Hundreds Support Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Washington D.C.

Representing the International Indian Treaty Council, UCTP President Roberto Mukaro Borrero addresses the large crowd gathered in Washington D.C. to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. 
Washington D.C. (UCTP Taino News) – Several hundred American Indians and allies rallied outside the Washington D.C. Federal District Court on August 24, 2016 to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who are seeking an injunction to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Tribe argues that the pipeline construction was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers without proper consultation with the tribal government of the Standing Rock Sioux. 

While the court proceedings took place inside, supporters gathered outside to hear a full day of solidarity statements from American Indian leaders and community members, environmental activists, and celebrities such as Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley, as well as American Indian drumming and singing. Representatives of the Piscataway Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Redrum Motorcycle Club, the American Indian Community House, and the International Indian Treaty Council were among the many who addressed the gathering. Taino community members representing the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Women’s
Vanessa Inarunikia and Gina
Rixturey of Bohio Atabei at the
rally in Washington D.C.
Circle, a member of the United Confederation of Taino People, also participated and addressed the crowd. 

The proposed construction is scheduled to cross the Missouri River, which would greatly endanger the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s only source of drinking water. Star of the Divergent series, actress Shailene Woodley noted that the Missouri River is also a water source for 18 million Americans. The pipleline’s construction also endangers and could possibly destroy indigenous sacred places, including burial sites along its route. 

Judge James Boasberg is expected to rule on the motion by Sept. 9, 2016. The construction of the pipeline in North Dakota is halted until a ruling is issued. 

 UCTPTN 08.24.2016


Taino Support Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. 
(AP Photo/James MacPherson)
Ft. Yates, North Dakota (UCTP Taino News) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) approved construction permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will bring it within a half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. If completed, this pipeline would transport approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day and cross the Missouri River, which is the only source of water to the reservation. A key issue is that the USACE did not consulate with or gain consent from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST), which is a violation of the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other International Human Rights instruments whose provisions the United States is obliged to uphold. According to tribal officials the pipeline will damage or destroy sacred sites and burial grounds along its proposed route. The SRST has issued a call of support for its opposition to the pipeline, which the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) responded to on August 16, 2016 in an official communication to Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II. 

The Confederation’s solidarity letter supported the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s courageous efforts to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and that it is clear that federal laws and treaties were bypassed in the planning process requiring direct consultation with the Tribe.” The Tribe’s External Affairs Director Steven Sitting Bear confirmed receipt of the Confederation letter stating, “Standing Rock appreciates the Taino People’s support.” 

Roberto Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero, President of the UCTP noted that “Taino People have experience with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their lack of consultation with regard to sacred sites and burial grounds.” Borrero continued stating that “despite provisions in the Historic Preservation Act for consultation, the USACE proceeded to remove ancestral remains without meeting with local Taino even after several official requests were made with regard to the Hacanas (Jacanas) PO29 archeological site in 2007.” 

“Considering these past actions and the current situation affecting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the USACE continues to violate the right to free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples as defined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is contrary to the Obama administration commitment to implement the Declaration.” 

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has filled an injunction to halt the construction of the pipeline scheduled to be heard case being heard in Federal Court in early September 2016. 

UCTPTN 08.19.2016


NYC Mayor de Blasio Approves Borinqueneers Way

In this photo: Katherine Benson (EH Preservation); Rosa Cruz (PR Federal Affairs); Zaida Rodriguez (EH Borinqueneers Honoring Committee- EHBHC); Mayor Bill de Blasio; Roger Hernandez (EHBHC/UCTP); Evelyn Collazao (EHBHC); and Ruben Pratts (Purple Heart Recipient and Taino Community Member).
City Hall, New York City (UCTP Taino News) – On August 3rd, 2016 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed off on naming 102nd Street and Lexington Avenue as "Borinqueneers Way." The street naming will honor the members of the U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment, a segregated unit made up of Puerto Ricans, who fought in World War I & II, and Korea. The street renaming was lead by Roger Hernandez, the Chairman of the East Harlem Borinqueneers Honoring Committee and a founding board member of the United Confederation of Taino People.  

