History Week 2016 is being observed in Dominica from October 3rd-7th, 2016, under the theme ‘Building Communities: 1838 – 1938’, the Government’s website reports.
History week is an annual event organized by the Cultural Division as part of independence celebration activities. It is aimed at creating greater awareness of Dominica’s history and the process of nation-building.
On Friday, September 30th, GIS news spoke to Cultural Officer, Gregory Rabess, who delved into the chosen theme for History Week 2016.
“We are exploring the process of the formation of communities in Dominica. When the Kalinagos inherited Dominica, there were the centers of power. We are talking about Grand Bay, Roseau, Portsmouth and Vielle Case [areas known as centers of power]. When the Europeans implanted the slave system and sent the Kalinagos to the remote forest of Dominica that started a new configuration of human settlements in Dominica.”
He explained that following emancipation in 1838, the newly freed, former enslaved people of African descent moved out of the estates and settled near river estuaries, along the seashore and on lands owned or occupied by free peasants or mulattos. In all cases, however, the period under consideration for this year’s theme 1838 – 1938, represents a major transformation, the laying of the foundations for the present-day communities and settlement patterns.
Rabess noted that this detailed information is what the Cultural Division aims to share during history week.
“The whole aim of history week is to create awareness about the history of Dominica and the process of nation-building. History week coincides with the independence celebrations. Now that the attention is on national identity, people are focused on the history of Dominica and where we came from and where we are going. Everybody’s attention is focused on that [independence] so what a better period to highlight various aspects of our history and the process of nation-building,” Rabess explained.
The Cultural Officer described the featured events making up History Week 2016.
Rabess noted that the highlight for History Week 2016 is the feature lecture by Kozier Frederick, a Kalinago historian. Frederick will be focusing on the theme and tracing the history and story of human settlement in Dominica. He will also be focusing on the particular period in question.
This lecture will be held at the Arawak House of Culture on Tuesday, October 4th, at 10:00 am. It is targeting fourth and fifth formers of secondary schools, but the general public is invited to be part of it.
Rabess also revealed that as in previous years, schools around the island are expected to hold special events, assemblies, lectures, and undertake classroom-based projects.
Also included in the week’s activities is a special DBS Talking Point on the theme ‘Building Communities: 1838 – 1938.’