Carib Indian -- warrior cannibal
Friday, August 11, 2006 4:59:00 AM
by Rick Magers
|This is the first novel ever written about this incredible tribe of Caribbean Indians. Pushed from South America into the Caribbean Sea by the invading Spaniards, these people built villages on the small islands to the north. They battled their lifelong enemy The Arawak Indian; also shoved into the sea, while at the same time battling the Spaniards. Soon, other nations arrived searching for gold and slaves. The Arawak allowed themselves to be led into extinction, but the Carib continued; against overwhelming odds. There are still today 2000 Carib Indians living on the island of Trinidad. If modern man has his way, they will soon be ''plowed under'' so that their small slice of Planet Earth can be used to construct accomodations for the omnipotent tourist.
In the year 1493 the explorer, Christopher Columbus anchored his ship off the Caribbean island—Guadeloupe. He and a group of his men approached the beach in a longboat.
Sheltered by palms and dense brush, frightened eyes of Carib Indians watched. Strange men with light skin had been there before, and all knew of the treachery.
“They carry sticks that can kill us from the next village, and the thin shiny war clubs they use can easily slice our heads off. They ride giant beasts with heads as big as alligators with teeth so big they can bite us in half.”
The natives remained hidden and watched as the strange looking men entered their camp.
“Captain, look at this.” Columbus walked to the huge pepper pot simmering on a smoldering fire. He gasped when his lieutenant used two nearby sticks, fastened together to serve as a tool for extracting the ingredients from the pot. A human hand and forearm rested on the sticks, with flesh sagging into the stew.
From that day forth the word CANNIBAL was associated with the Carib Indians who inhabited the islands in the Caribbean Sea and the coast of South America.
Many different tribes inhabited this coastal area and islands, and most were small peaceful bands that occupied their days with the task of providing food and shelter for their families and themselves. Over a span of centuries many of these small groups merged, providing strength, and security against enemies, and also a trading base among their own kind.
One of these groups eventually became the Arawak Indians. Although they had enemies, and would fight to protect themselves, they were basically a peaceful people. They eventually became strong enough to migrate north as they populated many islands of the Caribbean and Bahamas. Perhaps it was their willingness to get along with their neighbors, and also the invaders from Europe, which led to their extinction?
Another group that was formed by merging with smaller tribes was the Carib Indian—a fiercely independent warrior tribe. As their power-base grew, so did the natural tendency to wage war on neighboring tribes. The reason that these two large groups became enemies has been lost within their cultural progress—but enemies they were. There remains today a small group of dependants of Carib Indians in an area of Dominica—and no others elsewhere. They are a group of strong resourceful people who understood the necessity of adapting to changing times.
Powerful new enemies arrived from distant lands on ships larger than any of the natives had ever seen. These foreign invaders would regularly attack the two tribes and decimate their numbers drastically, but still they fought each other at every meeting. Had they joined forces and battled the Spanish, English, French, Dutch and other European invaders, they might very well have altered history, and still exist in numbers today.
Their hatred for each other kept them fighting amongst themselves as the Spanish and others watched, waited, and attacked. When the time was right, these strange new men wearing iron clothes, and mounted on huge creatures, while carrying weapons that the Indians had never dreamed of, moved ahead with plans to dominate everything within and beyond their eyesight—which they did and still do today.
Soon the Arawak and Carib Indians fell to the harvesting scythe of progress. A handful of Carib descendants, still alive in the 21st century, keep their ancient traditions and history alive by word-of-mouth. The invaders defeated the Arawak, but failed to conquer the Carib, however they were scattered throughout the Caribbean Sea by the winds of time, leaving only that small tribe on the island of Dominica. They too will one day be only photos in the galleries of men, whose ancestors annihilated them.
Early in the 17th century an old Carib warrior-teacher named Atupi gathered a group of young boys to listen as he told the story about two powerful men of these two tribes—opposing enemies of legendary stature. His story has been handed down many times by new warriors like those gathered around as he talks.
