To consolidate all descendants of First Peoples in Trinidad and Tobago; to work proactively with all communities who share the common interests of these indigenous traditions.

The Pyai

Adonis’s deer horn necklace, called a warun, identifies him as a hunter of manicou (opossum), agouti and lappe (both large rodents), tatoo (armadillo) and quenk (wild hog) — creatures that live in the forests of Trinidad. The forest gives him medicines: he recommends the leaves of the zeb femme plant be boiled and drunk to help produce milk for breastfeeding mothers; for a snake bite, take the tref (a heart-shaped leaf), caterpillar larvae, a scorpion or centipede and a “bachac” snake; soak them in rum, and drink. The forest also gives Adonis his livelihood — he custom-builds indigenous houses; 10 in the last three years. He also fells trees for sawmills and for the Carib Centre to use as firewood to make cassava bread and pastelles in their traditional outdoor oven.

Even though he says it is an eternal struggle, Adonis works hard to invigorate what remains of Carib culture. He performs the sacred smoke ceremony to celebrate a birth, to bid the dead farewell, to bless a marriage, at the beginning of a hunting season, for a new crop, or to praise the gods for a bountiful harvest.

Cristo Adonis

Pyai – Santa Rosa First Peoples Community

He is aptly named “Atekosang” – the Traveler”.  He is the Pyai of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community. Familiarly known as Adonis, his spiritual gift manifested itself from his childhood, developing over the years as he has always “stirred it up”. For more than 20 years, he is involved in teaching the indigenous culture, handicraft, and spirituality through lectures to students and the wider community, at home and abroad. This “Traveler loves hiking and is an Honorary Game Warden.  He is multilingual – fluent in Spanish and Kweyol.  He also writes and arranges his own music and songs.

Cristo Glen Adonis is a descendant of the Karina Pogoto tribe of Caribs. He is married to Catherine Calderon and together they have 5 children; three (3) boys and two (2) girls and nineteen (19) grandchildren.

There aren’t many of his people left. Today, Trinidadians are a rainbow mix of faces; “full-blood Caribs” no longer exist. The majority of the descendants of the Carib people live on Calvary Hill, in the eastern borough of Arima (an Amerindian word meaning “place of water”), though you can see traces of Carib genes in the faces of countless others.

The palm-covered shed is like a village community centre where the young meet the old. Some of these meetings are “walk-in” visits, for Adonis is the shaman or medicine man. His Carib name is Atekosang, meaning “The Traveller”. The zemi, a gray stone object, symbolizes his shaman status; it is a gift from his friends, the indigenous Taino of Cuba.

Neighbours are greeted with a wave from the hammock; he calls out to a young man, a brother, an aunt. They join him to talk about hunting in the forest; about taking their families to Paria Falls for the weekend. They look to him as a man of authority, a leader, and a chief. They expect a lot, too. His people come searching for various cures; to relieve stress, or alcohol abuse and its attendant woes, or abdominal pain. “They believe I’m a miracle worker,” he says, laughing.