Emancipation Day Versus Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago: The Relationship between the African and Indian Migrant Presence in the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad and Tobago and their Attention to Indigenous History
African and Indian Trinbagonians, who make up approximately ninety percent of the population in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, have sought to engage in the discourses on culture and identity in response to the imposition of a global identity that threatens to exclude the individual identities of less influential nations. These debates, along with the emancipation and arrival celebrations of the African, Indian and other populations, have prompted change within the political representation, education and economic policies, and social restructuring of the islands and has long since overshadowed the reality of the islands' indigenous history. Specifically, the last decade has witnessed a reversal in the traditionally African-dominated political governance of the country to that of a predominantly Indian government. However, calls for equal representation from those of African and Indian descent seem guided towards supporting a diversity that guarantees dominance of their particular ethnic group while ignoring the indigeneity of these islands. This paper considers the paradox of equity in diversity and argues that any attempt by the migrant groups to achieve ethnic harmony, without first acknowledging the indigenous heritage of the islands, would be futile.
Keywords: Caribbean, African and Indian Trinbagonians, Indigenous, Culture and Identity, Global Identity, Emancipation and Arrival, Equity, Diversity
Dr. Camille Nakhid
Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Auckland University of Technology