You are on page 1of 5

Ventriloquized History by J M Cooke

History in definition proposes two meanings. The first refers to that period which is unrecorded and secondly that which is recorded. History in essence speaks to all that has ever happened in the past and also those human activities and events that have survived the ravages of time and been recorded by human hands. As people of the Caribbean we all have a similar history fraught with transgressions made against us and woes against others. Understanding the significance of our past is crucial to appreciating our present day identities and the contextual veracity of our position as individuals and as a people. This line of thinking helps us to comprehend and value the people who came before us and the struggles they went through in arriving at where we are now. These struggles of which I am speaking pertain to slavery and the notion of our ancestor‟s continued resistance in the face of condemnation. Before the Caribbean was inhabited by its now present people we must remember that our history does not begin with Christopher Columbus nor the then misnamed Arawaks and Caribs, our regional history started thousands of years before these groups. We should acknowledge the fact that through conflict within slavery and interaction with European elements (slave masters) on the plantations and other ethnic elements (Indians, Chinese, Syrians) after the abolition of slavery and eventually emancipation has contributed in many ways to our behavioral and cultural diversity. By delving into our origins and developing a familiarity with the constructs of our past (the Tainos/Kalinagos , the races that preceded even them and the physical artifacts they left behind) it is only then that we can transcend not only the regional but national divides that exist within and outside of the Caribbean but also make forthright decisions to guide our present day actions.

. particularly the latter and that we should avoid repeating them. The written evidence that actually exists suggests that there is a scarce amount which actually makes the little that is available of magnanimous worth. History isn't what happened. It is also apparent through the wealth of studies done that any written or recorded version of history does not often times give the undiluted truth.Ventriloquized History by J M Cooke George Santayna‟s time worn aphorism stating that “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” emphasizes that we should pay keen attention to the successes and failures of our past. this entails their behaviors. One version might revolve mainly around a specific set of facts while another version might minimize them or not include them at all. accurateness and biases accordingly. All these tenets of these people can be considered fundamental as they can be held accountable for some of the characteristics we see in our present societies. description of these peoples on a whole. This would have been done by both internally and externally criticizing them to verify there authenticity. their religious practices if any. habitually we can detect distinct inconsistencies when we compare testimonials found from persons of that period against what we have come to know and accept from that period as popular culture. those civilizations which left behind written records that were understandable tells the state of development of those groups. And there are always different versions. but a story of what happened. Using this outlook we can consider what early writings and recorded sources of information are available to us and decipher there importance to the region. achievements at that time. weather anomalies they might have considered noteworthy at that time. about the same events. These early writings are critical to understanding exactly who a particular group of prior people were. medicinal cures. different stories. These lessons of our past should be used to steer our current and future actions.

In his work he wrote. usually a puppeteered "dummy".Ventriloquized History by J M Cooke Like stories. From their cabins human legs hung like smoked hams”. This in itself are skewed accounts from the European explorers then. In their wars. Firstly during the time of the Spanish incursion into the region this ethnic group were poorly understood and even mistakenly . One example of a contemporary historian who helped to propagate the same biased stereotypes of the first European explorers against the „Kalinagos‟ was German Arcieniegas. By using this analogy we can determine why our region‟s history is classified as ventriloquized. These lessons are intrinsic to understanding a particular behavior or a reason for those behaviors or events at the time. It is also with this notion in mind that we will explore why the region‟s early history is personified as a ventriloquized one. a historian for better use of a word. Having already understood the concept of what history is we must now deliberate on what the term ventriloquized represents. each of these different versions of history contain different lessons. these descriptions were often farcical about the subjects in question and gave off white or biased information. These people saw the enslaved blacks as no more than cattle and dumb brutes with only minimal intelligence whose purpose was to serve their betters. an enemy who fell in battle was meat for the larder. According to Wikipedia the free encyclopedia a Ventriloquist is a person who manipulates his or her voice so that it appears that the voice is coming from elsewhere. These ventriloquized versions of information although categorized as primary sources because of their status as surviving artifacts from history were more often than not misnomers purported by white overseers and bookkeepers who gave these renditions to historian and collectors of information at the time. for the reason that it speaks to one that has not been told or written by the original peoples but by someone else. “these Caribees had ideas of their own. These historians often times purported biased information in the delivery of their accounts.

In reality the Tainos spoke „Arawakan‟. These were the sentiments conveyed by factions in society who held the monopoly and had the louder and only voice to be heard. They saw blacks as inferior beings with minimal intelligence who were to be subjugated to the will of the whites. one set of people of which the majority held racist stereo types and biases. These actions further magnify the biased sentiments harbored against enslaved Africans who worked the sugar fields. These arguments and accounts of what occurred then are one sided in that they are taken from only one set of people. where are the admissions from the self-styled Kalinas that they partook in cannibalistic acts. even worse they were described as violent and cannibalistic. their personal views. The same was done to another group we know today as „Tainos‟ but were dubbed with the name Arawaks by the Spaniards. What is considered was that the idea of cannibalism was advanced by early Spanish explorers who used this allegation to justify their inhumane slaughter of this ethnic group. By spreading these lies and slandering the blacks who were already seen as inferior those in charge of the slave trade used this vehicular notion to rationalize their barbaric treatment and enslavement of Africans. Another important point which is noteworthy is that these people were dubbed by the Spaniards as „Caribs‟ when in actuality they called themselves „Kalinas‟. . Careful examination into the diet and other aspects of these people revealed no eveidence to suggest they ate other humans. Where are the testimonials from slaves giving their accounts of life on a plantation.Ventriloquized History by J M Cooke identified as „Caribs‟. It is clear that my argument supports the idea that our region‟s early history is a ventriloquized one.

Mona: Social History Project.webct. Evidence. Chapter 2. Hampshire: Palgrave. Aleric Josephs and Kathleen Monteith. K. “History: Essential Knowledge about the past”.  Arthur Marwick. the Atlantic World and Global Demographic Patterns. The New Nature of History: Knowledge. “Indigenous Societies of the Circum-Caribbean and South America” in The Caribbean.  Watson. 2001 (pages 31 & 32)  George Santayana quotes: Think Exist. . Retrieved from n. (2003) www. eds. 2010 (pages 6 & 7). Jenny Jemmott.uwi.Ventriloquized History by J M Cooke REFERENCE  Aleric Josephs.d.