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