The U.S. Army 65th Infantry Regiment received their nickname from the soldiers themselves on their way to Korea who referenced the Taino name for the island of Puerto Rico, Borikén, as many were direct descendants of the indigenous Tribe. Today, many Puerto Ricans refer to themselves as Boricuas in recognition of the Caribbean Indigenous heritage of their homeland - Borikén. 

On April 13th, 2016, the U.S. Congress unveiled the Borinqueneers Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in Washington, DC to honor the service and sacrifice of the previously forgotten solders of the 65th Infantry. Following-up on this historic initiative, Hernandez and the East Harlem Committee organized several events to raise awareness about the regiment including facilitating the presentation bronze-cast replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal in an awards ceremony to honor the New York and New Jersey area veterans who were unable to attend the Washington DC event. 

Fifty-six veterans received the medals in this special ceremony that took place at Hunter College on July 17th, 2016. The Hunter College event was live-streamed by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and is one of several local ceremonies that have been planned or will be planned across the country.

“While I was in Korea fighting with my fellow brother soldiers and officers, I never thought that something like this would happen. I am honored to have served in the 65th and to this day I don’t regret my service with the regiment,” said Eugenio Quevedo, one of the veterans being honored that day. 

The official street renaming event will be held in November. 

 UCTPTN 08.03.2016


Taino submit statement to Special Committee on Decolonization

United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - Various petitioners submitted testimony to the UN Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples on June 20, 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York. In a resolution adopted last year, the Special Committee decided to continue hearing testimony on Puerto Rico.

The United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) submitted a statement to the Committee Chairperson via Committee Secratary, Ms. Jullette Ukabiala. The UCTP' intervention highlighted Boriken's (Puerto Rico's) colonial situation, environmental racism on the island, and the release of political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, among other issues. The UCTP recently submitted a related statement to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues  during its 15th session. 

The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as the Special Committee on decolonization or C-24), the United Nations entity exclusively devoted to the issue of decolonization, was established in 1961 by the General Assembly with the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the Declaration (General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960).

UCTPTN 06.21.2016


UCTP Statement to UN Decolonization Committee

To: UN Special Committee on Decolonization via email

Re: Special Committee decision of 22 June 2015 concerning Puerto Rico: hearing of petitioners, United Nations Headquarters
Monday, 20 June (2 meetings)

Greetings, Mr. Chair:
In May 2016, the United Confederation of Taíno People presented an intervention at the 15th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which we are enclosing with this communication.

The rampant and vicious Environmental Racism Puerto Rico is enduring at the expense of the health of her people, water, land and air, with factors such as Military Waste; Incinerators; GMO experimentation; Carbon Ashes; Water and Natural resources being negotiated to accommodate interests of multinationals and others that just come to the island to squeeze the benefits out while destroying the economy for the locals, for there are more incentives for foreigners than there are to help the locals prosper, are just a some examples of the colonial impacts on the island of Puerto Rico .

For 118 years, the violation of Human Rights, Cultural Rights, the Right to Self-determination, Genocide and Ethnocide in Borikén (Puerto Rico) have gone with impunity while the powers of the empire, which are now on the open continue impacting the people and resources. Violations that this Committee has heard throughout the decades, and/or via the dialogues about the colonial situation of the island of Borikén, are all the result of the lack of transparency about the real relationship between the United States and the colonial powers it continues to execute upon the island and all her peoples, including the indigenous Taino peoples.

The intimidation methods used, where we have seen leaders that work towards the independence of the island, either be shot to death, incarcerated, etc., is another imperialistic way of denying the people of Borikén the right to protest and work towards the inalienable right to self-determination.

With this in mind, the United Confederation of Taino People, joins all the other petitioners and states who have made a call for the immediate release of Oscar López Rivera.

Mr. Chair, it is also our hope, as was stated by petitioner Mr. José Ortiz-Velez, earlier this afternoon, that this process goes beyond just the formulation of yet another Resolution to join another previous 34, but that it results in the release of Oscar López Rivera, and ultimately and finally as is their inherent right, for the United States to begin an immediate process of decolonization of Puerto Rico, to respect the Right to Self –Determination, and the release of this debt that was created by their imperialistic ways, while exploiting Borikén and its diverse peoples and resources for 118 years.

Hahom (Thank you).
Respectfully Submitted,
Roberto Mukaro Agueibana Borrero,
President, United Confederation of Taino People