Historical discourses about the Caribbean often chronicle West African and European influence to the general neglect of indigenous people’s contributions to the contemporary region. Consequently, demographic histories of Caribbean people prior to and after European contact are not well understood. Although archeological evidence suggests that the Lesser Antilles were populated in a series of northward and eastern migratory waves, many questions remain regarding the relationship of the Caribbean migrants to other indigenous people of South and Central America and changes to the demography of indigenous communities post-European contact. To explore these issues, we analyzed mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome diversity in 12 unrelated individuals from the First Peoples Community in Arima, Trinidad, and 43 unrelated Garifuna individuals residing in St. Vincent. In this community-sanctioned research, we detected maternal indigenous ancestry in 42% of the participants, with the remainder having haplotypes indicative of African and South Asian maternal ancestry. Analysis of Y-chromosome variation revealed paternal indigenous American ancestry indicated by the presence of haplogroup Q-M3 in 28% of the male participants from both communities, with the remainder possessing either African or European haplogroups. This finding is the first report of indigenous American paternal ancestry among indigenous populations in this region of the Caribbean. Overall, this study illustrates the role of the region’s first peoples in shaping the genetic diversity seen in contemporary Caribbean populations.