6/30/2006

NEWS FROM GUYANA: Annai to Construct Benab, Complex for Heritage Day

"Annai villagers are grateful to the government for the timely donation of $2.5M for construction of a benab for the 2006 Amerindian Day celebrations."

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release, in a letter signed by Toshao (Cheif/Capt.) Mark George, residents expressed their gratitude to President Bharrat Jagdeo for dispatching the funds to the Heritage Committee to erect the benab and the heritage complex. GINA said during Jagdeo's visit to the area on March 16, residents requested financial aid to complete the project. On Thursday Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues handed over the cheque to George with the promise of an additional $1M for the community as it is hosting this year's celebrations. Annai is nestled between the Pakaraima Mountain ranges and the savannahs and has a population of 1566 persons.

Source: © Stabroek News
http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=56498401

Caribbean Indigenous Peoples Unite Against Disney

Anaheim, California (UCTP Taino News) - On Saturday, June 24 2006, the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United (GAHFU), organized a peaceful protest against Walt Disney Pictures´ new release “Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man´s Chest”, for its erroneous portrayal of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples as savage cannibals. The protest, the first of a planned series of actions, was supported by the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) and took place at the entrance of the Disneyland theme park.

Both the GAHFU and the UCTP called for an international Boycott of “Pirates of the Caribbean” and all Disney products until “Disney recognizes the injustice and the multi-generational trauma this type of imagery has and continues to inflict upon Caribbean indigenous communities, especially youth.”

The boycott is endorsed by Chief Charles Williams of the Kalinago Carib Nation of Dominica, the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), the Santa Rosa Carib Community of Trinidad, the Joboshirima Arawak Community of Venezuela, and the Eagle Clan Arawaks (Guyana & Barbados) among others.

The Disney film was shot on island locations such as Saint Vincent and Dominica. Earlier “Pirates” protests production began when plans of the derogatory depiction of “Caribs” became public in early 2005. Charles Williams, Chief of the Kalinago Carib Nation of Dominica, led the public opposition of the film, which succeeded in luring local Caribs to appear as “cannibal” characters at a reported $10 an hour. The Government of Dominica, apparently seeking to boost tourism rather than lobby for historical accuracy, supported the stereotyping of the Caribs. The tourism minister of Dominica publicly defended the proposed film as only a ''work of fiction.''

At the protest in California, UCTP representative John Hu’acan Vidal stated “It is not surprising that some Carib people took part in the film considering the economic situation in Carib Territory”. He continued by observing that “people need to feed their families”.

Upon hearing of the film’s content, indigenous community representatives from Trinidad, Saint Vincent, Belize, and Puerto Rico also vehemently opposed the derogatory portrayal of Indigenous Peoples. The UCTP issued an official resolution in solidarity with the Carib Peoples and submitted the resolution to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Naniki Reyes Ocasio, founder of the Caney Quinto Mundo, a respected indigenous Taíno organization in Puerto Rico stated "Being portrayed as cannibal is serious; it is racist, denigrating and dehumanizing for our people." Reyes Ocasio also noted that this type of stereotyping is not just an issue of political correctness but one that violates the basic human rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture used the 'cannibal label' in an attempt to inflame the public and turn public opinion against us during our recent protest against the destruction of our sacred places on the island." Reyes Ocasio continued "Being identified as a cannibal promotes hatred and is serious misunderstanding of our sacred funerary practice of keeping ancestral remains in gourds. We cannot and must not lose sight of the fact that the myth of cannibalism was used by the colonizers to portray our Peoples as savage, to justify our enslavement, to commit genocide and take away our lands. It is still being used to demonize us, justify discrimination, institutionalize colonialism, assault our dignity and deny us our basic human, constitutional and international rights.”

Sadly, the racist portrayal of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples was deliberate on the part of Walt Disney Pictures, as Chief Williams confirms meeting with Disney representatives who visited his island homeland early in the production. At this meeting in Dominica, the Chief was denied the opportunity to review the scenes in question. Further, the Chief requested a disclaimer for the film, which at the least would remind audiences that this was a fictional portrayal and not a reality of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples. This suggestion was also dismissed by Disney.

During the production, in what seems a retaliatory action for Chief Williams stand against the film, an unsuccessful effort to remove the outspoken Chief from his elected position was attempted via a series of ‘no confidence’ votes and a standing order by the Government to dissolve the Carib Council. These attempts did not succeed and Dominica’s Attorney General issued a radio apology declaring a wrongful action on behalf of the Government.

Back at Disneyland, Hu’acan explains “All Indigenous Peoples of the world need to shout the truth of our cultures loud enough to drown out the sounds of the children leaving this movie, pointing to us and saying look Mom, there is one of those cannibals’.”

UCTPTN 06.03.2006

6/29/2006

UN Human Right's Council Adopts Indigenous Rights Declaration

UCTP PUBLIC NOTICE: Action on Resolution on Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

In a resolution (A/HRC/1/L.3), entitled Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights to elaborate a draft declaration in accordance with paragraph 5 of the General Assembly resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, adopted after a roll-call vote by thirty in favour, two against, and twelve abstentions, the Human Rights Council adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as proposed by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group of the Commission on Human Rights to elaborate a draft declaration in accordance with paragraph 5 of the General Assembly resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994 in annex I to the report of the Working Group on its eleventh session (E/CN.4/2006/79); recommends to the General Assembly that it adopt the following draft resolution:

The General Assembly, expresses its appreciation to the Council for the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and adopts the Declaration as contained in the annex to Council resolution 2006/….

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity. Indigenous peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (30):
Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switerzland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Zambia.

Against (2):
Canada, Russian Federation.

Abstentions (12):
Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Tunisia, Ukraine.

Absent (3):
Djibouti, Gabon, Mali.

-------------------

Complete text at:
http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/3D6782A76ABA3623C125719A0060D9F2?OpenDocument


See related story at: http://www.uctp.blogspot.com/ 6/27/2006

More Indigenous Peoples Wrongfully Depicted In Film...


Mel Gibson already has his critics and detractors,
but with his new movie, he's angering historians, too.


'Apocalypto' Now for Mel, Maya and Historians
By Dan Vergano
USA Today

(June 29) -- Call it The Passion of the Maya: Mel Gibson is quietly filming a movie in a Mexican jungle about the collapsed civilization.

Given Gibson's cinematic history, experts on the ancient Maya are looking forward to his upcoming epic, Apocalypto, with a mixture of curiosity and dread. They're pleased that Hollywood will feature a period of world history still little understood but worry that once again a movie may sacrifice historical accuracy for the sake of a good story.

"A lot depends on how well they depict the Maya. It may serve as a really good springboard into a lecture," says archaeologist Lisa Lucero of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. "Or it may be something we have to nip in the bud in that first lecture."