He will pass on the story of these two great men. One was from his own people—Ahameke. He was a Carib warrior of great cunning who believed that only fierce warriors went on to the hereafter. There they would live forever and be tended by hordes of nubile women. It was this mighty warrior who created a tactic that sent shivers of terror along the spines of seasoned soldiers, and caused dreams to be filled with nightmares—cannibalism.
The other was Baracoraima, an Arawak warrior. He was a giant man who stood six-feet-six-inches tall and weighed two-hundred-and-fifty pounds. He was also a very wise leader, immediately understanding that to oppose the invaders was futile. He tried to negotiate with them for supplies to battle his enemy, the Carib. He could never have understood the treachery in the hearts of these new men, who had no honor, and would become his worst enemy.
Encounters that the Indians of the Caribbean Sea had with the Spaniards and other Europeans during the twenty years after the arrival of Christopher Columbus was the most traumatic they had experienced since their beginning as a race of people many centuries previously.
The English, Dutch, French, and others soon followed the Spaniards. A lucrative bounty awaited nations that sent their ships in search of spices, slaves, and the one item that all were seeking—LAND. Each nation sent pioneers to colonize the islands. The Arawak Indians were facing two hundred years of misery as slaves, and eventual extinction. The Carib Indians did little better, but they managed to hold the invaders of their land at arm’s length until they secured a foothold in areas where the Europeans had not yet settled.
Not long after Christopher Columbus arrived, most of the Arawak Indians were either dead or scattered—never to regroup as a people. With far superior numbers at the arrival of the invaders, it remains a mystery why they did not fight harder for their freedom? It appears that they went willingly to enslavement and eventual extinction.
During this same period, the Carib Indians fought the invaders at every turn, but due to many tragic events, the Caribs also lost their identity as a people. They willingly bred with escaped African slaves, who became known as Maroons, in hopes of increasing their numbers, to bring such fierce battles to the Spaniards that they would leave their land. But the many sicknesses that arrived with the invaders killed their people quicker than they could multiply, and more efficiently than all of the weapons combined.
To their credit, a small group of Carib Indians fought fiercely, refusing enslavement and chose to remain distant from the European invaders, and settled in the mountainous regions on the Island of Dominica—and remain there today.
The people in this story first appeared many centuries ago, perhaps thousands? Scholars and archeologists are still undecided about the date when Neanderthals began branching into other variations of early man. Ancestors of the extinct Arawak, and now nearly extinct Carib, began their struggle to survive as a separate species somewhere on what eventually became known as Asia. For reasons, which might remain forever unknown, various tribes banded together for safety and began migrating to ‘greener pastures’. It could be explained by a look at animal behavior. Most animals have senses that we are yet to fully understand, and even today will often alert us to danger, if we take time to understand them—these people did. They didn’t question why large herds of animals, which they relied on for food, began a migration across Asia to Alaska via the Bering Land Bridge—they simply followed them. During the next few thousand years many changes occurred in these nomad’s lives, as they walked south along the coast of what would become Western North America. Now in a land where snow was not an ever-present element to deal with, the skin shielding their eyes from the white glare began widening, to allow in more light. As all animals have always done, they bred with the indigenous people they met along the way, most of which had been subjected to a greater amount of sunlight, and were covered with darker skin. Now we have males about five feet tall being followed by females about four feet tall. Although the skin surrounding their eyes has opened somewhat, they still retain their original oriental slant: albeit not so distinct as previously. They’re both much browner now than their kin who refused to leave the frozen wastelands of Asia to accompany them as they searched for a better life. Those will eventually follow to create the people who inhabit Alaska today, but the forerunners of the Carib and Arawak Indians sensed a warmer land ahead waiting for them, and did not stop their migration until they reached the eastern slopes of the Andes. From there they began moving down toward the Amazon River and its tributaries, north into the Orinoco Valley, along the green coast of Venezuela to Eastern Colombia, and Guiana, and finally out into the Caribbean Sea to inhabit many of the islands.
Come with me now and listen as the old Carib warrior, Atupi, tells the story of the Arawak and Carib Indians. They will battle each other, and separately wage war with a new enemy more powerful than all of the tribes that existed in their world.
April 15 update: The book is completed at 65,000 words -- I am currently searching for an agent for this book.