8/21/2005

Boriken Ceremonial Park Occupation Follow Up

Follow Up on Boriken Ceremonial Park Occupation

Utuado, Puerto Rico - Following the arrests of Taino protesters last
week in Utuado, Puerto Rico a number of follow up activities have
been initiated to continue to highlight the lack of indigenous
rights on the island as well as the on-going destruction of sacred
places and ancestral remains.

On Monday, August 15, 2005 a group of Taino youth lobbied the 80
member Puerto Rican legislature hand delivering the demands the
Boriken Taino leadership who courageously and at great personal
hardship occupied the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center for over
two and a half weeks. The youth group called 'Joventud Indigena de
Boriken' was established in response to Caguana occupation as Taino
youth at the university level were inspired by the action of their
community leaders. The youth were accompanied by several Taino
leaders who were part of the occupation as well as other community
members. The students also attempted to meet with the Governor but
were unable to do so. Taino community leader Naniki Reyes Ocasio
noted that the continued lack of responsive of the current
administration demonstrates that there is no forum for Taino People
in Boriken (Puerto Rico) to voice their concerns.

Another member of the Caguana occupation, Guatibiri Baez joined
Naniki Reyes Ocasio and Taino community elder and spiritual leader
Manuel Galagarza on the television show 'Andar pa Ca'ar' on
Wednesday August 17, to present their views on the events in Utuado.
The Taíno representatives spoke on a variety of issues on the
nationally broadcast program. In this coming week, members of the
occupation will also appear on 'Radio Isla' having an opportunity to
again broadcast their perspectives throughout the island for a full
45 minutes.

This weekend Taino community leaders are meeting in the Caguana area
to discuss and evaluate the occupation and follow up strategies.

A detailed account of the arrests in Caguana will soon be posted on
the website of the United Confederation of Taino People (http://www.uctp.org/)
demonstrating the brutality of the police against the peaceful
protesters.