Gibson wasn't available for comment, and the public relations firm for his Icon Productions declined to offer any details on the film's plot.

But according to the film's website, Apocalypto promises "a heart-stopping mythic action-adventure set against the turbulent end-times of the once-great Mayan civilization." The story centers on a kidnapped hero's bid to escape a mass sacrifice at one Maya center. According to another description of the plot in Time magazine's March preview, a ruler orders the mass sacrifice of hapless captives to appease the gods and avert a drought.

The only problem, and big cause for worry among archaeologists, is "the classic Maya really didn't go in for mass sacrifice," Lucero says. "That was the Aztecs." Other concerns: the modern-day Mayan Yucatec language spoken in the film is not the language of the ancient Maya, and the film's Mexican shooting locale is not the classic Maya homeland, says Penn State archaeologist David Webster.

Gibson's last production, The Passion of the Christ, collected complaints, and compliments, from religious scholars, even as it made $370 million in North America. Most of the controversy centered on charges of anti-Semitism, but some, such as DePaul University's John Dominic Crossan, also complained about Jesus speaking Latin and details of the Crucifixion, among other questions.

Gibson's Icon Productions declined to comment on archaeologists' concerns through its Los Angeles public relations firm, Rogers & Cowan. In an interview in March with Time, Gibson said, "After what I experienced with The Passion, I frankly don't give a flying (expletive) about much of what those critics think." He told Time he partly views the movie as a political allegory for leadership in our own era.

Gibson has consulted on the film with archaeologist Richard Hansen, head of the Mirador Basin Project in northern Guatemala, a forest reserve home to a number of Maya archaeological sites. Hansen also declined to comment, other than to say that project findings played a role in the film.

The classic Maya were one of the most developed cultures of Central America before the arrival of Columbus. The Maya practiced slash-and-burn and terrace farming, relying on corn as a staple, and repairing in the dry season to ceremonial centers holding monumental pyramids, plazas and temples.

In 1989, discoveries by Hansen and colleagues established that Maya rulers had centralized their roles far earlier than once supposed, building several massive centers with the help of commoners as early as 600 B.C. The classic Maya culture's history lasted for more than 1,000 years, ending around A.D. 850 with the collapse of the use of ceremonial centers in what are now parts of Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

Scholars still disagree over the extent to which war, drought or general political failure led to the collapse.

By focusing on the role of mass sacrifice, Apocalypto seems poised to insert its own vision into this area of scholarly disagreement, says Lucero, who this year published Water and Ritual: The Rise and Fall of Classic Maya Rulers. The lack of signs of warfare at the sites she has studied, and many others, points more toward a political collapse of the classic Maya, she concludes. "People voted with their feet," she says, moving back into the jungle or northward in a time of drought and political upheaval, when rulers lacking water couldn't compel farmers to visit their centers.

Focusing only on certain aspects of the Maya collapse such as violence or ecological disasters may create the incorrect impression that it was a simple process or that it was caused by a single factor, says archaeologist Tomas Barrientos of Guatemala's Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, by e-mail. Other scholars are just looking forward to seeing how the movie turns out. The film is scheduled for release on Dec. 8. Heavy rains in Mexico had delayed filming this year.

"Actually I'm quite looking forward to seeing it. I think films like this are really funny, and they vastly help me with my teaching, " Webster says. For example, he says, using locations and temples in non-Maya areas of Mexico is "a little like filming the siege of Troy using Roman backdrops."

But after all, Apocalypto is just a movie. And students like hearing how movies get it wrong, Webster says, and enjoy learning the real story. So, "cheers to Mel for being such a juicy target."

Copyright 2006 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Source: AOL News

6/27/2006

Ser O no Ser Taino / To Be or Not to Be Taino

Ser O no Ser Taino

Como negar la sangre que corre por mis venas.

Cuando siento su recorrido atraves de mis tejidos en cada momento dentro de mi cuerpo.

Como ignorar el llamado de mis ancestros
Cuando sus clamor es un grito atrapado en mis celulas.

Ancestros que en mis sueños guian mi buscar
Pero al despertar me encuentro en un mundo extraño donde todo parace ser revertido, verdades distorcionadas, costumbres y creencias ajenas a mi natualeza, y hasta me dicen que no existo.

Disque mis ancestros se extinguieron hace siglos, y nuestra historia ya es solo patrimonio de museos, de arqueologos y antropologos.

Si es verdad, mi gente no se viste con tapa rabos, no se enseña nuestro lenguaje en las escuelas, y ya no cantamos los areitos en comunidad como en ese entonces. Si es verdad que los tiempos han cambiado, pero lo que no es verdad es que un pueblo deje de existir por ser conquistado y ultrajado por otro pueblo. Un pueblo no deja de ser, por que hable una lengua diferente, vista con ropas diferentes, llame a Dios por otro nombre o se case con alguien fuera de su cultura. Y todo por sobrevivencia, pues todo tiene su razon de ser, su causa y su efecto.

Tainos: una civilizacion interrumpida, modificada, alterada Si, extinguida NO!

Y aun asi, los libros dicen que Colon ‘descubrio’ America y que los Tainos ya no existen.

Pero como le digo a mi alma que a penas comienza a despertar
que ya su tiempo paso, que es muy tarde- que de lo que fue ya no queda nada- solo restos enterrados en el seno de Atabey.

Que no despierte, que no sea, que no exista para poder satisfacer los requisitos de la sociedad moderna.

Ser o no Ser Taino - no es una eleccion.

Por: Atabuxi (Jacqueline Rodriguez)



To Be or Not to Be Taino

How do you deny the blood that runs through your veins?

When I feel it traveling through the tissues of my body each and every instant?
How do I ignore the call of my Ancestors?
When their claims are screaming within my cells?

The same Ancestors that guide my search in my dreams.

But upon waking, I find myself in a strange place, where everything seems to have been inverted, distorted truths, customs and beliefs that go against my nature and they even tell me that I do not exist.

That my ancestors have been extinguished for centuries, and our story is only museum patrimony subject to dispute by archeologists and anthropologists.

Yes it is true, my people no longer walk around naked, our language is not taught in the schools, and we no longer sing our areitos in our communities as we once did.

Yes it is true that times have changed, but what is not true, is that a people cease to be as a result of being conquered and pillaged by another group of people. A people does not cease to be just because they speak a different language, wear different clothing, call God by a different name or marry someone of another culture. And all in the name of survival, as everything has its reason for being, its cause and effect.

Tainos: an interrupted civilization, altered, changed YES, extinguished most certainly NOT!

And yet, the history books still say that Columbus ‘discovered’ America and that Tainos no longer exist.

