More Evidence of Indigenous Ancestry in Puerto Rico...

Summary: Discovery of the Boricua Eve

"Six out of 10 Puertoricans have American Indian ancestors according to a recent study."

The simple vision of the tri-racial formula defining Puerto Ricans as a mixture of African, Spaniard and Taino could change due to a major scientific discovery involving 19 maternal indigenous lineages that could be defined as the Eve's of modern day Boriken (Puerto Rico).

This discovery is a new twist taken from a scientific investigation in 2003, in that it suggest that six out of 10 Puertoricans have a women ancestor of direct American Indian or of indigenous to American origina and that "indigenous women" have had a greater influence on Puerto Rican culture than previously admitted by academics.

According to investigative research done by genetic scientist specialising in molecular evolution, Juan Carlos Martinez cruzado and archeologist and anthropologist Juan Jose Ortiz Aguilu, the indigenous lineage is most common to the Puertorican of today than that of those with African lineage or Spaniard (European) descendance.

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Discovery of the Boricua “Eve”
by Carmen Millán Pabón

(English translation by Hiali Nahual-Quiñonez)

"6 out of 10 Puerto Ricans have an Amerindian ancestor, according to a study."

The overly simplified vision that defines a Puerto Rican as "a mixture of African, Spanish and Taíno" is being challenged again after the scientific discovery of 19 strains of Native American maternal lineages which could be described as the mitochondrial "Eves" of all Boricuas (Puerto Ricans) alive today.

This discovery adds a new twist to the DNA findings done in 2003, a scientific study which revealed that 6 of out of 10 Puerto Ricans have a direct female ancestor of Native American origin.

According to the investigative work done by Juan Carlos Martínez-Cruzado, a geneticist who specializes in molecular biology, and by archaeologist/anthropologist, Juan Jose Ortiz-Aguilú, Native American lineage appears to have more in common with Puerto Ricans today, than the African or European ones do.

The scientists revealed to “El Nuevo Dia (Sunday)” that new evidence is still being uncovered. Study and analysis of mitocondrial DNA, initially extracted from four examined bones and removed from their archaeological context by the Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE) in the municipality of Arecibo, have revealed 19 Native American women from whom these lineages stem from. These genetic inquiries have revealed, thus far, that the most common indigenous maternal lineage has a marker that identifies it as a native of South America, specifically, from the Amazon zone.

Additional details regarding new perspectives in Caribbean history will be documented in a special publication at the end of this year.

"It’s interesting what molecular biology does for us. The proportion of 6 out of 10 was totally unexpected, given the historical evidence that we have about the formation of the Puerto Rican people so far", commented Ortiz-Aguilú. He emphasized that school children are, from the earliest grades, instilled with the unquestionable fact that the Indigenous population simply “disappeared" during the Spanish conquest. "That the Spanish Conquistadores co-habited with African and Native American women and then married European ones, is common knowledge. But, apparently the role of procreation (with regards to Puerto Rico) is better attributed to the Native American women who bore the children of Spanish and African men", the investigator points out.

According to the anthropologist, what stands out about that historical period in particular: the genocidal slaughter of the natives and the destruction of their establishments.

"But, now that we know that 6 out of 10 Puerto Ricans have Amerindian mitochondrial DNA, we can see that during the historical formation of 16th Century Puerto Rico Native American women played a more important role than previously thought, with their very survival being their most important contribution (to the gene pool)”, points out Ortiz.

The investigator insisted that "the survival of Native American women" is not the same as "the survival of Native American society". And although the society was destroyed, descendants or members of that society could have continued living on for decades.

Ortiz-Aguilú underscores this by pointing out that the proliferation of their vocabulary, ideas about natural traditional medicine, as well as their traditional diet, are all still intrinsic parts of our social reality today.

"It makes sense when you realize that it is because of women, who are raising their children, that beliefs and customs are kept alive”. As he continued explaining he noted that, among other things, the Africans did not have access to the familiar resources known to them in their native land.

Prohibited Education

The intention of this ongoing study is quite ambitious being that it intends to expand its studies to the present-day population of Santo Domingo.

The new challenge now is to figure out the regional origins of the 19 Amerindian lineages and, which of those 19, apply specifically to Puerto Rico.

These new genetic clues will provide more avenues for further research on the pre-Columbian history of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, as well as new theories on the processes that have led to the formation of today’s Puerto Rican society.

Without wishing to stir up any controversies, but using scientific evidence to back them up, both investigators have agreed on one thing about Puerto Ricans: "We are not Indian, African, nor European. We are “Boricuas” with a multiplicity of biological characteristics. We have figured out (through studies) that 60% have Native American, but that doesn’t mean that we are exclusively Taino (Native American)", indicated Ortiz-Aguilú. He stressed that now is the right time for ethno-historians and anthropologists to reconsider the theory that has been taught to children in school.

"The findings will enrich the way we teach history from a critical perspective. They incite curiosity to critically analyze our historical process", expressed Pedro Vega, Director of the Department of Education’s Programa de Estudios Sociales.

Notwithstanding, whatever the final conclusion of these genetic and anthropological studies may be, it may be quite some time before text books, which teach that the Puerto Rican is an amalgam of Spanish, African and Native American, actually change to reflect this new knowledge. Until then, one group is not given preference over the other.

Domingo said...

So are the reasearcher's implying that the only way you can be indian is to be a full blood? Sounds like they are bowing to politcal pressure.