Manatee Seen as a Good Sign to Taino People

New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) - A recent sighting of a massive manatee traveling up New York’s Hudson River is seen as an important event by Taino Indians in New York. A representative of the United Confederation of Taino People, Roberto Mucaro Borrero noted that “for some of our community this rare occurrence is seen as a positive prophetic sign.”

The Taino were the first Indigenous Peoples in the Western Hemisphere to encounter Columbus and manatee is a Taino word. Manatees are commonly associated with the warm waters of Florida and the Caribbean.

“We relate this sighting to another that took place some years ago in Boriken (Puerto Rico). Both of these occurrences are seen as an opportunity for a renewed relationship with the natural world and responsible action” continued Borrero.

The Taino traditionally view the manatee in a manner similar to the way North American Plains Indians view the buffalo.

Borrero also observed that “this manatee comes to New York at a perfect time as we will commemorate the 12th International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples at United Nations headquarters tomorrow on August 9th and we will certainly bring the spirit of this sacred sea-going relative to the United Nations.”

While a rare sight it is not unprecedented for manatees to travel this far north a few have been sighted along the shores of Long Island and even as far north as Rhode Island.

The manatee has been spotted at 23rd Street near Chelsea Piers, West 125th Street, and later in Westchester County. It appeared to be healthy.

UCTP Taino News 08.08.2006

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