenous people: Remove Parliament from Red House
Friday, October 18 2013
Indigenous peoples of the Caribbean have joined TT first peoples in calling on Government to remove the Parliament from the Red House, and to develop it into a national heritage site, following the discovery in April of bones and artifacts of the indigenous people.
They are also calling on the Government to assist in identifying the bones found to determine whether they were Arawaks, Caribs, or were of other groups. They made the call following a peace ceremony held yesterday around the Red House in Port-of-Spain.
Chief of the Santa Rosa First People Community, Ricardo Bharath-Hernandez told the media yesterday’s activity was the third and final ritual to appease the spirts of the ancestors. The Santa Rosa Community representatives were accompanied by indigenous groups from Belize, Dominica, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.
Led by their spiritual leaders, including Bharath Hernandez, they proceeded around the Red House shaking maracas and beating drums. They caused a stir among downtown pedestrians who lined the sidewalk to take photos of them in their traditional wear.
One observer, a young man in his late teens, or early 20s, asked Newsday, “Who are those people?” Told they were indigenous peoples of TT and the Caribbean, the young man asked again, “You mean people like Arawaks and Caribs?” Told once again they were, he said with a surprised look on his face, “I thought they had died out.”
The regional delegations were in TT to celebrate the Hyarima Festival with the Santa Rosa community. Since the remains were discovered in April, Bharath-Hernandez said they have asked the Great Spirit (Creator) for peace in TT, the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and wider world, and for global peace, and to seek blessing and guidance for all leaders.
Leader of the Guyana delegation Colin Klautky told Newsday the delegations were in support of the First People’s call to preserve the historical finds in keeping with the United Nations Convention on the rights of indigenous peoples.
He said it was important that the remains be turned over to the First Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago who will decide how they should be finally laid to rest.