UCTP President to Speak at Gaming Conference

A scene from Arrival: Village Kasike
Brooklyn, New York (UCTP Taino News) – The President of the United Confederation of Taino People, Roberto Borrero will join CEO of Raindrop Games, Josh Samuels on a panel focusing on Indigenous Peoples and video game development at the Different Games conference on Saturday, April 9th, 2016.

After community consultation, the Confederation entered into a collaboration with Raindrop Games, which resulted in the production and release of the game “Arrival: Village Kasike” in 2012. The game is currently available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iTouch. According to Raindrop Games, plans are now being made to release Arrival: Village Kasike on other platforms, possibly as early as next year. A recent UNESCO report highlights Arrival: Village Kasike as a best practice initiative with regard to Indigenous Peoples and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).  

Different Games is New York City’s first conference on diversity and inclusivity in games culture, drawing more than 700 attendees to NYU’s Downtown Brooklyn campus, in addition to more than 100 arcade games and 150 presenters and speakers! The fourth annual Different Games Conference will be held over 2 days, April 8-9, 2016 at NYU MAGNET in Brooklyn.

See more information at the Different Games website: http://2016.differentgames.org/

UCTPTN 02.14.2015


Confederation Raises Visibility of the Taino Language at the United Nations

United Nations, NY (UCTP Taino News) - An expert group meeting on “Indigenous languages: preservation and revitalization" was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 19 to 21 January 2016. The meeting was organized by UN DESA/DSPD. This was the second international expert group meeting on indigenous languages organized by the UN DESA. It built upon the findings and recommendations of the 2008 expert group meeting on the principles of cultural diversity and indigenous languages as a way to promote intercultural dialogue and affirm indigenous peoples’ identity.
The United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) submitted a statement to the meeting to increase attention on the situation of the languages of Taino and other Indigenous Peoples in the Caribbean. The UCTP also participated at the first expert group meeting in 2008. The Confederation's 2016 recommendations included: the creation of an International Day and Year of Indigenous Languages; the development and or strengthening of programs aimed at promoting the empowerment of indigenous languages through all communication mediums; and support mechanisms for projects focusing on Caribbean based indigenous language initiatives. 
The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with the mandate to discuss issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. 
UCTPTN 01.28.2016


UCTP Appoints Second Liaison Officer in Connecticut

UCTP President R. Borrero and
UCTP Liaison Officer Angel Ortiz
West Haven, Connecticut (UCTP Taino News) – On December 31, 2015, Angel Ortiz was appointed a Liaison Officer in the State of Connecticut by the President of the United Confederation of Taino People, Roberto “Múkaro Agüeibaná” Borrero following final approval by the UCTP’s Governing Board. Liaison Officers serve as focal points for the Confederation in their designated areas of responsibility. Angel Ortiz now serves in this distinguished post along with Hector Baracutey Gonzalez. 

Ortiz is a Borikén Taino born in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. He is a member of Taino iukaieke Guainia and has resided in Connecticut since 1985. Oritz has a Bachelors Degree in Counseling, and has worked with patients suffering from Mental Health illness. He currently serves in the United States Team Coast Guard / Department of Homeland Security as Seaman, working on Search and Rescue Operations for Sector Long Island Sound; and represents the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, as Academy Admissions Partner. Oritz currently lives in West Haven with his wife Carmela. 

UCTPTN 01.17.2016


Climate Change panel in Hialeah includes Taino representative

Participants of the City of Hialeah's Climate Change panel on December 6, 2015
Hialeah, Florida (UCTP Taino News) - CLIMA, an exhibition by world-renowned artist Xavier Cortada opened in the city of Hialeah on November 30 and will run until January 29, 2016 at the Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment. The exhibition uses art, performances and panels to address the issue of global climate change and sea level rise and how it impacts South Florida. A key component of the exhibit was 12 panel discussions on global climate change during the 12 days of the Paris Talks - from Nov 30 - Dec 11. Each panel concluded with a performance art piece addressing a topic presented in the panel. 

On Sunday, December 6, the guest panel entitled “Moral Nature: Faith in the face of a Global Climate Crisis” included Mildred Karaira Gandia (Taino) along with a diverse ecumenical group. The panelists discussed the faith community’s response to environmental degradation, and particularly its impact on the poor and generations not yet born. 

