12/31/2011

Additional Notes on the Survival of Indigenous Peoples in Borikén

"Like Sepulveda in the 16th century, it is clear that those expressing anti-Taíno sentiment are not opposed to manipulating data or using malicious tactics to denigrate and dehumanize contemporary Taíno People individually or as a whole."

See the full story at UCTP Taino News:Linkhttp://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=701&Itemid=2

Roberto "Múkaro" Borrero is the current President of the United Confederation of Taíno People, the Chairman of the NGO Committee on the United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples and an alternative Board Member of the International Indian Treaty Council. He is a contributing author to Taíno Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics, edited by Gabriel Haslip- Viera (2001). He can be contacted at mukaro@uctp.org.

11/27/2011

Taíno People Honored by the Mashantucket Pequot Nation

Delegates representing the United Confederation of Taino People at a special ceremony at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center Saturday, November 26, 2011. In photo from let to right: Rodney Guatu'shina Rivera, Vivien Guara'naru DuMont, Lourdes Kalichi'naru Lebron, Hector Barakutey Gonzalez, Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana, Claudia Fox Tree, and Roberto Mukaro Borrero.

Mashantucket, Connecticut (UCTP Taíno News) -
As a part of their historic commemoration of Native American Heritage Month 2011, the Mashantucket Pequot Nation ceremonially received the flag of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) for permanent display at their Museum and Research Center in Connecticut, yesterday. The Confederation flag is now included as part of the on-going exhibition, “Honoring the Nations: Tribal Flags Today”.

See the full story at UCTP Taino News at:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=689&Itemid=2

11/07/2011

Thousands Say No to Tar Sands Pipeline

Taino activists among the thousands protesting the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in D.C on Sunday.

Washington, D.C. (UCTP Taino News) -
On Sunday Nov. 6, more than more than 12,000 activists of diverse backgrounds from across the United States and Canada gathered at the White House to call on President Obama to stop the TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Following a well-attended rally in Lafayette Square, attendees formed a giant human chain several people deep completely encircling the White House. Among the protesters present, were delegations of Indigenous Peoples from throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond.

SEE FULL STORY AT UCTP TAINO NEWS:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=673&Itemid=2


11/05/2011

AIA Native American Powwow: Happening Now...

UCTP representatives and friends have an information table on Taino culture at the American Indian Association Pow Wow in Orlando, Florida this weekend...

If you are in the area come down and say hello and enjoy the event!

You can get more information at this link:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=234&year=2011&month=11&day=04&Itemid=58

In this photo is our brother Abawarucoel, Mamona, and AnaYuísa...
El Taino vive!

Source: UCTP Taino News

10/11/2011

Occupy Wall Street Welcomes Indigenous Peoples

A Day of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples at Occupy Wall Street. From left to right: Jen Yazzie (Navajo), Roberto Mukaro Borrero (Taino), Kent Lebsock (Lakota, and Tiokasin Ghosthorse (Lakota).
Photo credit: Alyssa Macy

New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) –
As the United States officially celebrated Columbus Day on Monday, indigenous peoples joined thousands of activists to commemorate “Indigenous Peoples Day” at Occupy Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. Representatives of several local, national, and international indigenous organizations and community groups led a “teach-in and then an historic march down to the National Museum of the American Indian. The indigenous representatives also presented an ‘indigenous platform’, which noted that “without addressing justice for indigenous peoples, there can never be a genuine movement for justice and equality in the United States.”


See the full story at UCTP Taino News:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=666&Itemid=2

10/10/2011

4th Indigenous Peoples Day of Remembrance Commemorated

LinkMexica dancers present their ceremonial "danza" at the 4th Annual Indigenous Day of Remembrance.

New York, NY (UCTP Taíno News) – The 4th Annual “Indigenous Day of Remembrance” was held at Merchant’s Gate across from Columbus Circle in New York City on Sunday, October 9th, 2011. The event was organized by a small group of area activists led by Luis “Iukibuel” Ramos (Taíno). Participants of the well-attended event included local and visiting indigenous peoples, supporters, and an interested public.

