Increased access to social services a priority among indigenous women

Guyana - Increasing access to social services is among the priorities identified by indigenous women leaders in the region as key to empowerment, against a backdrop of development.

Participants at the `Conference on Indigenous Women in the Caribbean:Voice, Participation and Influence for Development' that opened last Thursday found that many of their problems were the same. These include poverty, limited access to health, education and other basic social services, while trying to secure recognition of traditional land and rights. Another issue is gender-based violence. One of the challenges facing the conference was creating room for women's rights in the context of the collective indigenous rights. The two-day meeting was organized by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). It attracted across section of government and civil society participants from Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Suriname, Nicaragua and St Vincent.

Read the full story at http://coipnews.blogspot.com/


Yahoo recognizes Taino News and Information Group

UCTP Taino News – The United Confederation of Taino People’s Taino News and Information Email List Server has been recognized as a “Yahoo!Groups Power User” with the Yahoo Groups network. The distinction recognizes the Confederation’s dedication to building its ever-increasing subscription base and allows access to Yahoo’s Power User Program. The Taino News list on Yahoo currently serves over 2,600 subscribers.

The Groups Power User Program is a pilot program focusing on the owners and moderators of the top 2% of Yahoo Groups. Top percentile users were determined after a review of a several factors including the number of members in a group, group activity, and how long the group has been in existence. As one of the few list serves in the program, the UCTP can now take advantage of new services such as 24-hour online chat support.

One of the UCTP’s online moderators, Roger Guayakan Hernandez welcomed the news. “It is nice to see a company like Yahoo recognize the hard work we have put into our Taino News group resource.”

Hernandez, who is based in Puerto Rico, noted that Yahoo Groups is a free service that has been instrumental in “increasing the visibility of Taino and other Caribbean Indigenous Peoples within and out of the region.”

“We continue to see our Taino News digest and individual articles forwarded on other networks all around the world” he said.

An extension of the Confederation’s news distribution network, the Taino News and Information Email List is located on the internet at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Taino_News/ on the Yahoo network.

UCTPTN 10.21.2008

Miss Kalinago and Princess Natari 2008 Chosen in Dominica

Carib Territory, Dominica (UCTP Taino News) – 10 contestants competed for the Miss Kalinago and Princess Natari pageant crowns as part of “Carib Week” in September 2008. This year the annual pageant was held at the Karina Cultural Village in Bataca, Dominica and two of the contestants, Miss Juslyn Antoine and Miss Darylia Sanford, took home the coveted titles.

The contestants were required to demonstrate their talents, appear in traditional regalia, display craft items and in the case of Miss Kalinago, deliver a promotional speech. The Princess Natari contestants were not required to deliver speeches.

Leader of the Karina Cultural Group and coordinator of the pageant Miranda Langlais stated that contestants must be “dedicated” and “take pride” in the showcasing of their talent and culture.

Langlais, who is recognized by her people as a Kalingo Cultural Queen, also noted that “the very first Carib Queen pageant was organized by former Carib Chief Hillary Fredrick in 1996.”

A second pageant was held in 1998 and it has since become an annual event.

Carib Week is observed in commemoration of the Kalinago uprising that took place in Dominica on September 19, 1930.

In Photo: Carib Cultural Ambassadors Miss Kalinago Juslyn Antoine, 16 (left) and Princess Natari Darylis Sanford, 10 (Photo Credit: Wendy-Ann Duncan)

UCTPTN 10.21.2008


House Passes Baca Legislation to Establish Native American Heritage Day

Bill Will Designate Friday After Thanksgiving as Day of Tribute

Washington, DC – Late last night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation introduced by Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto), and supported by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) and 184 federally recognized tribes, to designate the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day. The Native American Heritage Day Bill, H.J. Res. 62, designates Friday, November 28, 2008, as a day to pay tribute to Native Americans for their many contributions to the United States.

“Native Americans have enriched American culture throughout their proud history,” said Rep. Baca. “It is critical we recognize these contributions and ensure all Americans are properly educated on the heritage and achievements of Native Americans.”

“Since my time in the California State Legislature, I have fought to ensure Native Americans receive the recognition they deserve,” continue Rep. Baca. “After introducing the legislation that established Native American Day in California, I am proud that both the House and Senate have passed my legislation to create a national day of recognition, which now awaits the President’s signature to become law. I Ihank my "good friend James Ramos, now Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, for standing with me from the beginning on this long journey to ensure the contributions of Native Americans are recognized and appreciated by all.”

