8/10/2020

Online Gathering of Ethical Women Includes a Taíno Leader

Tai Pelli, UCTP Officer

Madrid, Spain (UCTP Taíno News) - A successful virtual encounter of Ethical Women with Equity Souls, was organized by La Red Internacional de Mujeres y Hombres Girasol Asorbaex (International Network of Sunflower Asorbaex Women and Men) and El Foro de Mujeres de Iberoamérica (Ibero-American Women’s Forum) on August 9, 2020. More than 80 women and men virtually from across Latin America  and Spain including talented professionals, businesswomen, associate weaving women, social activists for peace, human rights, and the environment, as well as poets, writers, cultural managers, academics, teachers, investigators, and doctors, among others.

Tai Pelli, International Relations and Human Rights Officer of the United Confederation of Taíno People and Co-President/ Co-founder of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO), was one of the featured speakers. The 7-hour meeting, made possible by the Jitsi Platform, generated new perspectives on empowerment, equity, sorority, equality, and gender identity through the exchange of ancestral knowledge, experiences, ways of knowing, labor, talent, and wisdom. The Board of Directors of ASORBAEXexpressed how grateful they were to be able to count on this diverse network of dedicated individuals from around the world who are all working toward well-being, cohesion, social justice, and peace. 

The organizers are planning a series of virtual meetings running between September through October 2020. Dates to be announced. 

7/13/2020

Taino Confederation Joins Native Response to Washington's Team's 'Thorough Review' of Name



UCTP Taíno News -
Native Leaders sent 
a letter to National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell on July 6 responding to the Washington team's announced review of their racist name. The letter called for the immediate discontinuation of the name and eradication of all Native names, logos, and mascots throughout the League.

By July 10, over 1500 signatories signed on to the communication, including over 100 Native-led organizations as well as tribal leaders, actors, artists, poets, journalists, lawyers, judges, elected leaders, business leaders, investors, philanthropists, state representatives, religious leaders, executive directors from over 70 organizations, professors and students from over 50 universities, and private citizens. 

Among the signatories was the United Confederation of Taíno People. The Confederation has long been concerned about the issue of racist stereotypes and in 2011, submitted testimony to a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on the issue. 

In a recent Adweek article, Roberto Múkaro Borrero, President of the United Confederation of Taíno People stated "Violence comes in many forms, some more subtle than others. Indigenous Peoples are not your mascots.” 

UCTPTN 07/13/2020

4/12/2020

TEATRO BREVE de San Juan, PR ridiculiza al Pueblo Indígena Taíno/Jíbaro/Borikua en Parodia Teatral en las redes sociales

12 de abril 2020 - La Confederación Unida del Pueblo Taíno, junto a la comunidad Indígena Caribeña Taíno, Jíbaro, Borikua Arawak denuncia el acto de discriminación racial y burla cometido en su contra por Teatro Breve con la parodia titulada Un Viaje a nuestras raíces que ridiculiza al Pueblo Indígena de Borikén recientemente dispersándose a través de las Redes Sociales. Teatro Breve, hasta ahora había sido considerado la versión de “SNL”(Saturday Night Live) de Puerto Rico y entre otros, “la mejor compañía de Teatro en Puerto Rico”. 

El Pueblo Indígena Caribeño ha sido un pueblo resiliente por 527 años ante los abusos que comienzan con su invisibilización a través de la retórica colonial de la extinción, abuso a nuestras mujeres indígenas, la opresión, demonización y deshumanización,  incluyendo la religiosa. Esto se ha convertido en una licencia para ridiculizar a aquellos y aquellas que afirman su herencia e identidad Indígena como es su Derecho Humano inherente, universal, básico y fundamental, como lo es el Derecho a la libre determinación e identificación. 

El Gobierno Federal de los Estados Unidos, y por su estatus colonial, el gobierno local de Puerto Rico, tienen la obligación  de implementar al igual que de respetar la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, finalmente adoptada por Estados Unidos en diciembre de 2010. 

El Artículo 8.1 - Los pueblos y los individuos indígenas tienen derecho a no ser sometidos a una asimilación forzada ni a la destrucción de su cultura.

Artículo 8.2 Los Estados establecerán mecanismos eficaces para la prevención y resarcimiento de: 

a.Todo acto que tenga por objeto o consecuencia privarlos de su integridad como pueblos distintos o de sus valores culturales o su identidad ética;
           
d) Toda forma de asimilación forzada o integración forzada;

e) Toda forma de propaganda que tenga como fin promover o incitar la discriminación racial o étnica dirigida contra ellos.

Hacemos también hincapié al hecho de que Estados Unidos (por ende aplica  Puerto Rico en su estatus colonial) es una de las Partes que adoptó el Convenio Internacional sobre la Eliminación de todas formas de Discriminación Racial; énfasis a todos sus artículos y a su preámbulo, entre éste: 

“Convencidos de que toda doctrina de superioridad basada en la diferenciación racial es científicamente falsa, moralmente condenable y socialmente injusta y peligrosa, y de que nada en la teoría o en la práctica permite justificar, en ninguna parte, la discriminación racial,..”