"The one thing that everyone on the panel agreed on was that in order to protect Atabei (Mother Earth) and our future generations, we all need to work together regardless of religion, color, etc." stated Gandia. 

She continued stressing that "we all have something to contribute and this crises cannot be solved by anyone alone". 

Gandia is a South Florida representative of the United Confederation of Taino People and an elder representative of the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women’s Circle. 

CLIMA is presented the City of Hialeah in partnership with FIU and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

UCTPTN 01.03.2016


The Paris Agreement: An “Incremental Advance” for International Recognition of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Some members of the Global Indigenous Peoples Caucus at COP21 in Paris
Paris, France – The 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC-COP21) officially adopted the Paris Agreement on Saturday, December 12, 2015.  The Agreement, with the legal force of a UN Treaty, was agreed to by all the 195 States (countries) present.  Once ratified by at least 55 States, it will go into legal force in 2020.  It commits all countries, for the first time ever, to cut their carbon emissions while also recognizing the special circumstances of developing countries.  The States also adopted the “Paris Decision” which is not legally binding, but commits States to immediately begin the process of reducing greenhouse emissions that cause climate change.
Some commentators are denouncing the Paris Agreement as a failure while others are hailing it as an historic triumph.  But for Indigenous Peoples, the Paris Agreement can be seen as another step forward for the recognition of their rights in international law.
The International Indigenous Peoples Forum of Climate Change (IIPFCC) and the Indigenous Peoples Caucus representing over 200 indigenous delegates attending this session from around the world, was invited to make a formal statement at the COP21 closing plenary. The IIPFCC closing statement, presented by elder Frank Ettawageshik (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), highlighted the three key messages advocated by Indigenous Peoples during the two-week session.  These included a call for the rights of Indigenous Peoples [to] be recognized, protected, and respected within a broad human rights framework in both the preamble and the operative sections of the Agreement; a temperature goal of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius increase over pre-industrial levels; and recognition, respect for and use of Indigenous Peoples’ traditional knowledge, with their free, prior, and informed consent, in measures for adaption to climate change.   The IIPFCC statement, while expressing that Indigenous Peoples were “keenly disappointed” at the shortfalls in meeting these calls, noted that all three Indigenous Peoples messages were “addressed to some degree” in the final Agreement.
In particular, the inclusion of “the rights of Indigenous Peoples” in the preamble paragraph of the Agreement, achieved despite the consistent opposition of some States throughout the process, is a significant and unprecedented step forward.  This is the first time this phrase has appeared unqualified in a legally binding UN Treaty, environmental or otherwise.  The same phrase was included the preamble of the Paris Decision, although both say that States “should consider”, while Indigenous Peoples and human rights advocates called for the use of the stronger word  “shall”.
As noted by hereditary Chief Damon Corrie, Lokono Arawak of Barbados, “strong support by a group of States including Philippines, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Tuvalu, Indonesia, Canada and others, standing in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples throughout the negotiations, was required to achieve these inclusions in the final Agreement.
Despite disappointment that the phrase ‘rights of Indigenous Peoples’ and Human Rights in general did not also appear in the Agreement’s operative section, International Chief, attorney and member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) Wilton Littlechild, Ermineskin Cree Nation, clarified that “the preamble of a Treaty provides the context and framework for interpreting and implementing the entire document.”  The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties supports his assessment. On this basis, Chief Littlechild called the Paris Agreement an “incremental advancement for recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in international law.”
The Paris Agreement also calls on State parties (countries) to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.” The 1.5 temperature goal was a core position not only of Indigenous Peoples, but the Small Island Developing States.
Article 7 of the Agreement addressing Adaptation affirms the need for a participatory, transparent, gender-sensitive approach based on science and “as appropriate, traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems”.  UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli Corpuz noted that Indigenous Peoples’ traditional knowledge, innovations and practices are recognized in both the Agreement and the Decision, and stated that moving forward “the challenge is how to operationalize this decision.”
The inclusion of Indigenous Peoples’ core positions both in the Paris Agreement and Decision was the result of the monumental, coordinated and unified efforts by the Indigenous Peoples Caucus throughout COP21.  Despite the shortfalls, the inclusion of “the rights of Indigenous Peoples” in both preambles provides a basis for future advocacy to ensure that all programs addressing Climate Change are carried out with respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples as affirmed in the UN Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including land and resource rights, free prior and informed consent, traditional knowledge and Treaty rights.