Taíno Confederation calls for Investigation into Archeological Site Destruction

Luquillo, Borikén (Puerto Rico) – In a recent communication to the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) called for an investigation to determine the damage to an Indigenous archeological site in Luquillo. The UCTP was made aware of the issue after a video report made by advocate Eliezer Molina surfaced on social media. Molina’s video documents extensive damage to ancient pottery as a road was being made into the area's wetlands. 

In the communication to Nancy Santiago, Director, Archeological and Ethnohistory Program at the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture (ICP), the Confederation stated the site was “considered of significant cultural importance to Taíno Peoples and archeologically.” 

Upon initial inquiry, the UCTP has so far determined that the damage caused by heavy machinery is linked to developer Federico Stubbe. The construction is related to a proposed hotel tied to the Marriott company.

“The UCTP is calling on the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the government of Puerto Rico to implement the applicable laws for the protection of cultural patrimony in Puerto Rico and immediately halt the construction,” said R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero, President, United Confederation of Taíno People. He continued, stating that “the Confederation is also calling for an in-depth cultural and environmental impact study, including an assessment of the damage, and of the legality of the construction permitting process.” 

The UCTP’s communication to the ICP also notes that what is occurring in Luquillo is a “recurring tragedy on the island as development projects are continuously fast-tracked” regardless of the damage to the archeological record or the concerns of Taíno Peoples. “UCTP representatives are in touch with and support local protests concerning the site. A group of concerned individuals have set up a camp near the area called Campamiento Cangrejo,” stated Tai Pelli, UCTP Human Rights and International Relations Officer. “They have also established a petition that the UCTP supports. 

Evidence shows that the archeological site is connected to wetlands that were protected for decades. The damage could be in violation of several laws including Puerto Rican Public Law 112, July 20th, 1988, which is supposed to protect archaeological sites. Additionally, the damage documented by Molina and others appears to violate U.S. Federal Laws including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, Section 404, which is the primary vehicle for Federal regulation of activities that occur in wetlands.

For more information, contact oirrc@uctp.org

Confederación Taíno pide una Investigación sobre Destrucción de Sitio Arqueológico

Luquillo, Borikén (Puerto Rico) – En un comunicado reciente al Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP), la Confederación Unida del Pueblo Taíno, CUPT (UCTP, por sus siglas en inglés) pidió una investigación para que se determine el daño a un sitio arqueológico indígena en Luquillo. La CUPT fue alertada sobre el hecho a través de un video del defensor Eliezer Molina que surgió en las redes sociales. El video de Molina documenta daño extensivo de alfarería antigua, según se va construyendo una carretera hacia las áreas de humedales.

En la comunicación dirigida a la Sra. Nancy Santiago, Directora del Programa de Arqueología y Etnohistoria del ICP, la Confederación declaró que "considera este lugar como uno de gran importancia cultural para el Pueblo Taíno, como arqueológicamente."

Tras una investigación inicial, y hasta ahora, la CUPT ha identificado que el daño causado por equipo pesado está vinculado al desarrollador Federico Stubbe. La construcción está relacionada a un propuesto hotel vinculado a la compañía Marriott.

“La Confederación Unida del Pueblo Taíno hace un llamado al Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña y al gobierno de Puerto Rico a utilizar las leyes correspondientes para la protección del patrimonio cultural en Puerto Rico y a detener de inmediato la construcción”- dijo R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero Presidente de la Confederación Unida del Pueblo Taíno. Seguidamente declaró que “la Confederación también está pidiendo a que se conduzca un estudio de impacto a profundidad incluyendo la evaluación de los daños ambientales y culturales así como la legalidad del proceso de permisología de dicha construcción.”

La comunicación de la CUPT al ICP también denota que lo que está ocurriendo en Luquillo es “una tragedia recurrente en la isla ya que los proyectos de desarrollo son continuamente acelerados por vía rápida” independientemente del daño al archivo arqueológico ni a las inquietudes del Pueblo Taíno.

“Representantes de la CUPT estamos en comunicación y apoyamos las protestas locales relacionadas con este lugar. Un grupo de ciudadanos ha establecido un campamento en el área, llamado Campamento Cangrejo.” indicó Tai Pelli, Oficial de Relaciones Internacionales y Derechos Humanos de la CUPT. “También se ha establecido una petición en línea la cual la CUPT apoya.” 

