Taino Leader to Speak at Florida University

Miami, Florida (UCTP Taino News) - The President and Chairman of the United Confederation of Taino People’ Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination, Roberto Borrero is scheduled to give the opening address at Florida Atlantic University’s Native American Indian Heritage Celebration. Borrero’s special address will be presented on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 11:30am at the University’s campus, Traditions Plaza Breezeway, in Boca Raton, Florida. This special event is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs and launches a series of activities focusing on Indigenous Peoples in the United States.

The Native American Indian Heritage month celebrations at FAU are free and open to students, faculty, and the general public. The celebration activities were coordinated in consultation with Dr. Enid Conley, FAU Alumna; the South Florida Story-telling Project; and Student Government BSUMP.

“This is such an honor for our local Taino community” stated Mildred Karaira Gandia, one of the Confederation’s two Liaison Officers in Florida. “This is an historic opportunity for the general public to understand that South Florida was and remains a part of the traditional Taino homelands.”

Karaira will host a welcome reception for Borrero in Miami that will be open to local Taino community members as well as representatives from other local Tribes and allies on Tuesday evening, Nov. 3. Community members that would like to attend or have more information about the reception should contact Karaira at Karaira@uctp.org as RSVPs are required.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994.

UCTPTN 10.26.2009


Venezuela Grants Land to Indigenous Communities On Indigenous Resistance Day

Caracas, Venezuela - Celebrating 517 years of indigenous resistance to invasion and colonisation Venezuela marked Indigenous Resistance Day on Monday with a street march through the capital, Caracas, the granting of title deeds to indigenous communities, and a special session of the National Assembly.

Across the Americas October 12 is widely celebrated as Columbus Day, the day in 1492 when Christopher Columbus, representing the Spanish Crown, first arrived in the Americas. In 2004 the Venezuelan government officially changed the name to Indigenous Resistance Day.

In Caracas, thousands of members of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), together with members of Venezuela's 44 indigenous groups, marched to the National Pantheon, in order to celebrate achievements for indigenous peoples under the Chavez government and claim their rights as the original inhabitants of the country.

A special session of the National Assembly then took place in the Pantheon, where the remains of 16th Century Indigenous Cacique (Chief) Guaicaipuro lie as well as those of Venezuelan independence leader Simon Bolivar, who fought against Spanish colonialism.

Also during a special ceremony in Zulia state, Venezuelan Interior Relations and Justice Minister, Tarek el Aissami, handed over title deeds covering some 41,630 hectares of land to three Yukpa indigenous communities in the Sierra de Perija National Park.

"Today we join in this celebration of Indigenous Resistance Day, the day of the dignity of the indigenous peoples of Latin America and particularly of the Bolivarian and Revolutionary Venezuela," stressed the minister.

Yupka community spokesperson Efrain Romero said, "It's historic to receive title to the lands we inhabit," and added, "We reaffirm our fight for this revolution to continue advancing (...) we reaffirm our support for President Hugo Chávez."

In recent years the Sierra de Perija region has been the scenario of a fierce conflict between large "landowners" and the indigenous communities who were forcibly driven off their lands during the Perez Jimenez dictatorship in the 1940s.

The situation came to a head in July 2008 when Yukpa indigenous communities occupied 14 large estates to demand legal title to their ancestral lands. Estate owner Alejandro Vargas and four others, armed with guns and machetes, responded by attempting to assassinate the Yukpa cacique (chief) Sabino Romero, who was leading the occupations, and beat and killed Romero's elderly 109-year-old father Jose Manuel Romero.

Then on August 6 hundreds of armed mercenaries, hired by large landowners, attacked the indigenous communities.

At the time Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez slammed what he described as the "ambiguous attitudes" of some government functionaries in dealing with the land demarcation process and ordered an investigation into the violent attacks.

"There should be no doubt: Between the large estate owners and the Indians, this government is with the Indians" Chavez said.

During his speech today El Aissami emphasised that the delivery of title deeds of land to indigenous peoples is one of the policies promoted by the National Executive to ensure comprehensive recognition of the ancestral territorial rights of indigenous peoples.

Sergio Rodríguez, a spokesperson for the Environment Ministry clarified that other areas belonging to Yukpa communities are yet to be demarcated but said the ministry, together with the indigenous communities and other agencies that comprise the National Demarcation Commission, "will continue to work to resolve the situation. Our goal is to provide land titles to those Yukpa sectors that lack them by the end of the year."

However, another dispute in the Sierra de Perija region between the Barí, Yukpa, and Wayúu indigenous peoples resisting coal mining on their lands on the one hand and the state-owned Corpozulia, still has not been fully resolved.