But how do I tell my dear Soul that is just beginning to waken
That its time is already past, that it’s too late- that what was once is no longer and all that remains are inanimate objects buried inside of Atabey’s bossom.

Not to awaken, not to Be, not to exist in order to satisfy the requirements of modern society?

To be or not to be Taino - is not a choice.

By: Atabuxi (Jacqueline Rodriguez)

Editorial: Taíno Culture in the 21st Century...

By Domingo Turey Hernandez ,
UCTP Taino News

I was remembering recently some of the cultural expressions that I grew up with. I of course assumed it was just a Puerto Rican thing. With time I found them to be more correctly a "Jibaro Thing" with roots in the ways of our ancient (Taíno) ancestors. So with the best of intentions I share them with the community in the hopes that it may spark other people's memories.

1. We would perform two baptisms for every child. the first would be at home without a priest. This one was the one considered most important because it would bring the child to heaven if it died. The baptism at the church would come later at the parent's ease and based on the economy, since it entailed a party afterwards. The ritual as we performed it in our home has been said to be similar to what many Northern Natives call " Making Relatives ceremony". That of course is because of our particular way of seeing "compadrazco" that is the relationship between the couples. In western culture the relationship stressed during baptism is between the Godparents and the child. They in fact become co-parents. In terms of the parents and the co-parents, they tend to view their relationship as one of friendship and mutual support.

However our Jibaro ancestors took this relationship one step further. The compadres would become relatives not just close friends. This relationship was considered to be even closer then between siblings. You could argue and fight with your siblings and as long as there was no violence no one would bat an eye. However it is taboo to fight or use curse words with your compadres as this is considered a grave offense to the Creator. So we were encouraged to be very careful of who we chose to be compadres for this reason. Any sexual interaction between the couples were also taboo even if one were widowed . It would be considered incest. The couple chosen to be your compadres could be married to each other or not. They could be single or even related to each other. The important thing was that there be deep love and deep respect for each other. It was this kind of love that was expressed with the Guaitiao Ceremony and I believe that this feeling has been retained to the present via the home baptisms.

2. Another custom was that if anyone publicly admired some article of jewelry or clothing you had on and they made a big production of how great it was, it was considered good manners to hand it to them with the words " A la vista y a la orden" At your sight and at your command. The person who gave away would be held in high esteem as someone who valued friendship and people more that things. The one who received the present would be seen by the community as being in debt to the other's generosity. This custom I have seen often among Northern tribal members.

3. Pregnant woman were very powerful. Anything they touched would grow. They were often asked to cut peoples hair as their hands would bless the hair by the mere touch, making the hair strong and healthy. There was a taboo regarding pregnant women and it had to do with their husbands or mates. If the bed was placed against the wall, the man was advised to sleep to the wall and the woman to sleep on the side of the bed that was free. This was to avoid any chance of the woman having to climb over the man in an effort to get on or off the bed. For to do so would be to pass on to the man all the symptoms of morning sickness, including the pains of labor when the woman went into child birth. My mother said she learned this from her mother, but she did not think it worked because she would climb over my father when pregnant in the hopes he would get morning sickness and he never did.

I later read accounts of how Taino men would need tending to after the woman gave birth according to the early reports.

4. We show respect to our Elders and people in authority by not giving direct eye contact especially if we are being corrected. Also we never correct them in public. I have asked many Native persons both from North and South America and they all know this one. When I asked my friends from Spain and from Nigeria they were surprised since to them not to look one directly in the eyes is to show disrespect.

5. We always called any cat we saw by rubbing our thumb and pointer finger together while saying " Misu or Mishu or Misuri" No one was able to tell me why. Guess what the word for Cat is in Carib? That's right. Misu.

So these are just a few of the customs I grew up with that go back to our ancient ancestors. I took it for granted that whenever we said words like Butaca, Guacara, Baira, Guame and so on we were speaking Spanish. The same with these customs. I have had to research to find out the origins, which often turns out to be from our own back yard and not from Europe or Africa as so many people declare.

UCTPTN 06.27.2006

UN draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Taino’ti Guaitiao (Greetings Relatives):

Today, during its session in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Human Rights Council discussed the report of the Working Group on a draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with a view toward its adoption or continued negotiations.

From reports received by the UCTP, Indigenous Peoples attending the session are overwhelmingly in favor of the Declaration and urging its adoption by the Council. Interestingly, Indigenous Peoples and Governments at the session both recognized although the text is a “compromise”, it is a positive move forward for the international recognition and respect of the rights of Indigenous Peoples. A majority of Governments seem to now be moving toward supporting the Declaration. Indigenous Peoples are also supporting the draft Declaration via regional caucuses, and statements which have been presented to the Council include the Pacific, North America, Latin America, and Asia.

Considering these factors, the UCTP (including its members Caney Quinto Mundo, Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos, Fundacion Luz Cosmica Taina and affiliates Joboshirima Arawak Community, and the Eagle Clan Arawaks) has decided to support the regional efforts, and urges the Human Rights Council to adopt the UN draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The UCTP now awaits the decision of other indigenous representatives from the Caribbean region, so that a Caribbean regional statement of support can be issued.

Of special note to the Caribbean region are the statements that were made by BRAZIL speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), and Guatemala who supported GRULAC while acknowledging the rights of Maya, GARIFUNA, and Xinca Peoples in Guatemala. The statements are included here for review.

Oma’bahari (With respect),
Roberto Mukaro Borrero,
President and Chairman,
UCTP Office of International Relations and
Regional Coorindation

----------------------------

Statements presented by BRAZIL and GUATEMALA at the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 27, 2006

CLODOALDO HUGUENEY (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), said it was time to send a positive signal and bring to an end a situation that had been lasting for two decades already. There was a need for recognition of the historical legacy that indigenous peoples were suffering from, and a set of measures should be set up for their survival, existence and development, with solutions found for their situation. The proposed declaration recognized their particularly vulnerable situation, and it was recognised that they had been victims of discrimination for centuries, and were free and equal in dignity and rights and should not suffer from any form of discrimination due to their identity. Poverty, marginalisation, social exclusion and economic inequalities were linked to racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination and other forms of discrimination, which in turn generated more poverty.

Governments had committed themselves at the World Conference against Racism to combat all forms of racial discrimination. In strengthening the common work against racism, this safeguarded the dignity of human beings, and the just aspirations of all. This was a struggle which strengthened the foundations of peaceful coexistence. This was the reason for the active work and the many proposals that had led the GRULAC countries to ensure that the declaration would be useful for all peoples.


