The Carib people are the last remaining indigenous people in the Caribbean who maintain collective land ownership and elect a tribal chief and council to manage the affairs of their people. Unlike many indigenous communities, the Caribs retain rights to the water, minerals, and forests within their territory.
When Stephen Gaskin was in Geneva for the “Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Peoples of the Americas” in 1977, he met Hillary Frederick who was the elected Carib Chief at the time. When Stephen told Hillary about Plenty, the Chief asked if Plenty would be willing to assist the Caribs in Dominica. Plenty’s work in Dominica began with the Fri in 1982-83 and continued actively for nearly twenty years. Our assistance included helping the Caribs install a solar and wind powered lighting system in their primary school, and building classroom additions and furniture for two primary schools. During the second half of the 1980s we supported the Carib Council and farming families in their efforts to increase production of fruits, vegetables and legumes; replace mango, avocado and orange trees destroyed by hurricane Hugo; build a mechanics workshop, a fishermen’s storage building for motors, nets and other gear, and a food outlet (since then converted to a library); and initiate a project to teach young adults how to build and sell traditional fishing boats.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Plenty assisted the Carib people in constructing a Council Office and Community Building; provided computers, fax and telephone lines and orientation to their use; helped the Carib Farmers Association develop and secure funding for reforestation and vegetable production; and helped WAIKADA (the Carib Development Association) secure funding to help families expand production of larouma reeds (Ischnosiphon arouma) and other plants used in traditional craft making, expand reforestation efforts, and initiate environmental education workshops to raise awareness of important land use issues.