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Indigenous peoples in Trinidad and Tobago

In the wider Circum-Caribbean region, there are an estimated 100,000 self-identified indigenous persons. According to government censuses, this number includes: 41,000 in Guyana, out of a national population of 756,000; 26,000 in Belize, out of a population of 146,000; 6,000 in St. Vincent, out of a population of 113,000; and, 3,000 Caribs in Dominica, out of a national population of 74,000.

The total population of Trinidad and Tobago is 1.1 million but there is no official census category for indigenous people of Amerindian descent. Estimates range from as few as 12,000 in north-east Trinidad, to as many as 400,000 indigenous people nationwide.

The Santa Rosa Carib Community

Around half of those who self-identify as being of Amerindian descent belong to the Santa Rosa Carib Community in the Borough of Arima. The community was the first to get official recognition as indigenous by the state in May 1990. The Santa Rosa Carib Community maintains certain distinctive traditions in horticulture, cassava processing, herbal knowledge, hunting practices, house building and weaving traditions, as well as holding the annual Santa Rosa Festival in honor of their patron saint.

No specific legislation on indigenous peoples' Rights

Trinidad and Tobago has no specific legislation on indigenous peoples' rights and has not signed any international conventions of direct relevance to the Caribs.

Download the 2007 yearbook article on indigenous peoples in Trinidad and Tobago to read more about major developments and events during 2006