La evidencia demuestra que el sitio arqueológico está conectado a humedales que han sido protegidos por décadas. El daño pudiera estar en violación de varias leyes, incluyendo la ley Pública PR 112 del 20 de julio de 1988, la cual se supone proteja los sitios arqueológicos. Por otra parte, el daño documentado por Molina y otros aparenta violar leyes federales de E.E.U.U. incluyendo la Ley sobre Especies Amenazadas y la Ley de Agua Limpia, sección 404, la cual es la medida primordial de la regulación federal sobre algunas de las actividades que ocurren en los humedales. 

Para obtener más información, communíquese con oirrc@uctp.org


Indigenous Mona Island Rock Art Dated By Researchers

Photo courtesy of University of Leicester

Mona Island (UCTP Taíno News) - Researchers documented pre-Hispanic rock art in a vast cave system on Mona. According to Hannah Osbourne at Newsweek, the works date back to at least the 13th century. The research was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. The study includes the first dates for the rock art and speculative interpretations of some of the thousands of drawings and etchings found in the island’s 30 cave systems. Mona is the third-largest island of the Puerto Rican archipelago, after the main island of Borikén (Puerto Rico) and Bieke (Vieques).

UCTPTN 12/04/2021


Taíno Confederation Condemns Christies Auction House

A Taíno amulet among pieces to be auctioned by Christie's Auction House

UCTP Taíno News - Taíno community members have expressed outrage upon learning that the renowned Christies' Auction House will be auctioning off "Taíno Masterworks" in collaboration with France's Musee de l’Homme on November 10, 2021. An online petition calling for a halt to the auction and a return of the sacred items has garnered substantial visibility of the issue with thousands of signatories and mainstream press coverage. Individual community members have taken to the internet to support the call to stop the sale and for the repatriation of the cultural items. 

The United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) has expressed public support for the petition and condemned Christie's for facilitating these sales.  In a communication sent to Christie's representative, Fatma Turkkan-Wille, UCTP President, R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero stated

"The UCTP condemns these auction plans and demands a halt to the scheduled proceedings. The UCTP further calls upon the seller to immediately enter into a dialogue with Taíno leadership and the Government of the Dominican Republic to plan an appropriate repatriation process." 

The UCTP communication further states that the pending sale is "a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." 

UCTPTN 11082021


Taíno Honor the Indigenous Siwanoy at Clason Point

Taíno community members manifesting Bronx Indigenous Futurisms at Snakapins.
Photo by Kaxhyêk

Bronx, NY (UCTP Taíno News) – On October 9, a diverse group gathered at Clason Point Park peninsula in the Bronx, NY to pay homage to the Siwanoy with a land acknowledgment ceremony, storytelling, and music. The gathering was led by Taíno community member Caridad de la Luz, also known as La Bruja, in collaboration with Pepatián: Bronx Arts Collaborative. The program manifested under the title “Bronx Indigenous Futurisms” and sought to raise the visibility of Clason Point’s Indigenous history as well as acknowledge “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Clason Point, known to the Siwanoy as "Snakapins," was the site of a large American Indian settlement comprising more than seventy dwellings.

Caridad de la Luz

 Leading the ceremonial portion of the gathering was Behike Miguel Sague, a   founder of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle. Sagua's Taíno lineage   originates in Cuba. Elder Sague is also the United Confederation of Taíno   People’s Ambassador to Cuba. Lonnie Harrington, of Seminole heritage,   was  also a featured presenter who also shared songs that encouraged those   gathered to join the circle and dance.

 Also addressing the gathering by invitation was the President of the United   Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP), R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero who   attend with his spouse, Joselyn Borrero (Tlingit). Borrero, who is also a   Kasike (chief) of the Guainía Taíno Tribe, presented a special gift to Caridad   de la Luz in recognition of her efforts and on behalf of the UCTP.

The program also featured an installation dedicated to Indigenous Women and a plaque dedicated to the Siwanoy was added to one of the park benches overlooking the water, which is the confluence of the Bronx and East Rivers.

 UCTPTN 10112021