A New Version of History

  • Tony Castanha


The “new version” of history presented in this book is indeed not new, but one that has been repressed and, for the most part, has only recently been publicly revealed. The history of the “West Indian” is neither brief, nor is colonialism “the very base and structure of the West Indian cultural awareness,” as has been said.2 The story of the indigenous Caribbean is incomplete for it has been primarily told from the point and perspective of European contact and colonial and neocolo-nial bias. Consequently, the most significant body of sources that have been repressed has been the indigenous peoples themselves. While I am partly dependent on mainstream sources, this work is an attempt to draw on alternative sources of written and oral information to allow, most importantly, the indigenous Caribbean voice to speak and to become better recognized, for this voice has remained silent for far too long. A Jíbaro campesino from Lares remarked to me awhile ago, “The history was not written by the Indians.” He said government officials have come to their communities and asked questions, but they don’t write down what the people say. If these officials gave the Jíbaro the notebook and pen, the history would be very different according to him.3 Another Jíbaro campesino affirmed, “The history that is written is not the real one. We know the real history.”


Indigenous People Indigenous Population Sixteenth Century Indigenous Group Oral Tradition 
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© Tony Castanha 2011

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  • Tony Castanha

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