The government is also expected to hand over title deeds covering 5,310 hectares to the 366 strong Palital community, belonging to the Kari'ña ethnicity in the state of Anzoategui.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the III Congress of the Great Abya Yala [the Americas] Nation of Anti-Imperialist Indigenous Peoples from the South in the remote Amazonas state, Minister for the President's Office, Luis Reyes Reyes, also granted credits to representatives of indigenous communities to assist in agricultural production.

Despite many unresolved issues, indigenous peoples have made significant advances in Venezuela over the last 10 years. The Bolivarian Constitution adopted in 1999, through Art. 8 specifically emphasises recognition and respect for indigenous land rights, culture, language, and customs. According to the constitution, the role of the Venezuelan state is to participate with indigenous people in the demarcation of traditional land, guaranteeing the right to collective ownership. The state is also expected to promote the cultural values of indigenous people.

Article 120 of the Constitution also states that exploitation of any natural resource is "subject to prior information and consultation with the native communities concerned."

In 2003 the government also initiated the Guaicaipuro Mission, a social program aimed at the promotion and realization of indigenous rights as recognised in the constitution.

Venezuela's indigenous people, who comprise approximately 1.6% of the population, also have three indigenous representatives in the National Assembly.


Economic Crises in Boriken (Puerto Rico)

Boriken/Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) - Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño has implemented widespread job cuts affecting all sectors of the island's population. In the midst of Puerto Rico's worsening economic crises, Fortuño plans promote the privatization of basic infrastructural services such as electricity, water, and the education system.

Reports estimate that nearly 20,000 civil servants already have or will lose their jobs. Analysts note that the loss of jobs in the government sector will affect similar losses in the private sector.

The island's cultural patrimony is one area that will be particularly impacted by job losses. Reports indicate that museums and national parks under the control of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) such as the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center will now be forced to close. These institutions will not only lose staff for daily operations but collections and archives are now potentially at risk without proper supervision and controls.

In the form of several recent amendment proposals to controversial "Law 7", ICP President Marisol Rodriguez supported Governor Fortuño's plan to do away with the protective functions of the Institute's mandate. The result of these proposals would facilitate development projects that are expected to have an adverse affect on the island's national patrimony. Opponents state that these amendments are in clear violation of a 60 year law that created the ICP protections in the first place.

The Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos, a local Taino organization has proposed a volunteer initiative to the Institute to keep Caguana open.

In response to the current economic crises and the administration's privatization policies, diverse workers unions as well as community and student organizations plan to unite in a mass National General Strike throughout the Puerto Rico on the 15th of October.

UCTPTN 10.14.2009


The Myth of "America"

Happy Columbus Day

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two ...

May the spirit of adventure and discovery always be with you.

Wishing you a great Columbus Day

- Columbus Day greeting card

To mark Columbus Day In 2004, the Medieval and Renaissance Center in UCLA published the final volume of a compendium of Columbus-era documents. Its general editor, Geoffrey Symcox, leaves little room for ambivalence when he says, "This is not your grandfather's Columbus.... While giving the brilliant mariner his due, the collection portrays Columbus as an unrelenting social climber and self-promoter who stopped at nothing - not even exploitation, slavery, or twisting biblical scripture - to advance his ambitions.... Many of the unflattering documents have been known for the last century or more, but nobody paid much attention to them until recently. The fact that Columbus brought slavery, enormous exploitation or devastating diseases to the Americas used to be seen as a minor detail - if it was recognized at all - in light of his role as the great bringer of white man's civilization to the benighted idolatrous American continent. But to historians today this information is very important. It changes our whole view of the enterprise."

But does it?


"They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells," Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. "They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas, in the multi-volume "History of the Indies" published in 1875, wrote, "... Slaves were the primary source of income for the Admiral (Columbus) with that income he intended to repay the money the Kings were spending in support of Spaniards on the Island. They provide profit and income to the Kings. (The Spaniards were driven by) insatiable greed ... killing, terrorizing, afflicting, and torturing the native peoples ... with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty."

This systematic violence was aimed at preventing "Indians from daring to think of themselves as human beings. (The Spaniards) thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades.... My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write."

Father Fray Antonio de Montesino, a Dominican preacher, in December 1511 said this in a sermon that implicated Christopher Columbus and the colonists in the genocide of the native peoples:

"Tell me by what right of justice do you hold these Indians in such a cruel and horrible servitude? On what authority have you waged such detestable wars against these people who dealt quietly and peacefully on their own lands? Wars in which you have destroyed such an infinite number of them by homicides and slaughters never heard of before ..."

