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.


Indigenous Leaders from Around the World Meet at COP21 in Paris

Kayapo Chief Raoni Metuktire of Brazil and Kasike Roberto Mukaro Borrero,
President of the United Confederation of Taino People meet in Paris. 
Paris, France (UCTP Taino News) - About 250 indigenous leaders who engaged in a series of unprecedented consultations in the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Africa finalized their proposals to COP21 on Monday. The delegates are now actively lobbying governments to include the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the COP21 agreement. The indigenous leaders are also calling on countries to adopt a goal of keeping the global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming with the view of further lowering it to one degree Celsius. According to experts, the disastrous and possibly irreversible tipping point of climate change is 2°C. Among this historic and diverse gathering of indigenous leadership are Chief Damon Corrie of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO) and Kasike Roberto Mukaro Agueibana Borrero, President of the United Confederation of Taino People

UCTPTN 11.30.2015


Taino Attends Keystone XL Rejection Celebration in South Dakota

Taino Community member Heriberto Guaragua'niki of the Guainia Taino Tribe
addresses Keystone Rejection Victory Celebration in South Dakota
on behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People
Mission, South Dakota (UCTP Taino News) - Taino community member Heriberto Guaragua'niki Martinez attended the "Success through Prayer" Keystone Rejection Victory Celebration in South Dakota on November 14, 2015. The event was hosted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and featured many speakers including grassroots leaders like Faith Spotted Eagle and various supporters who advocated against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Martinez, a member of the Guainia Taino Tribe was asked to officially represent the United Confederation of Taino People at the event by UCTP President, Roberto Mukaro Borrero. 

The UCTP actively protested against the proposed pipeline in solidarity with North American Indigenous Tribal Nations on the front lines of the fight against the Keystone KXL. Organizers of the event including elder Chief Duane Hollow Horn Bear requested that Martinez share remarks with those gathered. Martinez shared historical information about the Taino and he recounted how community members attended marches and wrote letters to government officials against the pipeline. He also shared how the Boricua community, including Taino People, recently defeated a gas pipeline proposed for the island of Boriken (Puerto Rico). 

On November 6, President Barack Obama denied the permit to carry tar-sands crude oil from TransCanada Corporation into the United States through the proposed KXL pipeline. The "Success through Prayer" Keystone Rejection Victory Celebration was held at the Sinte Gleska University. 

UCTPTN 11.18.2015