CARLOS ARROYAVE PRERA (Guatemala) said that Guatemala supported the statement made by Brazil on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. On 1 March 1995, as an outcome of the peace process and negotiations among indigenous representatives and the parties to the conflict, the agreement on the identity and rights of indigenous peoples had been signed. That document attempted to overcome the racism and exclusion that these people had suffered from. It also recognized the inherent rights of the Maya, Garifuna and Xinca peoples.

Guatemala wanted to stress the work it had intensively undertaken to develop a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Such a declaration found an echo in many of the actions that had already been undertaken by the Guatemalan Government at the national level. From 1995 to today, the Government had taken many actions to eliminate discrimination against indigenous peoples and to allow them to fully participate in civic life and to enjoy their rights. The United Nations had invested 21 years in formulating a draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The text submitted by the Working Group represented an agreed text, and it was Guatemala's belief that the Human Rights Council should not prolong the consideration of the text any longer.

6/23/2006

Guyana News: Several land issues in Rupununi resolved...

GUYANA - A number of land issues including approval of titles and extensions for some communities in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) have been resolved following a visit by Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues last week.

She told residents of FairView, a village in the vicinity of the Iwokrama rainforest that Cabinet had approved the titling of their community, an area of 85 square miles.

It was announced at a meeting with the Annai Village Council that Cabinet had approved an extension of 61 square miles for the community, bringing it to 249 square miles, a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release said.

Annai comprises five areas: Central Annai, Surama, Wowetta, Kwatamang, and Rupertee.

It was decided following a meeting between Rodrigues and the Aranaputa community that the area would be a leasehold one. The area has been the subject of dispute with claims that it should not be exclusively under the control of Amerindians and leases were put on hold by government in 2004.

However, Rodrigues told residents that they would be given priority when the granting of leases resumes. In response to enquiries, Rodrigues said because Amerindians have traditional rights they can still farm on state lands even if they posses leases, the release said.

Meanwhile, at Yakarinta residents asked for help with their water supply system and for persons affected in recent flooding there. Residents at Massara noted too that about 52 households had been affected by flooding.

Rodrigues handed over items to some of the women's groups in the villages and a wheelchair to a Yakarinta resident. She told residents of Massara that a boat and engine would be delivered to them soon. She also updated them on government's school feeding programme and the malaria control programme which would soon target their area.

Source: © Stabroek News

6/22/2006

UCTP Stands in Solidarity with the Kalinago, Carib, and Garifuna Nations

Taino'ti Guaitiao (Greetings relatives):

On behalf of the Taíno People and Nation represented by the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP), we are urging all our relations around the world to stand in solidarity with a peaceful protest against Walt Disney Pictures and their upcoming release of "The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" for its erroneous depiction of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples as savage cannibals.

From the time Christopher Columbus arrived on our shores, it is well known that these "cannibal" images were used as propaganda to enslave and murder Natives Peoples throughout the hemisphere, and beyond.

Therefore, We, the Taino People have united our voices with our Kalinago, Carib, and Garinagu relatives to bring attention to this injustice, racist portrayal of Indigenous Peoples.

With our future generations in our minds and hearts, we urge all our relations to BOYCOTT THIS FILM AND ALL DISNEY PRODUCTS until this company recognizes the injustice and the multi-generational trauma this type of imagery has and continues to inflict upon on our communities, especially our youth.

All people of good conscience should be appalled at these denigrating, stereotypical portrayals attempting to be disguised by DISNEY as humor and entertainment.

In advance, we say Bo'matum (thank you) for your support.

In the Spirit of our Ancestors,
Roberto Múcaro Borrero,
President and Chairman,
UCTP Regional Coordinating Office
http://www.uctp.org

Naniki Reyes Ocasio
Founder, Caney Quinto Mundo,
Boriken (Puerto Rico)

Elba Anaca Lugo,
President, Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos,
Boriken (Puerto Rico)

Don Cesar Serraty,
Fundacion Luz Cosmica Taino,
Quiskeya (Dominican Republic)

Chief Reginaldo Fredericks,
Joboshirima Lokono Arawak Community
Estado Bolivar, Venezuela

*Please review the UCTP Resolution 04/17/05:
"Reaffirming Our Solidarity with Our Carib Relatives" at
http://uctp.blogspot.com/2005_04_01_uctp_archive.html

----------------------------------------------------

Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United
Press Release

Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United organizes a protest against the World Premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest.

Long Beach, California – Tuesday, June 20 2006: GAHFU's President and Founder Ms. Cheryl Noralez announced that on Saturday, June 24 2006 between the hours of 2:00 to 4:00 pm, her organization along with a group of concerned Garifuna leaders in the Los Angeles area will be protesting the premiere of Disney Pictures' Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man's Chest at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

GAHFU, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Long Beach, California. Our purpose is to preserve the uniqueness of the Garifuna culture, history, language, music, arts & crafts and values by working closely with the Garifuna community not only in Los Angeles County, but throughout the world. We seek to enhance and showcase the image and vision of the Garifuna people through education, music and the arts.

"It has been brought to our attention that the Walt Disney Company intends to film a movie called "The Pirates of the Caribbean" in which the Caribs or Calinago, the ancestors of the Garinagu (as we refer to ourselves in our language) are portrayed as cannibals."

These are words from Michael Polonio, President, of the National Garifuna Council of Belize.

We believe that not only the Garifuna people have been wrongfully portrayed in the movie as cannibals but also other indigenous people of the Caribbean who are closely related to us as in the case of the Taino people; therefore, we have invited the Taino community in Los Angeles to participate and they have promptly accepted the invitation to stand united with the Garinagu.

We are inviting all of the indigenous people of the Caribbean to join us in this protest. The meeting place to protest will be at Harbor Blvd.'s front entrance of Disneyland in Anaheim, California starting at 1:30 pm. We strongly urge participants not to bring sticks, drums, shakers or anything that could be used as a weapon to the event. Also, teenagers are encouraged to come with their parents to join us for this peaceful protest.

"Eibugaba lidan ligemeri Inaruni - Walk in the light of truth "- James Lovell

Cheryl L. Noralez, President & Founder
GARIFUNA AMERICAN HERITAGE FOUNDATION UNITED
cnoralez@garifunaheritagefoundation.org

___________________________________________

To: The Garifuna Nation

This is the time and place for the Garifuna Nation to stand together for a peaceful protest against Walt Disney Pictures. The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest portrays our Ancestors as savage cannibals. Our united voices must be heard to restore the honor, dignity and pride of our people. We have only one week to organize a protest. Please contact me via e-mail or call (562)366-9396 if you are serious about joining this protest. This is a very important cause. I truly hope that we can get at least a handful of courageous and proud Garinagu to participate in this protest, especially our Garifuna leaders.

http://cacreview.blogspot.com/2006/06/boycott-disney-pirates-of-caribbean.html

http://www.seinebight.com/Disney-Garinagu.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2005/02/050215_dominicacaribs.shtml

View trailer of Pirates' of Caribbean Dead Man's Chest:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btVFBSkOo68&search=pirates%20of%20the%
20caribbean%20dead%20man%27s%20chest

----------------------------------------

PROTEST

What: World Premiere of Walt Disney Pictures', Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

When: Saturday, June 24, 2006

Where: Disneyland - 1313 South Harbor Blvd. Anaheim, CA 28027
(in front of Disneyland main entrance on Harbor Blvd.)