The Native American Heritage Day Bill encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe Friday, November 28, as Native American Heritage Day, through appropriate ceremonies and activities. It also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to enhance student understanding of Native Americans by providing classroom instruction focusing on their history, achievements, and contributions. As a state Assemblyman, Rep. Baca introduced the legislation that established the fourth Friday of September as Native American Day in California – which became state law in 1998.

H.J. Res. 62 was originally passed by the House of Representatives on November 13, 2007. The bill was passed with technical adjustments by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate on September 22, 2008. Last night, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to pass the legislation again, this time including the adjustments from the Senate.

“This bill will help to preserve the great history and legacy of Native Americans,” added Rep. Baca. “Native Americans and their ancestors have played a vital role in the formation of our nation. They have fought with valor and died in every American war dating back to the Revolutionary War. We must encourage greater awareness of the significant role they have played in America’s history. I urge the President to take quick action and sign this important legislation into law.”

The Native American Heritage Day Bill is strongly supported by NIGA and its 184 federally recognized member tribes throughout the nation. Congressman Baca has been an active member of the Native American Caucus in the House of Representatives since first coming to Congress in 1999.


Petition Calling for the Abandonment of Proposed Columbus Monument in Boriken (Puerto Rico)

Recalling that: In 1492, Christopher Columbus initiated a genocidal campaign against Indigenous Peoples that began with the Taíno, Karib, and Arawak Nations and extended throughout the Americas, and

Recalling that: Christopher Columbus was the first trans-Atlantic slave trader in the Western Hemisphere, and

Recognizing that: Christopher Columbus is a symbol, not of a man, but of imperialism, colonialism, and genocide, and

Further Recognizing that: Imperialism and colonialism are continuously manifesting with the exploitation of humanity and the Earth as well as in the ongoing violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: We, the undersigned call on The Holland Group, Inc and the City of Mayagüez to abandon their plans to erect a monument to Christopher Columbus on the island of Boriken (Puerto Rico) in 2010. This proposed project is not only offensive to the local Taino, Karib, Arawak and other Indigenous Peoples but it is an offense to all peoples of good conscience around the world.

Sign petition at:


Amerindian Heritage Day in Trinidad

UCTP Taino News - Surinamese Carib Chief Paremuru
attending the Amerindian Heritage Day Celebration
in Arima, Trinidad on October 14, 2008 at Arima Town Hall

Photo: Wendy-Ann Duncan


Indigenous Peoples Across the Americas Say No to Columbus

UCTP Taíno News - As the U.S. gets ready to celebrate Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples across the Americas are mobilizing to call attention to the actual legacy of the 1492 arrival. Genocide, colonization, and globalization are some of the themes that will be focused on at anti-Columbus rallies, protests, marches, sit-ins, conferences, and memorial services. Events are scheduled to take place over the weekend through Monday, the official Federally recognized holiday, in Denver, Colorado, Alcatraz, California, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Honolulu, Hawaii, New York City and throughout Columbia to name a few.

Arguably America’s most controversial holiday, “Columbus Day” was created 100 years ago in Colorado and later became a National holiday. Opponents of the holiday have long pointed out that Columbus himself was an African slave trader according to his own writings. His actions in the Caribbean launched an era of modern colonialism, rape, pillage, genocide, cultural destruction, slavery, economic & environmental devastation.

With Colorado being the “birthplace” of Columbus Day in the U.S., it is no wonder that one of the most intense manifestations against the holiday takes place annually in protest of the Denver’s Columbus Day Parade. Actions there are organized by the Transform Columbus Day Alliance a coalition that rejects the celebration of Christopher Columbus historical misconceptions regarding Columbus and his "discovery" of the Americas. The Alliance includes a local American Indian Movement Chapter, several Peace and Justice organizations, and even a group called Progressive Italians to Transform the Columbus Holiday.

The United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) is another member of the Transform Columbus Day Alliance that is also supporting several other anti-Columbus Day actions. The UCTP has endorsed the annual Papal Bull Burning in Honolulu, Hawaii, a “Remembering our Ancestors” memorial in New York City, and a protest in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico against the that city’s proposed erection of a Columbus monument. The action in Borikén (Puerto Rico) is being organized by a local group called Movimiento Indígena Chib’al’o Jíbaro-Boricua. In collaboration with local organizations, the UCTP is coordinating an international coalition against that project and plans to launch a web page dedicated to that issue.

The Annual Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 13th in conjunction with the “International Day of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples 2008.” These events are being organized by the International Indian Treaty Council and American Indian Contemporary Arts under the theme “Celebrating our Survival and Challenging the Myth of Columbus and “Doctrine of Discovery.”