In 1892, the National Council of Churches, the largest ecumenical body in the United States, is known to have exhorted Christians to refrain from celebrating the Columbus quincentennial, saying, "What represented newness of freedom, hope, and opportunity for some was the occasion for oppression, degradation and genocide for others."

Yet America continues to celebrate "Columbus Day."

That Americans do so in the face of all evidence that there is little in the Columbian legacy that merits applause makes it easier for them to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions, or the actions of their government. Perhaps there is good reason.


In "Columbus Day: A Clash of Myth and History," journalist and media critic Norman Solomon discusses how historians who deal with recorded evidence are frequently depicted as "politically correct" revisionists while the general populace is manipulated into holding onto myths that brazenly applaud inconceivable acts of violence of men against fellow humans.

For those of us who are willing to ask how it becomes possible to manipulate the population of a country into accepting atrocity, the answer is not hard to find. It requires normalizing the inconceivable and drumming it in via the socio-cultural environment until it is internalized and embedded in the individual and collective consciousness. The combined or singular deployment of the media, the entertainment industry, mainstream education or any other agency, can achieve the desired result of convincing people that wars can be just, and strikes can be surgical, as long as it is the US that is doing it.

Never has this process been as blatant and overt as in recent years when the time has come for America to legitimize the idea of global domination. A Department of Defense report titled Joint Vision 2020 calls for the US military to be capable of "full spectrum dominance" of the entire planet. That means total domination and control of all land, sea, air, space and information.

That's a lot of control.

How might this become accepted as "Policy" and remain unquestioned by almost an entire population?

The one word key to that is: Myths. The explanation is that the myths the United States is built upon have paved the way for the perpetuation of all manner of violations.

Among the first of these is that of Christopher Columbus. In school we were taught of his bravery, courage and perseverance. In a speech in 1989, George H.W. Bush proclaimed: "Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished through perseverance and faith."

Never mind that the monumental feats mainly comprised part butchery, part exploitation and the largest part betrayal of host populations of the "New World."


On their second arrival in Hispaniola, Haiti, Columbus's crew took captive roughly two thousand local villagers who had arrived to greet them. Miguel Cuneo, a literate crew member, wrote, "When our caravels ... were to leave for Spain, we gathered ... one thousand six hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and these we embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495.... For those who remained, we let it be known (to the Spaniards who manned the island's fort) in the vicinity that anyone who wanted to take some of them could do so, to the amount desired, which was done."

In 1500, Columbus wrote to a friend, "A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand."

Such original "monumental feats" as were accomplished by our nation's heroes and role models were somewhat primitive. Local inhabitants who resisted Columbus and his crew had their ears or nose cut off, were attacked by dogs, skewered with pikes and shot. Reprisals were so severe that many of the natives committed mass suicide and women began practicing abortions in order not to leave children enslaved. The population of Haiti at the time of Columbus's arrival was between 1.5 million and 3 million. Sixty years later, every single native had been murdered.

Today, "perseverance and faith" allow us to accomplish much more and with far greater impunity. The US continues to liberate Iraq and Afghanistan with 2,000-pound bombs in civilian areas and purge Pakistan via drone attacks on weddings.

Neither case is of isolated whimsy. It was and remains policy.

In "A People's History of the United States," celebrated historian Howard Zinn describes how Arawak men and women emerged from their villages to greet their guests with food, water and gifts when Columbus landed at the Bahamas. But Columbus wanted something else. "Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise," he wrote to the king and queen of Spain in 1503.

Rather than gold, however, Columbus only found slaves when he arrived on his second visit with seventeen ships and over 1,200 men. Ravaging various Caribbean islands, Columbus took natives as captives as he sailed. Of these he picked 500 of the best specimens and shipped them back to Spain. Two hundred of these died en route, while the survivors were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town where they landed.

Columbus needed more than mere slaves to sell, and Zinn's account informs us, "... desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, (he) had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.

"The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed."

As a younger priest, the aforementioned De las Casas had participated in the conquest of Cuba and owned a plantation where natives worked as slaves before he found his conscience and gave it up. His first-person accounts reveal that the Spaniards "thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades. They forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they were sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual's head from his body, or disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers' breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their shoulders into a river, shouting: 'Wriggle, you litle perisher.' They slaughtered anyone on their path ..."


Full Spectrum Dominance

In a letter to the Spanish court dated February 15, 1492, Columbus presented his version of full spectrum dominance: "to conquer the world, spread the Christian faith and regain the Holy Land and the Temple Mount."

With this radical ideology, Las Casas records, "They spared no one, erecting especially wide gibbets on which they could string their victims up with their feet just off the ground and then burned them alive thirteen at a time, in honour of our Saviour and the twelve Apostles."

