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Trinidad’s ‘colonial’ name must be changed

By —Sue-Ann Wayow

CHANGE the name of Trinidad.
That was the call from a member of an indigenous group at the National Consultation on Constitutional Reform meeting at Paria Suites Hotel and Conference Centre, La Romaine on Wednesday evening.
Anthony Ali said the name given to the country by its re-discoverer, Roman Catholic explorer Christopher Columbus, was not the original name of the land.
And if citizens continued to use place names given by foreigners or named after them, they remained colonised and not free and independent.
Ali said all places named after foreign persons and saints should be changed, such as San Fernando, St Joseph, St Augustine and even Port of Spain.
“We are still manipulated by the colonisers’ teachings that they left. We have indigenous names here that we should start using because we will stay in that state of mind. All names should be changed. We are using too many foreign names. We have to change,” he said.
Columbus’s naming had nothing to do with the three hills he sighted from off the coast at Moruga, but represented the father, son and holy spirit—the triune God of the Roman Catholics, he said.
Ali said the name given to the land was Iere, meaning “Land of Hummingbird”.
But according to research done by historian Bridget Brereton, professor of History at the University of the West Indies, “Trinidad’s indigenous name was Cairi or Kairi (sometimes written Iere). This is an Arawakan term. Sadly, it doesn’t mean “Land of the Humming Bird”, as so many have thought. It simply means ‘the island’.”
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