The Islamic Post Blog

Students Revise History About Early Caribbean Muslim Inhabitants by Khalida
December 1, 2008, 12:46 am
Filed under: December Volume 1 - 2008, Latino/Caribe | Tags: , ,


By Sabeerah Abdul- Majied
Islamic Post Staff Writer

Web logs from students of Caribbean Civilization a Foundations Course at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad W. I., ranged from disgust to hurt, after discovering that stories they have learned about “Caribs and Arawaks,” which two tribes are usually mentioned as being the original indigenous Caribbean peoples, are apparently untrue.
Most students have learned throughout their elementary and high school years that when Columbus “discovered” the Caribbean there were two tribes: the warlike “Caribs” and the peaceful “Arawaks.” These tribes were well established in the region prior to the arrival of the Spanish explorers, the most notable among them being Christopher Columbus, who stumbled upon the Caribbean islands and set about searching for gold for Spain.
Students had also been told that the Spaniards had to confront the “Caribs” who were said to be cannibals.
“People will laugh at you if you try to tell them that there were no Caribs,” Sharlene wrote in her blog. Another student was downright scared about the religious belief system he was taught. He wrote, “It is quite possible that their [i.e., Europeans] religion and teachings could be false? What religion did we have before they changed us?”
These are conflicting thoughts that students have to deal with as they gain new understandings about lies recorded in history books for over 500 years. Historians are revising the accounts sometimes with the aid of technology. For example archaeologists state that no evidence supports widespread and systematic cannibalism by indigenous peoples. They have found no scorched human bones or bones with knife or saw cuts or unnatural fractures widely scattered. Hence the Myth of Carib cannibalism has been exposed.
In fact the native peoples did not even call themselves Caribs or Arawaks. Those were names given to them by the Spaniards after they invaded in the 15th century. There were no passive Arawak tribes in the Greater Antilles either. In reality the “so called” passive Arawaks confronted the strange and terrifying European weapons with determination and courage. Several stories like that of chief Hatuey, who fought the Spanish and was later captured and burnt at the stake are now told. Native peoples were murdered, enslaved or they died from the diseases that resulted from contact with the European explorers who landed.
These new understandings inspire rewriting of the history of indigenous peoples, enslaved peoples, and indentured labourers. These “revisionist” writings seem to be part of a worldwide trend towards the revitalization of ancient cultures and practices. Among them are stories of indigenous peoples around the world who were massacred or wronged by invaders and then had historical lies written about them by their conquerors.
Indigenous peoples in the Americas want the world to know that their ancestors valued and respected the earth, and lived in traditional balance having respect for different peoples and creatures. They were not scalp-hunting “Wild Indians.” Also those who are yet uninformed need to know that many enslaved Africans were Muslims!
They were forcefully given new names and new identities by their captors.
These new understandings about world histories, peoples and cultural practices are gaining worldwide recognition as we race towards the last days. As more and more lies are exposed we need to understand the common roots that tie us all to one Almighty creator and unite. He made us different that we might know one another, not oppress each other or separate into fragmented groups. We need to discover the truth and act upon new knowledge simply to survive!


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