About incorporating these accounts in his book, Zinn explained to Truthout, "My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present ... but I do remember a statement I once read: The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don't listen to it, you will never know what justice is."


Author journalist Chris Hedges believes that glorification of (the atrocities of) Columbus is one of several myths that sustain the illusions that justify the imperial visions of the United States.

In conversation with Truthout, he said, "It's really easy to build a holocaust museum that condemns Germans. It's another issue to build a museum that confronts our own genocide, the genocide that was perpetrated by our own ancestors towards Native Americans or towards African-Americans. I am all for documenting and remembering the [World War II] Holocaust, but the disparity between the reality of the [World War II] Holocaust or the reality of the genocide as illustrated in the [World War II] Holocaust museum and the utter historical amnesia in the Native American museum in Washington is really frightening and shows a complete inability in a public arena for us to examine who we are and what we've done."

Noam Chomsky holds a similar view. "We have [World War II] Holocaust museums all over the place about what the Germans did," Chomsky told Truthout. "Do we have one about what we did? I mean about slavery, about the Native American population? It's not that the people involved didn't know about it. John Quincy Adams, a great grand strategist, who had a major role in these atrocities, in his later years when he reflected on them, referred to that hapless race of North Americans, which we are exterminating with such insidious cruelty. They knew exactly what they were doing. But it doesn't matter. It's us."

Explaining how the mythology of a country becomes its historic reality, Chomsky stated, "If you are well-educated, you can internalize that and it. That's part of what a good education is about, enabling people to live with those contradictions. And you see it very consistently. In the case of, say, the Iraq war, try to find somebody who had a principled objection. Actually you can, occasionally, but it's suppressed."

Historical revisionism and amnesia are critical for nation-building, opines Paul Woodward, the writer and author of the blog "War In Context". He elaborates, "Every nation is subject to its own particular form of historical amnesia. Likewise, imperial powers have their own grandiose revisionist tendencies. Yet there is another form of historical denial particular to recently invented nations whose myth-making efforts are inextricably bound together with the process of the nation's birth ...

"Whereas older nations are by and large populated by people whose ancestral roots penetrated that land well before it took on the clear definition of a nation state, the majority of the people in an invented nation - such as the United States or Israel - have ancestry that inevitably leads elsewhere. This exposes the ephemeral link between the peoples' history and the nation's history. Add to that the fact that such nations came into being through grotesque acts of dispossession and it is clear that a psychological drive to hold aloft an atemporal exceptionalism becomes an existential necessity. National security requires that the past be erased."

Robert Jensen is an author and teaches media law, ethics and politics at the University of Texas. In an essay where he justifies his decision to not celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday, he says, "Imagine that Germany won World War II and that a Nazi regime endured for some decades, eventually giving way to a more liberal state with a softer version of German-supremacist ideology. Imagine that a century later Germans celebrated a holiday offering a whitewashed version of German/Jewish history that ignored that holocaust and the deep anti-Semitism of the culture. Imagine that the holiday provided a welcomed time for families and friends to gather and enjoy food and conversation. Imagine that businesses, schools and government offices closed on this day. What would we say about such a holiday? Would we not question the distortions woven into such a celebration? Would we not demand a more accurate historical account? Would we not, in fact, denounce such a holiday as grotesque?"

Of course we would.

But our story is different, and once again this year, on October 12, we will once again "Hail Columbus."


Authors: Dahr Jamail and Jason Coppola

Article Source: truthout http://www.truthout.org/1012091

Bhaswati Sengupta contributed to this report.

Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist, is the author of "The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan," (Haymarket Books, 2009), and "Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq," (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from occupied Iraq for nine months as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last five years.

Jason Coppola is the director and producer of the documentary film "Justify My War," which explores the rationalization of war in American culture, comparing the siege of Fallujah with the massacre at Wounded Knee. Coppola has worked in Iraq as well as on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.


Kids Study the Dark Side of Columbus


TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 11) — Jeffrey Kolowith's kindergarten students read a poem about Christopher Columbus, take a journey to the New World on three paper ships and place the explorer's picture on a timeline through history.

Kolowith's students learn about the explorer's significance — though they also come away with a more nuanced picture of Columbus than the noble discoverer often portrayed in pop culture and legend.

"I talk about the situation where he didn't even realize where he was," Kolowith said. "And we talked about how he was very, very mean, very bossy."

Columbus' stature in U.S. classrooms has declined somewhat through the years, and many districts will not observe his namesake holiday on Monday. Although lessons vary, many teachers are trying to present a more balanced perspective of what happened after Columbus reached the Caribbean and the suffering of indigenous populations.