See the full story at UCTP Taino News:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=667&Itemid=2

10/05/2011

Puerto Rico plans to decide its political future

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The governor of Puerto Rico announced Tuesday that he will present local legislators with a plan for a two-part referendum next year to decide the political future of the U.S. territory once and for all.

See the full story at UCTP Taino News:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=664&Itemid=2

9/14/2011

‘Barbadiana Jones’ First Outsider to See Hidden Water Falls in Guyana Interior


BARBADOS - Some people call Damon Corrie a real life ‘Barbadiana Jones‘, a reference to the adventurous ‘Indiana Jones‘ a fictitious explorer of Hollywood fame. Corrie is of Barbadian birth and Guyanese Amerindian descent. He is well-known in local, regional & international circles for two things primarily – his promotion of Indigenous Rights and his promotion of Guyana as the 'premier Eco-Adventure Paradise' destination in the Americas.

See the full article at UCTP Taino News:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=656&Itemid=2

9/13/2011

Census Data Continues to Shed Light on Boricua Identity

Borikén/Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) - Puerto Rico's Institute of Culture, a governmental agency, has historically promoted the island's demographic heritage as a blending of three cultures – American Indian, Spanish, and African – forming one a national identity. Many Puerto Rican scholars continue to highlight 'cultural' blending as officially they have erroneously claimed the local indigenous population was exterminated in the first 50 years of colonization. Data released from the 2010 U.S. Census documents a different perspective as more “Puerto Ricans” are defining themselves as American Indians.

See the full article at UCTP Taino News:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=655&Itemid=2

9/09/2011

Editorial: What’s in a name - Arawak or Taíno?

There is widespread confusion concerning the application of the term Arawak on Caribbean Indigenous Peoples. This is not surprising given our disparate state across the islands and into the Diaspora. As descendants of the first Indigenous Peoples in the Western hemisphere to be labeled Indians, our communities are dealing with over 500 years of colonization and misinformation via educational institutions promoting ideologies that were established by the colonizers.

To read the full editorial visit: http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=654&Itemid=2

Roberto Múkaro Borrero is a Borikén Taíno historian, artist, and activist who currently serves as President of the United Confederation of Taíno People. He can be contacted at mukaro@uctp.org or at www.uctp.org.

8/04/2011

Algonquin elder William Commanda Passes into the Spirit World

Roberto Borrero (Taino), Grandfather William Commanda (Algonquin), and Lizzy Sarobei (Taino) at the 'Prayer Vigil for the Earth' in Washington DC. Photo Credit: UCTP Archives

OTTAWA, Canada (UCTP Taino News) –
William Commanda, an internationally respected Algonquin elder died quietly in his home early Wednesday morning at the age of 97. Commanda was recently released from the hospital where he was treated for kidney related illness.

Grandfather Commanda was a trapper, guide, a master canoe maker, and a spiritual leader with a local, national, and international following. He was a chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg reserve north of Ottawa from 1951 to 1970.

The holder of three historic and sacred wampum belts, Commanda was well-received and admired for his messages of peace and environmentalism wherever he traveled. He was best known for his efforts to build bridges of understanding between cultures.

Indigenous leaders around the world are mourning his passing. Statements of condolence have already been issued from the Assembly of First Nations and the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council.

"Grandfather Commanda was a great friend and supporter of the Taino People” stated Roberto Borrero, President of the United Confederation of Taino People’s Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination. “Some time ago he sent a sacred eagle feather to our elders in Boriken (Puerto Rico) to signify our spiritual connection."

Borrero continued stating "Over the years, some of our representatives had the honor to work together with Grandfather Commanda at various international indigenous gatherings. He will be long remembered for his wisdom and greatly missed."

A vigil for Grandfather Commanda began Wednesday night at his home near Maniwaki and is set to continue until his burial there on Friday afternoon. A celebration of his life is scheduled to continue through the weekend at the “Circle of All Nations”, a gathering Commanda hosted annually.

