STRUCTURE OF GOVERNANCE & SPIRITUAL BELIEFS OF THE AMERINDIANS BEFORE COLONIZATION & THE ADVENT OF CHRISTIANITY

The Basic Structure in terms of leaders would have comprised:

  • Overall Chief: – position usually inherited or elected, depending on circumstances at the time the position became vacant.
  • Semichichi: – Medicine man – Medicine man must be trained from a very young age or one can be born gifted for this work.
  • War Chief or Main Warrior: – who was elected based on his skills for the position.
  • Elderly Female:- who was the keeper of traditions – a position also inherited in the first instance or can be selected depending on circumstances at the time.
  • Two or Three elders in the community who would be consulted from time to time by the Chief when a major decision is to be made on matters that will impact the community.
  • The Amerindians were nature worshippers.  They believe in the Great Spirit who is the God they cannot see but, they also believe in Gods who became manifest through nature.
  • They believe in good Spirits and bad Spirits.  They have rituals for almost everything E.g. when a child is born or before they plant their crops.
  • During their rituals they prayed, chanted, danced & played they musical instruments E.g. chac chac, whistles, drums etc.  They smoked tobacco & burned other herbs to create sacred smoke.
  • They also used special clothing which were decorated skirts & headpieces, they painted their bodies & wore special beads.
  • They believe everything in nature had its own life & it was treated as a human being with respect.
  • 1749-Amerindian Mission established in Arima
  • 1754-Mission abandoned & forgotten for thirty years.
  • 1784- Governor Don Jose Maria Chacon arrived in Trinidad
  • 1785- Amerindians from the established Nepuyo  encomienda Villages at San Agustin de Arauca, San Pablo de Tacarigua and Caura were relocated to Arima
  •  1786 – the Mission of Arima was dedicated to Santa Rosa de Arima
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