"The whole terminology has changed," said James Kracht, executive associate dean for academic affairs in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development. "You don't hear people using the world 'discovery' anymore like they used to. 'Columbus discovers America.' Because how could he discover America if there were already people living here?"

In Texas, students start learning in the fifth grade about the "Columbian Exchange" — which consisted not only of gold, crops and goods shipped back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, but diseases carried by settlers that decimated native populations.

In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year — charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

"In their own verbiage, he was a bad guy," teacher Laurie Crawford said.

Of course, the perspective given varies across classrooms and grades. Donna Sabis-Burns, a team leader with the U.S. Department of Education's School Support and Technology Program, surveyed teachers nationwide about the Columbus reading materials they used in class for her University of Florida dissertation. She examined 62 picture books, and found the majority were outdated and contained inaccurate — and sometimes outright demeaning — depictions of the native Taino population.

The federal holiday itself also is not universally recognized. Schools in Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle will be open; New York City, Washington and Chicago schools will be closed.

The day is an especially sensitive issue in places with larger native American populations.

"We have a very large Alaska native population, so just the whole Columbus being the founder of the United States, doesn't sit well with a lot of people, myself included," said Paul Prussing, deputy director of Alaska's Division of Teaching and Learning Support.

Many recall decades ago when there was scant mention of indigenous groups in discussions about Columbus. Kracht remembers a picture in one of his fifth-grade textbooks that showed Columbus wading to shore with a huge flag and cross.

"The indigenous population was kind of waiting expectantly, almost with smiles on their faces," Kracht said. "'I wonder what this guy is bringing us?' Well, he's bringing us smallpox, for one thing, and none of us are going to live very long."

Kracht said an emerging multiculturalism led more people to investigate the cruelties suffered by the Taino population in the 1960s and '70s, along with the 500th anniversary in 1992.

However, there are people who believe the discussion has shifted too far. Patrick Korten, vice president of communications for the Catholic fraternal service organization the Knights of Columbus, recalled a note from a member who saw a lesson at a New Jersey school.

The students were forced to stand in a cafeteria and not allowed to eat while other students teased and intimidated them — apparently so they could better understand the suffering indigenous populations endured because of Columbus, Korten said.

"My impression is that in some classrooms, it's anything but a balanced presentation," Korten, said. "That it's deliberately very negative, which is a matter of great concern because that is not accurate."

Korten said he doesn't believe such activities are widespread — though the lessons will certainly vary.

In Kolowith's Tampa class, students gathered around a white carpet, where they examined a pile of bright plastic fruits and vegetables, baby dolls, construction paper and other items as they decided what would be best for their voyage.

"Do you think it would be good to take babies on a long and dangerous boat ride?" he asked the class. "No!" they replied.

Fifteen miles away, in Seffner, Fla., Colson Elementary assistant principal Jack Keller visited students in a colonial outfit and gray wig, pretending to be Columbus and discussing his voyages. The suffering of natives was not mentioned.

"Our thing was to show exploration," he said.

Meanwhile, Crawford's Pennsylvania class dressed up as characters from the era, assigned roles for a mock trial and put Columbus on the stand. Out of a jury of 12 students, nine found him guilty of the charges.

"Every hero is somebody else's villain," said Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, a scholar and author of several books related to Columbus, including "1492: The Year the World Began."

"Heroism and villainy are just two sides of the same coin."

Associated Press writer Dorie Turner in Atlanta contributed to this report.


Filmmakers Reconsider Columbus

New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) - Filmmakers Carlos Germosen and Crystal Whelan of Nu Heightz Cinema have produced a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) urging the American Public to "Reconsider Columbus Day".The 60 second spot features a compelling message which they hope will "encourage people to learn the other side to the story of Columbus".

"We want to help shed light on the truth by using mass media" stated Whelan. She continued stating "We hope people will petition for a nationally recognized indigenous holiday to honor the people who were here first."

The producers reached out to local community activists and indigenous organizations like the United Confederation of Taino People to help develop the script.

"We were honored to be asked to collaborate on this project as our ancestors in particular were the first to be negatively impacted by Columbus" stated Roberto Borrero, a representative of the Confederation.

"The issue goes beyond Caribbean Indigenous Peoples however, it is really about society being complacent with symbols of genocide." said Borrero.

The Reconsider Columbus Day PSA is currently being featured on
You Tube and the producers are working to broadcast it on local television networks. Nu Heights Cinema has also set up a Reconsider Columbus Day website at www.reconsidercolumbusday.org to help bring more attention to the issue.