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Revival, Recognition, Restitution: Indigenous Rights in the Eastern Caribbean

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 July 2016

Amy Strecker*
Faculty of Archaeology - World Heritage, Leiden University, Netherlands; Email:


The idea that the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean islands became extinct has until recently dominated scholarly discourse and popular awareness. This “extinction” narrative served to justify the appropriation of indigenous lands during the colonial period, and its legacy continued into post-independence. In recent years, these misconceptions have been put under increasing scrutiny, not only by archaeological, historical, and ethnographic research but also, more importantly, by communities themselves. In Dominica, Saint Vincent, and Trinidad, communities are contesting negative stereotypes, reasserting their presence, and agitating for their human rights in the post-colonial islands states. This article discusses the acquisition of indigenous rights by descendant communities in the eastern Caribbean. It reveals the various degrees to which communities have gained state recognition and illustrates that while progress has been made in relation to recognition and cultural rights for communities in the islands, issues remain in relation to land security.

Research Article
Copyright © International Cultural Property Society 2016 

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