Nosotros apreciamos el Arte, después de todo, somos un Pueblo de muchísimas destrezas artísticas. Reconocemos y nos dedicamos a la revitalización de nuestros lenguajes indígenas, como lo están haciendo las más de 476.6 millones de Personas Indígenas en el mundo. Sin embargo, no podemos permitir que ésto suceda en un entorno de ridiculización y chiste sobre nuestra cultura, especialmente cuando se trata de asuntos de la Mujer que dentro de las Culturas Indígenas tienen un simbolismo muy sagrado, como lo es la Menstruación. 

No tenemos duda que un excelente trabajo pudiera haber sido hecho para enseñar sobre uno de nuestros lenguajes, sin embargo rechazamos y denunciamos este acto que deshumaniza, irrespeta, y ridiculiza nuestra Cultura Indígena. El esfuerzo de nuestros ancestros en la sobrevivencia y respeto; el movimiento organizado de nuestro pueblos de ya casi 50 años (como lo han hecho millones de hermanos indígenas en el mundo) y ante los cuales no somos una excepción; la defensa proactiva de nuestros derechos en el ámbito local, nacional, e internacional, entre otros, no puede venir a ser insultado y minimizado para hacer reír a unos cuántos. 

Nuestra Cultura es una Cultura VIVA. Conocemos nuestros Derechos y le pedimos a TEATRO BREVE, una disculpa pública a nuestro Pueblo Indígena Caribeño y a todos los Pueblos Indígenas, porque la burla hacia uno, es la burla hacia todos. También le pedimos a TEATRO BREVE que desista de la exhibición y distribución de este video de tan mal gusto no solo para los miles de Taíno, Jíbaro, Borikuas del Caribe y la Diáspora, sino por la dignidad de 476.6 millones de personas que han sido resilientes ante la adversidad de la mentalidad colonizada. 

Para más información contacte: Tekina Tai Pelli,
Confederación Unida del Pueblo Taíno (United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) 
Oficial de Relaciones Internacionales y Derechos Humanos;
Organización para el Desarrollo Indoamericano del Caribe (CADO, por sus siglas en inglés)
Co-Fundadora y Co-Presidenta
Taipelli21@gmail.com

   Comunicado de Prensa - Confederación Unida del Pueblo Taíno (CUPT) Para distribución inmediata

2/18/2020

Opinion: Boriken’s National Patrimony- A Diminishing Experience


The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, or ICP, San Juan, Borikén (Puerto Rico)

By Nichole Bodin



As the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) slowly disappears as an artifact of a new administrative debt-ridden speculative revenue plan, few find hope for fixing Caribbean history. An alternative could be within the horizon to positively create a better future for the few remaining legitimized Caribbean institutions along with the unborn cultural foundations and academies of Puerto Rico. Beautiful collections and strong archaeological evidence of the Island’s cultural fusion will lose its photos, postcards, petroglyphs, ceramics, songs, poems, and more, while the impending duplicity of the patrimony’s mission fails once again to conserve and preserve Puerto Rico’s culture. 

The ICP is currently located at the old colonial Spanish Welfare House in Old San Juan, and soon it will become a hotel. The Hotel San Felipe is expected to be rehabilitated with an estimated investment of $20 million. The concept is a boutique Hotel development that is proposed through the politicized conservation of the ICP’s historical structure while adding a restaurant, a bar, two luxury spas, and different hospitality and service areas. 

After an unjustifiable transaction was endorsed on December 27, 2016, (three days after the administration of past Governor Alejandro García Padilla ended) a lease agreement was signed by Arnold Benus under the company Gran Hotel San Felipe del Morro, and then Director of Land Administration- Luis Rivero Cubano. This agreement states that a rent of $5,000 per month will be paid during the hotel’s construction process, $85,000 annual fee the first three years of operation, and $100,000 annual the rest. After 10 years, the rent will be increased 15% of the base or 3.5% of the profit of the hotel operation every five years, while after the fourth year of rent, they will only pay 5% of the net earnings after taxes. In order to transform the historic Asilo de Beneficencia building, the headquarters of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the Gran Hotel San Felipe del Morro development company must have the approval of the Puerto Rico National Park Company, as the use of the structure is still intended for a public purpose from its transfer to the island by the United States Government. 

The biggest concern is how the $10 million assigned for or ICP’s headquarters recovery funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Hurricane Maria are going to be used, and how this audacious orchestration will end up in the hands of the already overly indulged private sector. El Castillo San Felipe del Morro is located on the northwestern point of the islet of Old San Juan, steps from the ICP, and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations since 1983. With at least 2 million visitors yearly, the fortification is one of Puerto Rico’s leading tourist attraction, as well as the hotel’s expectations. 