Time: 2:00-5:00 PM

GARIFUNA AMERICAN HERITAGE FOUNDATION UNITED

Cheryl Noralez, CEO and Founder
cnoralez@garifunaheritagefoundation.org

Guyana News: $3.5M Pledged for Amerindian Heritage Activities

"Government has donated $2.5M to the Annai Heritage Committee to assist with preparations for this year's Amerindian heritage celebrations."

A Government Information Agency (GINA) press release said the central Annai community has been chosen as the Amerindian heritage and host village for the celebration planned for September. Each year a different Amerindian village is chosen to host heritage day celebrations while several commemorative activities take place in Georgetown throughout the month. Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues, who handed over the cheque to village Chairman and Toshao Mark George, said government would be providing an additional $1M to the community for the event as it is expecting a large number of persons to attend. Last year heritage day celebrations in Moraikobai, Region 5 (Mahaica-Berbice) lasted for several days and saw a large turnout of visitors from across the country as well as tourists and overseas-based Guyanese.

Source: © Stabroek News

6/20/2006

Summer Solstice and World Peace and Prayer Day 2006

Taino'ti Guaitiao (Greetings Relatives):

On behalf the Taino People and Nation represented by the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), it is our hope that this message finds you in good health and Spirit. We are writing to acknowledge the Summer Solstice of 2006. For people around the world, especially many Indigenous Peoples, the Equinoxes and the Solstices are import times for prayer, reflection, and unity.

At Sunrise and throughout the day on June 21st, the Solstice for 2006, people will pray and meditate on World Peace, and healing for humanity and Mother Earth. Various events marking this special time will take place internationally, and in solidarity with Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota Nation, we urge all to embrace the theme of World Peace and Prayer Day - “All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer".

Oma'bahari (With respect),
Roberto Múkaro Borrero,
President and Chairman,
UCTP Office of Internatioal Relations and
Regional Coordination
http://www.uctp.org/
http://www.uctp.org/lavoz.htm
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Taino_News/
http://www.uctp.blogspot.com/

*For information on World Peace and Prayer Day (WPPD),
contact:
wppd@wolakota.org or visit http://www.wolakota.org

*Solstice Gathering in New York City
Brook Park
The South, South Bronx, 141st Street and Brook Avenue
Wednesday Junes 21st 2006

3PM: CSA Volunteer, Chop Wood, Pull weeds, Beautify, Make a Summer wreath

6PM: Open Drum circle
With world renowned Angel Rodriguez! And Shanti Devi!
& More

Brings drums, etc
Bring fruit food water juice
This is, as usual, a non alcohol c e l e b r a t i o n!

All are welcome!
http://www.friendsofbrookpark.org

*For Solstice Gatherings in Borikén (Puerto Rico) contact:
Naniki Reyes Ocasio, Caney Quinto Mundo
email: caney@prtc.net
tel: (787) 847-5039
webpage:

World Peace and Prayer Day 2006

Taíno’ti Guaitiao (Greetings relatives):

This is to inform all our relations that members of the Borikén Taíno Nation will be observing the Summer Solstice and praying in solidarity for World Peace and Prayer Day 2006 in various location in Borikén (Puerto Rico).

Traditional Ceremonies will take place in the sacred Caguana Ceremonial Center (Utuado), the Tibes Ceremonial Center (Ponce), and "la Piedra Escrita" (Jayuya). These will be traditional First Nations ceremonies conducted by indigenous Taíno Indian community leaders who reside on the island.

For more information contact:
Naniki Reyes Ocasio, Caney Quinto Mundo
email: caney@prtc.net
tel: (787) 847-5039
webpage: http://www.uctp.org/bprr.htm#caney

6/18/2006

One Year Anniversary of Caguana Protest Takeover in Puerto Rico

Saludos UCTP:

Te escribo para que le dejes saber el nacion taino, que el 25 de Julio del 2006, celebramos el “Dia del Grito Indigena Taino de Caguana en el Pueblo de Utuado Otoao”, Puerto Rico.

Reconocimiento que nos otrgo el alcalde de Utuado el pasado ano despues de iniciar nuestra protesta pacifica en el Centro Ceremonial de Caguana, reclamando nuestros derechos como nacion indigena taino en la cual participamos lideres tainos de Puerto Rico.

Estan todos invitados.

Desde la isla del encanto BORIKEN un abrazo,
XUERIX GUAYNIA CAMACHO,
Tribu TAINOS ROCA DE AMOR DEL TUREY,
Miembro del Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos


Greetings UCTP:

I am writing so that you can notify the Taíno Nation that on July 25th we will celebrate the “Dia del Grito Indigena Taino de Caguana en el Pueblo de Utuado Otoao” (Day Recognizing the Indigenous Taíno Cry of Caguana)

This was Recognition was proclaimed by the Mayor of Utuado, Puerto Rico when we as Taíno leaders in Puerto Rico participated in our peaceful protest concerning our rights as an indigenous Taíno Nation in the Ceremonial Center of Caguana.

All are invited to participate.

An embrace from Borikén, the island of Enchantment,
Xuerix Guaynia Camacho,
Roca de Amor del Turey Taino Tribe,
Member of the General Council of Borikén Taíno

XUERIX GUAYNIA CAMACHO, Tribu TAINOS ROCA DE AMOR DEL TUREY

Community Member Celebrates Leadership Academy NJROTC Graduation

Miami, Florida (UCTP Taino News) - On June 17, 2006, "Little" Enid Conley received her first eagle feather at her Leadership Academy NJROTC graduation! Her Aunt and Uncle, Marie and Duane Whitehorse, presented Enid the eagle feather. Her Uncle, Duane Whitehorse, served two tours in Vietnam in the U.S. Marine Corps - he is the family hero! "Little" Enid is the daughter of Prof. Enid "Tati" Conley, one of two UCTP's in the State of Florida.


Aunt Merie and Uncle Duane Whitehorse presenting Little Enid
with her first Eagle Feather in Florida

6/16/2006

Jade Axes Proof of Vast Ancient Caribbean Network, Experts Say


Jadeite Axe Blade found in Antigua. Photo courtesy of American Museum of Natural History

A discovery of ancient jade could shake up old notions of the New World before Columbus. Scientists say they have traced 1,500-year-old axe blades found in the eastern Caribbean to ancient jade mines in Central America 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) away, New York's American Museum of Natural History announced late last month.