In perhaps one of the largest manifestations taking place over the “Columbus Holiday” weekend, Indigenous organizations and communities throughout in Colombia will mobilize to protest the U.S. Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Plan Colombia and the policies of the Bush-Backed Uribe Government. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, ONIC, has announced that mass protests will join the forces of indigenous, peasant, and popular movement.

With regard to the mobilizations in Columbia, the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN) called on “national and international public opinion to express solidarity with the indigenous, peasant, afro-Colombian and working people of Colombia.” For the ACIN October 12th marks the date over 500 years ago when “European Colonialism clenched its predator claws on this hemisphere. Those claws have maintained a grip on our peoples ever since.”

The ACIN further notes that the mobilizations in South America and throughout the Americas are a demand for dignity, justice, liberty and respect for life.

UCTPTN 10.11.2008

Photo Credit: Indymedia


New Study Confirms Taino Ancestry Among Dominicans

Dominican Republic (UCTP Taino News) - According to a new DNA study conducted in the Dominican Republic a large segment of the country’s population retains indigenous Taino ancestry through their mother’s bloodline. The study, conducted by the University of Puerto Rico, reveals that approximately 15-18% of Dominicans have Native American Mitochondrial DNA out of a population of nearly 10,000,000.

The research is based on 1200 DNA samples taken throughout the island with some test areas revealing 90% of the subjects with Native ancestry. While the percentages are lower than similar studies conducted on the neighboring island of Puerto Rico, the estimates defy “popular” accounts that the Indigenous Peoples were completely exterminated on that island.

“This study is a confirmation of what we have already known and promoted for years” stated Roberto Borrero, a representative of the United Confederation of Taino People. “Our people continue to exist within the multi-cultural mosaic that is the Caribbean despite the genocidal campaigns that began against us 516 years ago with the arrival of Columbus.”

One interesting aspect of the study is that individuals tested in the Cibao region seem to have a different DNA sequence than those tested in the southern part of the island. While both sequences are indigenous the variants could shed some light on ancient migrations. The study also reveals that the Taino descendants from the Cibao area could have been relatively “un-mixed racially” until more recent times.

UCTPTN 10.10.2008


Expert Meeting on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Concludes First Session in Geneva

Geneva, Switzerland (UCTP Taino News) - The United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) concluded its inaugural session in Geneva on Friday, 3 October with the adoption of a number of proposals to the Human Rights Council. The Durban Review Conference on Racism, the right of Indigenous People to education, and the participation of Indigenous Peoples in sessions of the Council and United Nations human rights treaty bodies were the focus of some of the proposals presented.

The Expert Mechanism is mandated to provide thematic expertise on the rights of Indigenous Peoples to the UN Human Rights Council. The group met from 1-3 October at the Palais des Nations in Geneva with more than 400 registered to the historic meeting. A majority of those attending the inaugural session were Indigenous Peoples who actively participated in the three-day meeting making recommendations to the newly formed body as well as relating human rights situations affecting their communities.

Among the many presentations made at the session a joint oral statement on the points of consideration of the EMRIP study on Education was presented by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP). The presentation was made by IITC Executive Director Andrea Carmen. The IITC presented several other interventions during the session. Both the IITC and the UCTP participated within the Global Indigenous Caucus sessions to the EMRIP.

As mandated by the Human Rights Council through a resolution adopted at its session last week, the Expert Mechanism began to identify and suggest proposals for its consideration in 2009. In connection to the upcoming UN Durban Review Conference on racism taking place next year, the Experts were asked to assist the Preparatory Committee of the Conference by submitting recommendations as contributions to its outcome. The Experts recommended that the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action should acknowledge that the right of self-determination and the principle of free, prior and informed consent are now universally recognized through the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In addition, the Experts recommended that the Declaration be considered as one of the human rights standards in the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process.

The Experts also began work on preparing a study on lessons learned and challenges to achieve the implementation of the right of Indigenous Peoples to education to be concluded in 2009. In another proposal, the Expert Mechanism invited the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to contribute to the study and requested the Human Rights Council to authorize a two-day technical workshop/review to finalize the study.

At the meeting’s opening, John Henriksen (Norway) was elected to serve as Chairperson-Rapporteur of the first session and Jose Carlos Morales (Costa Rica) as Vice Chairperson-Rapporteur. The other three members of the Expert Mechanism are Catherine Odimba Kombe (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Jannie Lasimbang (Malaysia) and Jose Molintas (Philippines).

The Expert Mechanism will hold its second session in 2009 with the date to be decided at the 10th regular session of the Human Rights Council scheduled to be held in March 2009.

UCTPTN 10.06.2008