But for now, San Juan’s current corrupt political leaders and government administrators have clearly coordinated again some last-minute oppressive and vicious acts to an already injured nation. With no real government functioning under Puerto Rican colonialism regime now, and with the possible dislocation of the ICP, Old San Juan is becoming a tourist attraction destined to respond to a culture of Disney characters dressed up as “Pirates of the Caribbean” while offering secret and private tour guides. This continuous cultural disinformation and distorted social image do not represent the Institute’s mission of years of work and study for the protection of the legacy and preservation of the Island’s National Treasures and historic patrimony. Old San Juan is already crammed with fancy hotels and numerous Airbnb’s functioning from historic buildings, and some already need restorations from the legal or illegal activities that helped acquire a level of wealth that allowed these businesses to live extravagantly within the National Historic Landmark District of Viejo San Juan. 

By not recognizing these cultural urgencies, a sense of annihilation creates a continuous and distasteful cultural and educational slaughter that noticeably encourages an interminable loss of historic knowledge from the Island’s ancestral contrast in history, its memorable cultural advances and tribal technology legacy. 

Every day, archaeological sites around the world continue to be destroyed through wars and political conflicts. In 1990, NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) declared that museums require to transfer human remains and any associated burial objects to culturally affiliated tribes. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico’s tourism process and absurd land exploitations through infrastructure development have always found itself in the middle of these juridical and patrimonial debates. 

It has been speculated that while Roosevelt Roads Naval Station operated in Ceiba, P.R. (1941-2004), the U.S. Armed Forces took at least 70,000 archaeological artifacts that were probably dated around 600 a.d., as these artifacts could be returned if an exemplary and modern depositary that operates within federally established norms is finally built in Puerto Rico. 

While President Donald Trump’s impeachment discrepancies keep proceeding, the political and economic relationship that Puerto Rico has with the United States will create a bigger and even more longstanding cultural hold-up, with more long-lasting identity damages. The Island’s everlasting jurisdictional oblivion and ethnic miscegenation have definitely created a more than ever alienated community. 

Indigenous movements around the world reflect their ‘cultural distinctiveness’, an important part of the post-colonial struggles for ethnic identity. The role of Latin American and Caribbean's social science has deconstructed Indians not as aboriginal, but as people that have been mediated by colonialism for hundreds of years. These reconstructions of mythological traditions, cultural identity, and social representations of traumatic experience of domination and colonialism have successfully deconstructed the superiority version of history and power. Borikén's (Puerto Rico's) Taíno and other self-identified Indigenous Peoples consists mostly of the genetically mestizo population of mixed European and Amerindian, while the ‘one-drop’ ruled principle of "invisible blackness" has loudly created a long history of violent racial interaction, slavery, and social segregation. 

A sense of urgency arises quickly when the most important cultural institution in a country is going to become a tourist hotel instead of a prestigious archaeological repository. Just as political corruption hits around the global news nowadays, Puerto Ricans question now the same interrogation since their first revolution: when is PR’s history going to be fixed? 

Museums and cultural activities are meant to promote unity and diplomacy in all societies by using their resources to ensure a better understanding of worldwide traditions with full knowledge of historic appreciation that will engender between peoples and nations. The future of the ICP’s artifacts is in danger, as new traditions develop quickly with a predilection aimed to naively annihilate the culture against tourism development. 

Although early museums were elitist and the general public was excluded, today’s museums and repositories have the mission to become agents of change and development that can foster peace, with strong ideals of democracy and transparency in their governance in order to include every group in the society. With the memory and recognition of the history of a culture, its different sectors, ages and how these community interests have created a way of life, the portrayal of customs and artistic manifestations will sustain, defend and preserve all forms of socio-cultural identities of the Circum-Caribbean Indio Old and New World experience. 

Nichole Bodin is a recent graduate from the Caribbean Archaeology Master's Program from the Center of Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Along with her B.A. in Humanities with a minor in fine art photography and a A.D in Audiovisual Communication, she has worked as a community and union organizer and has experience as a grassroots newspaper community journalist. Her shared observations on Puerto Rico's National Patrimony is of interest to our community of thinkers.

2/15/2020

Cali Tzay Nominated for UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, Mayan Cakchiquel, former President of UNCERD
United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - The UN Human Rights Council accepted nominations for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples until October 2019. Among the nominees are Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, a Mayan Cakchiquel from Guatemala and former member (through December 2019) and past President of the UN CERD. In addition to his many other accomplishments, he is also the President of the Board of Directors of the International Indian Treaty Council for the past 20 years. 

Indigenous organizations from around the world have already submitted letters of support for the nomination of Cali Tzay, including the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP)

In a joint statement with the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization, UCTP President, Roberto Múkaro Borrero stated: “We commend the remarkable work Mr. Cali Tzay has accomplished in the field of human rights, in particular, issues concerning indigenous peoples internationally, over his career.” 

In 2001, the Commission on Human Rights decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, as part of the system of thematic Special Procedures. The Special Rapporteur’s mandate was renewed by the Commission on Human Rights in 2004, and by the Human Rights Council in 2007. 

Appointments of Special Procedures Mandate Holders are expected to be made at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council to be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 24 February - 20 March 2020. 

UCTPTN 02/15/2020