The blades were excavated in the late 1990s by a Canadian archaeologist on the island of Antigua in the West Indies.

But the jade used to make the blades almost certainly came from Maya mines in distant Guatemala, says mineralogist George Harlow of the American Museum of Natural History.

*Source: http://archaeoblog.blogspot.com

6/14/2006

Indigenous March in Support of Chavez in Venezuela


Indigneous groups marched in Caracas, Venezuela,
in support of President Chavez.
Credit: Maxim Graubner


By: Michael Fox

Caracas, Venezuela, June 10, 2006 — Hundreds of representatives from various indigenous Venezuelan ethnicities marched in Caracas on Wednesday in the “First National March of the Indigenous People.”

The march was organized by the National Indigenous Council of Venezuela (CONIVE) and was held in support of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, against US military operations in Caribbean waters, in support of Venezuela’s withdrawal from the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), and for the unity of their communities in Venezuela. According to CONIVE, the march was the first of many indigenous mobilizations which will be “heating up the streets” over the next 6 months.

CONIVE was born in 1989 and is composed of 60 organizations and representatives from 32 indigenous ethnic groups including the Warao, Yucpa, Wayuu, Timotes, Panare, Yanomami and Yecuana, among others.

“Here we are raising our hands for the first time to say, enough… The indigenous peoples in Venezuela are united, we are united because it’s the only way to advance, it’s the only road to speak loudly and I believe that that’s what we are doing right now,” declared CONIVE President and National Assembly representative, Nicia Maldonado at the beginning of the march. “We wanted to express this to the President of the Republic, that the indigenous people are going to give the first shout and [the presidential election] on December 3rd, isn’t just any old thing, it is about saving ourselves, about dignity for the indigenous people.”The march was also joined by indigenous from Peru and Ecuador.

“The withdrawal from CAN makes us very happy, because, first off, it helps us to protect our traditional knowledge. That space was there to sell off the traditional knowledge and the natural resources, without even consulting the organizations… we also say that we support Chavez’ politics in terms of the G-3. We are happy that you have gone, you have to analyze all of the spaces of power, because for us they are tentacles of imperialism,” said Maldonado.

“We are also saying to the government of Mr. Bush, take all your military that you have in the Caribbean and get out, because here, we want peace, we want to live, because we are in search of our greatness, our spirituality and the flourishing of our liberty.” She said, “we don’t want war, we want peace, because the liberation is here in Venezuela. You can’t call President Chavez an imperialist, because you are the imperialists and when you speak about President Chavez, you are speaking about the indigenous people.”

As the march wound it’s way towards the Presidential Palace of Miraflores, it paused at the Attorney General’s office, the National Assembly and the Vice-President’s office, to deliver three respective documents declaring the unity of Venezuela’s indigenous, offering their support to President Chavez, condemning the recent elimination by the supreme court (TSJ) of a constitutional article against the violence against women and calling for increased consultation with all of Venezuela’s indigenous.

“We are calling for the construction and the institution of the Organic Law of Political Participation of the Indigenous People which says that they must consult the indigenous people… and ask that they consult all of the people, not just a small part,” said Maldonado.

Maldonado further expressed that she believes Venezuela’s indigenous can offer 300,000 votes towards Chavez’ goal of 10 million in this December’s presidential elections.

“What we wanted to express in the documents is that here are the indigenous peoples, and they can count on our support,” she said.

According to Representative Maldonado, who represents approximately 30,000 indigenous peoples from 25 communities in the southern Venezuelan states of Apure and Amazonia, there are approximately 800,000 indigenous in Venezuela.

Chapter 8 of the 2001 Venezuelan Constitution explicitly protects the rights of Venezuela’s indigenous peoples:

“The state recognizes the existence of the indigenous people and communities, their social, political and economic organization, their cultures, uses and customs, languages and religions, as well as their habitat, original rights to the land that their ancestors traditionally occupied and that is necessary for their development and in order to guarantee their way of life.” Reads Article 119.

But even with protection under the Constitution, many indigenous participants in the march expressed grave problems. “We are losing our culture. Without culture, we can’t live, so we are trying to revive our indigenous culture, so that it is re-born again,” said Valerio Hernandez, one of 300 indigenous fishermen, farmers and artisans from the Macuro Delta who traveled to Caracas for the march. “Economics, transportation and health are also difficult, because the doctors don’t arrive to where we are. And we don’t have the means of communication or transportation. We don’t have anything and that’s how we have been, well, stepped on. But now we want to shed light on this…”

While overwhelmingly supporting President Chavez, CONIVE also lent their support to the indigenous people struggling against the exploration of coal on their “sacred” lands in the state of Zulia, which has become a controversial issue in Venezuela over the last few years.

“For the Yucpa people, that land is sacred,” said Maldonado “and the President has said, that if you can’t save the land, the coal will stay under ground… I think that’s important. We are defending and accompanying our Yucpa brothers… the companies can’t just come and kick them off… our president has said that it’s a question of dialoging between the people and the government, the coal companies and the international organizations…

We are convinced that through the dialogue with the private companies we will come to a solution, but they need to respect us, and they can’t disrespect our sacred sites.”

As the sun set on Wednesday evening most of the participants in the march were filing back onto their buses and preparing to head home, but Maldonado expressed that this is just the beginning and that they are planning numerous demonstrations for June, July and beyond.

“Right now we are going to incorporate in to the events. On June 22, we are going to unite the masses with mobilizations in all of the states.” Said Maldonado. “After August, everything will be headed towards 10 million [votes].”

Interestingly, just beyond the Vice-President’s Office, the road over Llaguno Bridge (the infamous site of the April 11, 2002 events) towards the presidential palace, Miraflores, was blocked by an armored vehicle and several anti-riot police dressed in storm-trooper gear.

An official with another group of armored police blocking a side street stated that it was not the indigenous march but the students that they were prepared for. The official said that the students had “promised violence” and vowed to go to Miraflores.

The Venezuelan daily, Ultimas Noticias, reported on Thursday, that students from the Central Venezuelan University were on the streets last Wednesday, protesting against “the persecution” of University of the Andes student Nixon Moreno, who has been accused of instigating the recent violence in Merida, and for which a Venezuelan court has issued an arrest warrant. No conflicts between the military guards and the students were reported.

6/13/2006

New Caribbean Indigenous Cook Book Project

Taino'ti Guaitiao (Greetings Relatives):

It is our hope that this message finds you and all your loved ones in good health and Spirit. We are writing to share a few Taino – Arawak style recipes in the hope that community members will share some of their traditional family favorites with us.