UCTPTN 08.04.2011

7/15/2011

A Full Moon By Any Other Name

UCTP Taino News - Tonight’s full moon will rise in the southeastern sky in the constellation Capricornus and be visible all night long.

Known by many names, some recognize July’s full moon as the ‘Full Hay Moon’ because it's around this time that farmers harvest, bale and stow hay for the winter.

Northeastern Algonquian peoples call this moon the ‘Full Buck Moon’ as it corresponds to the time when male deer grow new antlers. This moon is also called the 'Thunder Moon' as thunderstorms are common during this time.

For some Taino people, tonight’s full moon offers an opportunity to connect spiritually with the universe and the ancestors. Many Taino women view the full moon as a special time for ceremony individually or collectively.

On the occasion of this full moon one Taino Bibi (Mother/Grandmother), Mildred Karaira Gandia Reyes shared these thoughts “May grandmother Maroia (Moon) always shine upon our spirit, fill our hearts with happiness, love, and guidance in respect and honor of the true Taino way.”

UCTPTN 07.15.2011

7/08/2011

Puerto Rican scholar Ricardo Alegria dies at 90

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Ricardo Alegria, a Puerto Rican scholar known for his pioneering studies of the island's native Taino culture and who is credited with preserving the capital's colonial district, died Thursday. He was 90.

Alegria died at the Cardiovascular Center of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean from complications of heart disease, said his son, Ricardo Alegria Pons. The elder Alegria had been treated for two weeks at the hospital in June and then was hospitalized again Sunday.

"Thanks to his long life of 90 years, he has had a major impact on all aspects of the culture of all Puerto Ricans," his son told reporters. "That work and dedication and love of his country does not disappear with his death."

Gov. Luis Fortuno declared five days of mourning in the U.S. territory, ordering American and Puerto Rican flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of one of the island's leading cultural figures.

Alegria in 1955 helped found and later served as executive director of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, where he was long a passionate advocate of preserving the island's artistic and archaeological heritage. He went on to launch the Graduate Center for Advanced Studies on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in 1976 and received the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Picasso Medal in 1993.

Born April 14, 1921, Alegria earning a master's degree in anthropology and history at the University of Chicago and a doctorate in anthropology at Harvard University.

Source: Associated Press

5/27/2011

Experts solve mystery of ancient stone monument near Atlanta


These two petroglyphs from Puerto Rico and Georgia portrayed
the same supernatural being in identical styles of art. Credit: Richard Thornton

Rock art specialists from around North America have finally solved this century old archaeological riddle. The stone slab is evidence that native peoples from Puerto Rico or Cuba once lived within the interior of Eastern North America.

See the full story at UCTP Taino News...

Source: Examiner.com
Author: Richard Thornton

5/17/2011

Annual UN Indigenous Peoples’ Forum Begins

Todadaho of the Onondaga Nation, giving the Opening Thanksgiving Address at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the General Assembly Hall on Monday, May 16, 2011. The UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, sits behind him on the podium. (Photo credit: Kenneth Deer)

United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - The 10th Annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opened yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York. More than 1300 delegates are expected to attend the forum over the next two weeks. The Permanent Forum (UNPFII) was established to advance the rights of the estimated 370 million Indigenous Peoples around the world.

This year the UNPFII will focus on reviewing progress made on issues ranging from economic and social development to the environment and ‘free, prior and informed consent’.

In his opening statement to the UNPFII,
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007 – finally had the consensus support that it deserved.

“Now we need to make the declaration’s principles a reality,” he said. Mr. Ban also urged participants to raise their “voices” during the forum so that the world can hear about the threats and risks that indigenous communities continue to face.

Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana, a Borikén Taino attending the UNPFII agreed stating “This is a historic process and our people need to be here so our future generations will know that we did not remain silent on issues important to our survival.”

UCTPTN 05.17.2011

5/14/2011

Massive pipeline proposed by island’s governor triggers fierce debate

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor is proposing to solve soaring energy prices on this oil-dependent U.S. island with a massive natural gas pipeline that would cross some of the territory’s most fragile ecosystems and archaeological sites.

