On behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), we extend warm greetings and blessings, trusting you are all in good health and spirit. We are confident that this official statement responds to a recent issue that required our collective attention, and reflection.
On Jun 12, 2007, an e-mail communication alleging the sale of several Taino artifacts on the EBay auction site was received by the UCTP's Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination (UCTP-OIRRC). The e-mail implicated an unnamed community member as the seller, which evoked a range of reactions and concerns throughout our diverse communities. As a result, the UCTP-OIRRC received a request to follow-up on the situation.
On June 14 2007, the UCTP-OIRRC contacted the author of the original email and learned that, the seller was a UCTP community Liaison Officer who has served in this capacity honorably for the last 5 years.
Following this communication, the UCTP-OIRRC sought the council of community members, leaders, medicine people, and elders. All agreed that while this was an individual action, as a "public face" of the collective, Liaisons have a great responsibility to uphold the principles set forth in the UCTP Declaration of 1998. Faced with this realization, the Liaison involved issued an apology to the UCTP and the larger community for these actions and resigned from the UCTP Liaison program effective June 21, 2007. The UCTP-OIRRC, community members, elders, and medicine people respect this decision to resign and have accepted the resignation.
Even as this case represents a complex set of issues, the founding principles and work ethic promoted by the UCTP clearly do not support the commercialization of ancestral cultural heritage items. It is further recognized that although the UCTP has developed internal protocols and mechanisms to address these situations; these mechanisms may need to be strengthened by the development of new initiatives to integrate them at the local, national, and international level.
Having concluded our internal and ancestral protocols relating to this case, the UCTP-OIRRC reaffirms its commitment to the protection, promotion, and revitalization of indigenous Taino cultural heritage and spiritual traditions for past, present and future generations as enshrined within the UCTP founding Declaration of 1998.
In the Spirit of our Ancestors,
Roberto Mucaro Borrero,
President and Chairman,
United Confederation of Taino People,
Office of International Relations and