We are in the beginning stages of a new project that will result in a book, which will feature the continuation of our indigenous Caribbean culinary heritage. This publication will focus on traditional and traditionally inspired indigenous dishes from throughout the islands into the mainland.

All proceeds will benefit the on-going work of the UCTP. If you can share a recipe that we can reprint, we will credit you and your family in the book. Bo'matum (thank you).

Oma'bahari (With respect),
Roberto Múkaro Borrero,
President and Chairman,
UCTP Office of International Relations and
Regional Coordination
http://www.uctp.blogspot.com/

----------------------------------------------------------------

A Few Taino Style Recipes compiled by the UCTP...

SANCOCHO aka Ahiaco
(Assorted Root-Vegetable Soup)

Ingredients:
2 pounds beef, cut as for stew
1 pound pork, cut as for stew
1/2 pound smoked ham diced
1/2 cup basic Sofrito ( chopped tomatoes, onions, green and red
peppers, peeled garlic cloves, cilantro or chinese parsley, chopped
or processed)
1/4 cup tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes
1 pound each calabaza (Pumpkin), yautía (taro root), malanga, batata
(sweet potato) and cassava (yuca), peeled and diced in cubes
1 green plantain and 4 green bananas, peeled and cut in 2 inch rounds
3 corn ears, cut into 2 inch rounds
2 chicken cubes
1 beef cube
Salt and pepper to taste
Bijol, a teaspoon, for color Bija is derived from the achiote plant.

Preparation: In a large soup pot, combine 6 quarts of chicken or beef
stock, or water with the beef, pork and ham, the Sofrito and the
Tomato Sauce, and you can add 1/2 a beer. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until
the meat is tender. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to
another boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or
until the vegetables and tubers are cooked and the soup is thick.

*Sancocho can be prepared with chicken, but the procedure is shorter
as you can boil the chicken with the vegetables and tubers all at
once.

-------------------------------------

Yuca (cassava)

Ingredients:
4-6 cassavas, peeled and halved
1 tsp. salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 C olive oil

Preparation: Boil yuca in salted water until tender (about 25
minutes). Drain yuca. Add garlic and lemon juice. Heat olive oil in a
pan until bubbling, then pour over yuca. Mix well and serve.

-------------------------------

Bija - Achiote Paste

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons crushed annatto seeds
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chili powder
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon oregano
3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium-sized white onion
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups orange Juice
1/4 cup lemon Juice 1 teaspoon oil Instructions:

Preparation: Cut the onion into slices. Crush the garlic in a mortar
and pestle, and then place the garlic and onion in a frying pan with
the oil. Lightly fry them until they are softened. Use a blender to
finely mix all of the ingredients. Stores in the refrigerator for up
to a week.

Carib Council Unite...

13-Jun-06 After a meeting of the Carib Council and Local Govt. Dept staff, all parties said they would put the past behind them and move forward. The Council & Chief had a series of disagreements. Source: DBS Radio

More to follow...

Region One Amerindians Requesting More titles, Demarcation..

SEBAI WELCOME: a student of the Sebai Primary School greets Amerindian Affairs Minister, Ms. Carolyn Rodrigues during her recent visit. (Photo, courtesy GINA)

REGION ONE, GUYANA - Several villages in the Matarkai sub-region of Region One (Barima/Waini) have requested titles to and demarcation of the land they occupy, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Ms Carolyn Rodrigues reported.

She told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that, during her June 7 to 10 visit to that region, Four Miles, a community without a Village Council, the recently re-elected Chairperson of the Community Development Council (CDC) and other villagers said they want to have a local authority as provided for in the new Amerindian Act.

Rodrigues said the population feels a body in charge at Four Miles affairs and titling would give the community more power and allow for increased benefits. She said she was also informed that having the titles is necessary as outsiders have been going there and making use of agricultural land which the community fervently believes belongs to residents.

Rodrigues said, at Eclipse Falls, a similar request was made for a stipulated 40 square miles believed to be the extent of community ownership.

The minister said she is happy that people in the communities have read the legislation and are now aware of the benefits they can gain through its provisions.

She explained the steps that must be taken to apply for titles, pointing out that a community has to have been in existence for at least 25 years to be eligible and the villages responded in the affirmative that they have the criteria.

Rodrigues advised the villagers to make their applications quickly so that the government can hasten the process. She cautioned that, with general elections months away and no guarantee of her retaining the portfolio, she is willing to at least start the procedure for them.

Meanwhile, GINA said, at Sebai, which is already titled, an appeal was made for extension of a plot and the minister said it would be considered by the government.

GINA said, recently, Rodrigues pointed out that, in the past 18 months, 11 new communities were titled. They are Konashen and Fairview in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo); Baramita and Arukamai in Region One (Barima/Waini); Micobie and Campbelltown in Region Eight (Potaru/Siparuni); Kaburi in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) and Wiruni, Malali, Muritaro and Great Falls in Region Ten (Upper Demerara/Berbice).

Those took the total number of titled villages to 85, following the previous titling of about 74 which were not surveyed or demarcated in 1976 and, therefore, had no knowledge of how much land they actually owned and the boundaries.

GINA said the 74 were less than the more than 100 that are actually in existence.

Five already titled communities were recently extended, as well and those are Tapakuma and Kabakaburi in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam), Orealla in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne); Kamwatta in Region One and Annai in Region Nine.

Rodrigues said the government has achieved much in moving Amerindian land issues forward and, with the early March assent to the Act by President Bharrat Jagdeo after its passage in Parliament on February 16, copies of the document were distributed to all communities for perusal.

The minister is scheduled to visit Region Nine from tomorrow to June 17 to address land issues, too, GINA stated.

News Source: The Guyana Chronicle - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

6/12/2006

Guyana Still Behind Minimum Standards for Elimination of Trafficking in Persons

GUYANA, SOUTH AMERICA - Guyana is listed as a country of origin, transit and destination for young women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labour exploitation, according to the US Department of State's 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report released this month.

The annual report is said to be the primary diplomatic tool through which the US Government encourages partnership and increased determination in the fight against forced labour, sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery.

And it said that the Government of Guyana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking "however, it is making significant efforts to do so." The report said the Government of Guyana was one of the first in the hemisphere to publish a review and self-assessment of its anti-trafficking efforts. Guyana is still listed as a tier two country.

The report said most reported cases involved internal trafficking of adolescent girls. "Much of this trafficking takes place in remote areas of the interior, or Amerindian girls from the interior trafficked to the coastal areas to engage in prostitution or involuntary domestic servitude," the report said.

