Exploring Kalinago Masculinities and Gender-relations in Waitukubuli (Dominica)

11th November 2019
BY kaywana Williams| BY | POSTED IN All Projects, Caribbean

In the Caribbean, research on gender and masculinities has focused on Afro-Caribbean, Indo-Trinidadian, Indo-Guyanese and Spanish community discourses. 



Previous scholarship in the English-speaking Caribbean shows that substantial attention has been given to the Afro-Caribbean populations; emphasising their historical narrative of slavery and struggle for cultural identity in relation to the constructions and ideologies associated with masculinity. Generally, in comparison with other populations and Caribbean ethnic groups, research on masculinity/masculinities among the Indigenous Kalinago people of Waitukubuli (Dominica) is limited.  

Karina Cultural Village, Kalinago Territory

Kalinago people, who were referred to as the Caribs by European colonisers, are recognised as Dominica’s Indigenous population. Inscribed as Dominica’s first people, the Kalinago live on 3, 782.03 acres of land that is called the Kalinago Territory. As of a preliminary census in Dominica in 2011, 56.5% Kalinago Territory population is made of Kalinago men while Kalinago women make up 43.5%. Of the 36,411 men in Dominica, only 1, 212 (3.33 %) are Kalinago men. 


Christian Ten Commandments translated by Raymond Breton into the Kalinago language. At Karina Cultural Village, Kalinago Territory

This study aims to conduct research with this ethnic group that has been widely overlooked by many Caribbean scholars in the field of masculinity/masculinities and gender studies. The study will explore how the Indigenous Kalinago people of Dominica understand masculinity and what ideas of masculinity mean for broader gender relations as well as cultural heritage projects in contemporary Kalinago society. This study contends that Indigenous populations are heterogeneous. Although Kalinago people of Dominica are recognised as a collective group of people, this study will not generalise Kalinago masculinity. The project recognises multiple masculinities.  


Publications related to women’s and maternal health with Wixárika communities by the author of this exhibition


Gamlin, Jennie B. (2013)
Shame as a barrier to health seeking among indigenous Huichol migrant labourers: An interpretive approach of the “violence continuum” and “authoritative knowledge”
Social Science and Medicine 97 75-81

Gamlin, Jennie B. (2023)
Wixárika Practices of Medical Syncretism: An Ontological Proposal for Health in the Anthropocene
Medical Anthropology Theory 10 (2) 1-26

Gamlin, Jennie B. (2020)
“You see, we women, we can’t talk, we can’t have an opinion…”. The coloniality of gender and childbirth practices in Indigenous Wixárika families
Social Science and Medicine 252, 112912

Jennie Gamlin and David Osrin (2020)
Preventable infant deaths, lone births and lack of registration in Mexican indigenous communities: health care services and the afterlife of colonialism
Ethnicity and Health 25 (7)

Jennie Gamlin and Seth Holmes (2018)
Preventable perinatal deaths in indigenous Wixárika communities: an ethnographic study of pregnancy, childbirth and structural violence BMC
Pregnancy and Childbirth 18 (Article number 243) 2018

Gamlin, Jennie B. and Sarah J Hawkes (2015)
Pregnancy and birth in an Indigenous Huichol community: from structural violence to structural policy responses
Culture, health and sexuality 17 (1)