Caribbean Cultures

What subject headings are used for the ancient and modern cultures of the Caribbean area?
Ancient Cultures:

In 1970, archaeologist Irving Rouse stated: “The data on hand are not yet sufficient to resolve the problem” of “the entry of man into the Antilles.” Much has been learned over the last four decades but Rouse’s statement is still an accurate assessment.

LC has authorized two subject headings for PreColumbian cultures based on archaeologists’ reconstruction of ceramic phases:

Hueva culture and Saladoid culture
The Hueva culture predates the Saladoid culture but LC does not indicate date ranges for either. Broader Terms for both are:

  • Caribbean Area–Antiquities
  • Indians of the West Indies–Antiquities

These cultures predate first European contact and are believed to have been ancestral to those Native Americans who inhabited the Caribbean when Columbus first visited.
In 1492, Columbus met the Ciboney in Cuba and Haiti:

Ciboney Indians

  • BT (broader term) Indians of the West Indies–Cuba
  • Indians of the West Indies–Haiti

The Ciboney are no longer a presence in the Caribbean.


Columbus also met members of the Taino and Arawak people. It is believed that these people came into the Caribbean from mainland South America. Anthropologists do not all agree as to the relationship between the two. Some have speculated that they are two different peoples and others that they are of the same ethnic group but different migrations into the area. Today only a few full blood Taino/Arawak survive in the Caribbean.


  • Arawak Indians
    • BT Indians of South America
    • Indians of the West Indies
    • NT (narrower term) Mojo Indians
    • Taino Indians
  • Arawak art
  • Arawak language
  • Arawak pottery
  • Arawak wood sculpture
  • Arawakan Indians
  • BT Indians of South America
  • Arawakan languages
    • BT Central America–Languages
    • Indians of Central America–Languages
    • Indians of South America–Languages
    • Indians of the West Indies–Languages
    • South America–Languages
    • West Indies–Languages
    • NT lists thirty-four languages including:
    • Arawak language
    • Garifuna language
    • Island Carib language
    • Mojo language
    • Taino language
  • Arawakan mythology


  • Taino Indians
    • BT Arawak Indians
    • Indians of the West Indies–Cuba
    • Indians of the West Indies–Hispaniola
    • Indians of the West Indies–Puerto Rico
    • –Antiquities
    • –First Contact with Europeans
  • Taino art
  • Taino Indians in literature
  • Taino language
  • Taino mythology
  • Taino pottery
  • Taino sculpture
  • Taino women
  • Taino wood-carving


Another native people were the Carib Indians who are generally believed to be unrelated to the Arawak or Taino. Today, the remaining Carib Indians live primarily on the island of Dominica.


  • Carib Indians
    • BT Cariban Indians
    • Indians of South America
    • –First Contact with Europeans
  • Carib art
  • Carib children
  • Carib language
  • Carib mythology
  • Carib pottery
  • Carib Reserve (Dominica)
  • Carib women
  • Carib women in literature


  • Cariban Indians
    • BT Indians of South America
    • Indians of the West Indies
    • NT Carib Indians
    • Island Carib Indians
    • Note: The Island Carib Indians are also known as the Red Carib—distinguishing them from the Black Carib–now Garifuna (Caribbean People). The Island Carib are, to use LC’s qualifier, of Mixed descent: Native American and African.


  • Cariban languages
  • Cariban mythology


African Diaspora Cultures:

  • Caribbean Area–Civilization–African influences
  • Blacks–Antilles, Greater
  • Blacks–Antilles, Lesser
  • Blacks–Caribbean Area
  • Blacks–Central America
  • Blacks–West Indies

Blacks can also be qualified by island or country, e.g.

  • Blacks–Martinique


  • Garifuna (Caribbean People)
    • UF (use for) Black Carib Indians
    • [Former heading]** Black Caribs
    • Carifuna (Caribbean People)
    • Garif
    • Garifunas
    • Garinagu (Caribbean People)
    • Kariphuna (Caribbean People)
    • BT Blacks–Antilles, Lesser
    • Blacks–Central America
    • Ethnology–Antilles, Lesser
    • Ethnology–Central America
    • Island Carib Indians–Mixed descent
    • Racially mixed people–Antilles, Lesser
    • Racially mixed people–Central America
  • Garifuna boys
  • Garifuna calendar
  • Garifuna children
  • Garifuna language
  • Garifuna literature
  • Garifuna poetry
  • Garifuna women

Note: The Garifuna live in Honduras and Belize today. They were forcibly removed by the British from St. Vincent in 1797.


  • Afro-Caribbean cults
    • UF Cults, Afro-Caribbean
    • BT Cults–Caribbean Area
    • NT Ifa (Religion)


  • Cults–Caribbean Area
    • NT Ifa (Religion)

Note: Ifa is a form of Yoruba divination practiced by certain Afro-Caribbean cults.


  • Gods, Afro-Caribbean

The following Afro-Caribbean religions have their own subject headings. Carriacou’s Big Drum, St. Lucia’s Kele, among others, have not had their own subject headings established.


  • Earth People (Cult) Note: Trinidad
  • Kumina (Cult) Note: Jamaica
  • Obeah (Cult) Note: Found throughout the Caribbean
  • Rastafari movement
  • Rastafari ethics
  • Rastafari literature
  • Rastafari poetry
  • Rastafarians

Note: Dreadlocks is also an accepted subject heading.

  • Santeria
    • UF Lucumí (Religion)
    • Lukumi (Religion)
    • Ocha (Religion)
    • Regla de Ocha
    • Regla Lucumi
    • Regla Lukumi
    • Santeria (Cult) [Former heading]
    • Santeria (Cultus) [Former heading]
  • BT Cults
    • –Liturgical objects
  • Santeria alters
  • Santeria in art
  • Santeria in literature
  • Santeria music
  • Santeria vestments


  • Shango (Cult) Note: Trinidad


  • Voodooism

Here are entered works on the major folk religion practiced primarily in Haiti and parts of the southern United States. Works on a form of cult magic practiced primarily in the southern United States are entered under Hoodoo (Cult)


  • UFVodou
    • Vodun
    • Voodoo (Religion)
    • Voudou
    • Voudouism
  • BT Cults–Haiti
    • Cults–Southern States
  • RT (related term) Gagá (Cult)
    • Hoodoo (Cult)
    • Obeah (Cult)
  • NT Bizango (Cult)
    • Zombiism
  • Voodooism in art
  • Voodooism in literature
  • Voodism in motion pictures
  • Voodoo flags
  • Voodoo music
  • Voodoo priests
  • UF Priests, (Voodoo) [Former heading]
  • RT Priests
  • NT Mambos (Voodooism)
  • Voodoo priests in literature

Finally, those of us who study the Caribbean are:


  • UF Caribbean studies specialists
  • BT Hispanists

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