It said girls promised employment as domestics, waitresses and bar attendants are trafficked into prostitution and that young Amerindian men are exploited under forced labour conditions in timber camps. "In some instances victims are forcibly abducted," the report said.

It added that Guyanese girls are trafficked to neighbouring countries such as Suriname and Barbados.

The report also pointed out that the Government of Guyana has increased financial support to NGOs that provide victim assistance, expanded the reach of prevention activities and began applying new laws to investigate and arrest suspected traffickers. "The government should expand training efforts to include more rural officials, aggressively prosecute traffickers, and continue working with NGOs to assist victims," the report said.

In terms of prosecution, the report said law enforcement efforts to identify cases improved, but that no traffickers were convicted in 2005. "The country's slow judicial process contributed to the lack of progress in convicting traffickers," the report stated. It said also that Guyana's law enforcement authorities applied Guyana's newly enacted Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act and arrested at least ten persons under the act. The Act requires sentencing ranging from three years to life imprisonment and the confiscation of trafficking-related assets. According to the report, 15 investigations of cases initiated in 2005 and in previous years remained pending in pre-trial status.

"Rural court and law enforcement officers lacked adequate training to identify and deal effectively with trafficking. Technical training and sensitization efforts should be expanded to reach officials in rural areas where trafficking most occurs. Law enforcement officials worked with source and destination countries such as Brazil, Suriname and Barbados to share information on potential trafficking and assist victims. There was no evidence that the government was complicit in trafficking," the report stated.

The US Department of State called the efforts of the Government of Guyana "modest" in terms of victim assistance. "It funded $30,000 of repairs for an NGO-run shelter to supplement the government's limited shelter capabilities and included NGO funding in its 2006 budget," the report said. It added that there were no reports of victims jailed or mistreated by officials and that law enforcement officers referred victims to social workers and a local NGO for assistance. The government also provided medical attention, housing and funds to return victims to their homes, the US State Department said.

Speaking on Guyana's efforts to prevent trafficking in persons, the report said that the government expanded on prior prevention initiatives. "It [government] trained social workers, launched a new awareness campaign through the print and electronic media and met with key religious leaders, business, mining and local government stakeholders," the report said. It added that ten trafficking detection training sessions reached 361 community facilitators around the country and stated that in January the Government of Guyana unveiled a review of its counter-trafficking activities for 2004 and 2005, which recognised that better policing of and outreach to rural communities are still needed.

According to information on the US State Department website, US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice submits the annual "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Report" to Congress. This report covers "severe forms of trafficking in persons" defined as: "(a) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (b) the recruitment, harbouring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labour or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."


*News Source: Stabroek News - Tuesday, June 6th 2006

6/09/2006

New Film on Indigenous Peoples and the UN


UCTP Taino News - The awareness raising film, "Indigenous Peoples and the UN" is now available online in English, Spanish and French.

The 32 minute film discusses some of the central issues related to indigenous peoples and their engagement with the United Nations.

Among the many featured interviews from indigenous leaders, and United Nations representatives, is commentary from Roberto Mukaro Borrero (Taino), President and Chairman of the UCTP, and Chairman of the UN NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples.

Real Player version or Quick Time Version of the film by Rebecca Sommer for the Permanent Forum is available at
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/multimedia.html

6/08/2006

Taino Elder Participates in Four Day Ceremony in Baja, Mexico

Baja California, Mexico (UCTP Taino News) - UCTP representative and Taíno elder, John Hu’acan Vidal participated recently in a four day indigenous ceremonial in the high desert of Baja California with representatives of Indigenous Nations from all over Baja California (Mexico), Utah, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and other areas.

The ceremonial, called a “danza” by the locals, was held to honor the Earth and the Ancestors. Some of the Indigenous Nations represented included Yaqui, Maya, Apache, Pai Pai, Kumiai, Mexica, Taíno and many others.

Elder Hu’acan, a Boriken Taino, was received with the utmost respect and given the honor of being named “grandfather” of the ceremonies. Many people were directed to him for counsel and teachings.

Hu’acan was especially impressed by the “Temezcal” purification ceremonies conducted by the local leaders. Hu’acan noted an interesting difference from North Native “sweat lodge” ceremonies as they called the sacred stones "grandmothers" and at each direction, an elder is assigned to caretake that direction's door. These same elders, one at each “direction”, also conduct a portion of the purification ceremony.

The ceremony began each day at approximately 4 a.m. with the sounding of the guamo (sea shell trumpets), which the local people simply call 'caracol'. After the sounding of the guamo, a morning purification would take place and be followed by an Earth Dance. Each day consisted of four temezcal and four dances (danzas).

At the conclusion of the ceremonial, it was decided by the leaders present that discussions should begin on the possibility of the organization of a larger ceremonial, which would bring other spiritual leaders from throughout the Americas to the Baja area in 2008.

Aracoel (Elder) Hu’acan was asked to be a part of these discussions and will keep the Taíno community aware of new developments as they occur.


Participants in the four-day Ceremony for the Earth in Baja California, Mexico

*To contact Hu’acan in California email pvidal_ny@yahoo.com

Public Notice: UCTP Web Portal Update


In the continuing effort of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) to provide quality educational and community services to Taino & Greater Caribbean Indigenous communities, the award winning and internationally recognized UCTP Web Portal found at http://www.uctp.org/ is in the process of being re-organized.

Recent updates include the UCTP Caribbean Indigenous Educational Resources and UCTP Document Archives page found at
http://www.uctp.org/archives.htmland the UCTP International Advocacy page found at http://www.uctp.org/archives.html#3 .

The UCTP Advocacy page includes the recent statements made at the United Nations on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean. A full report of the UCTP’s participation will be available at this page shortly. Bo’matum to our webmaster, Mr. Glenn Welker for his work and dedication to this project.

6/05/2006

Introducing Mainaku Borrero

Joselyn Grant-Borrero with our new arrival, Mainaku, on her first day.

Taino'ti Guaitiao (Greetings relatives), we are very proud to announce to all our relations that Mainaku Grant-Borrero was born on June 5th at 10:00am to Joselyn Grant-Borrero of the Tlingit Nation (Teslin, Canada) and Roberto Mukaro Borrero of the Taino Nation (Boriken)...

Mainaku is a beautiful, healthy baby girl weighing 8lbs 15oz at birth... She was born at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City...

Joselyn and Mainaku are both doing well and will arrive home on Wednesday.

On behalf of our family, we say bo'matum (thank you) all of our relatives and friends from around the world who have sent good wishes and prayers for us and especially Mainaku during this very magical time...

Peace and blessings to all from our house to yours... Han Han Katu!

Big brother Nakota, and proud papa Roberto Mukaro, with Mainaku.