the Proclamation from the NY City Council designating April 25th as
United Confederation of Taino People Day in New York
New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) – Lokono Arawak, Kalinago Carib, and Taíno leaders renewed their solidarity at a special ceremonial gathering hosted by Ambassador Crispin S. Gregoire of Dominica and the United Confederation of Taíno People on Friday, April 25th, 2008. The event took place at the Permanent Mission of Dominica to the United Nations and was held in honor of Kalinago Chief Charles Williams and the signing of the Declaration of Unity between the Kalinago Carib Nation of Dominica and the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP). The celebration also recognized the 10 year anniversary of the establishment of the Confederation.
The gathering opened with a welcome by Ambassador Gregoire and a prayer by Milo Yellow Hair of the Oglala Lakota Nation. A Wounded Knee Veteran and AIM member, Mr. Yellow Hair also noted that the gathering put to rest the “myth of extinction” of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples.
An opening address was given by Chief Charles Williams who spoke on the history of the Kalinago People and of the importance of unity among Caribbean Indigenous Peoples. Chief Williams also thanked the Permanent Mission of Dominica for their support and expressed that he was “very proud of the Declaration of Unity signed between the Kalinago and Taíno Peoples”.
Statements were also presented by Hereditary Lokono Arawak Chief Damon Corrie of the Eagle Clan Arawaks and Kasike Roberto Mukaro Agueibana Borrero representing the UCTP and Iukaieke Guainia. Chief Corrie pledged to continue to work toward strengthening the solidarity among Indigenous Peoples of the region. In an example of his commitment he presented a letter of congratulations to the UCTP from Pakuri Lokono Arawak Chief Pierre Andrews from the Upper Mahaica River in Guyana, South America Guyana. On behalf of the Eagle Clan Arawaks, Corrie also presented a ceremonial chief’s staff to Borrero in recognition of his work to unify Caribbean Indigenous Peoples throughout the islands and beyond.
Borrero gave a brief history of the UCTP and introduced the various UCTP representatives and community members in attendance. He reaffirmed the important work that has been accomplished at the United Nations, which continues to increase the visibility of the Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean. Borrero also recognized the contributions and support of Ambassador Gregoire, Ali El Issa of the Flying Eagle Woman Fund, and Pamela Kraft of the Tribal Link Foundation. On behalf the UCTP, Ambassador Gregoire, El Issa, and Kraft were all presented artworks by artists John Aguilar Marrero and Reina Miranda of the Cacibajagua Taíno Cultural Society.
A special presentation was also made by UCTP representative and Iukaiyeke Guainia member, Grandmother Mildred Karaira Gandia who presented three blue macaw feathers in recognition of outstanding community leadership to Chief Williams, Chief Corrie, and Kasike Borrero.
Among the other distinguished guests present during the celebration were Andrea Carmen and Ron Lehman of the International Indian Treaty Council. Ms. Carmen commented on the important contribution of the Government of Dominica towards the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recent affiliation of the UCTP with the Treaty Council.
The special presentation segment ended with the reading of the Proclamation issued by New York City Council member Melissa Mark Viverito, which recognized “10 years of distinguished service to Taíno, Carib, and Arawak Peoples of the Caribbean and the U.S.” In an historic moment for the Taíno community, the Proclamation also designated April 25, 2008 and “hereafter” as United Confederation of Taíno People Day in the City of New York.
Following the presentations all the attendees were treated to an incredible luncheon prepared by community members Angie Nanichi Kolibri Ramos, Vanessa Inarunikia, Jackie “la Jibarita”, Tommy Pastrano, and Maria Itiomacunana Diaz.
Closing the historic celebration was a song to honor Mother Earth presented by members of the Cacibajagua Taíno Cultural Society.