Gov. Luis Fortuno has made the $450 million project a central goal of his administration and he insists it is a safe, environment-friendly way to lower utility bills. Critics say the 92-mile (148-kilometer) pipeline will tear up lush green mountains and expose people living near it to deadly explosions.

The pipeline proposal, which Fortuno has dubbed “The Green Way,” also has sparked corruption allegations. The largest contract so far has gone to an engineering firm with no pipeline construction experience that is owned by a childhood friend of the governor. Fortuno has denied any conflicts of interest.

Puerto Rico has long struggled to overcome high power costs and rising world oil prices have hit the territory especially hard; it depends on petroleum to generate nearly 70 percent of its power. Electricity on the island costs about 21 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with an average of 10 cents per kilowatt hour on the U.S. mainland, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The last governor, Anibal Acevedo Vila, proposed a 42-mile (68-kilometer) natural gas pipeline along Puerto Rico’s southern coast, but the $54 million project was scrapped in mid-2009 amid heavy opposition. Fortuno, in the early months of his administration, helped defeat the plan.

This time around, Fortuno is promoting an even larger pipeline proposal, despite similar resistance from activists. Even before he announced the project last August, his administration had awarded about $27 million in contracts — without public bids — for preliminary studies, according to documents filed with Puerto Rico’s Comptroller’s Office.

The documents show the largest contract, worth $9.6 million, went to Ray Engineers PSC, owned by a childhood friend of the governor, Pedro Ray Chacon. Fortuno took a ski trip with Chacon before he became governor, said Ray spokesman Jose Cruz.

While Fortuno has said contracts for preliminary research didn’t require an open bid, senators from the island’s main opposition party are demanding an investigation into how the contracts were awarded.

“This entire process raises serious concerns that lacerate the confidence that people have in their institutions,” Puerto Rico Sen. Cirilo Tirado said in a statement.

At least a dozen municipalities have approved resolutions supporting the project in concept, and it has also been touted by the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and the local Association of Engineers and Surveyors.

“The failure to diversify energy sources has been the kiss of death for Puerto Rico,” said the engineers’ association president, Miguel Torres.

Despite all the political debates, the pipeline only needs final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has been awaiting studies from the island’s energy authority and analysis from other federal agencies before making a ruling.

Government officials say cheaper natural gas brought by the pipeline would save $1 billion a year for the island of 4 million people. The pipeline would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 64 percent, they say.

Puerto Rico’s Electric Energy Authority estimates its customers will see a 30 percent drop in their bills if the pipeline is built.

“The Green Way project is an assured savings for Puerto Rico,” said Daniel Pagan, an engineer with the island’s power company and the project’s environmental consultant.

Controversy over the pipeline has erupted, however, in large part because of its sheer size.

The pipeline would originate in southern Puerto Rico, where billions of cubic feet of liquefied natural gas would be imported and regasified. The line would then bisect the island and veer east until it nearly reaches the capital of San Juan.

It would traverse 235 rivers and wetlands, cut through more than 60 miles (100 kilometers) of the island’s northern Karst region and possibly affect up to 32 endangered species, including the Puerto Rican parrot, crested toad and boa, according to the Corps of Engineers.

The pipeline also would cross 51 communities, placing as many as 23,000 families in danger of possible explosions, according to the nonprofit environmental organization Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas, which is leading the charge against the pipeline.

Archaeologists say the pipeline would run through historic sugar mill ruins and across petroglyphs carved centuries ago by Taino Indians.

Nearly 8,000 people have signed an online petition created by Casa Pueblo to reject the pipeline, and organizers estimate nearly 30,000 people participated in a rainy May 1 protest to demand the project be scrapped.

“This was not a free and competitive process. This was done behind the country’s back,” said Arturo Massol, a microbiology professor and a Casa Pueblo spokesman.

Torres said some fears are exaggerated, because the project’s safety standards are higher than those set by federal agencies.

“What’s important to me is maintenance,” he said. “If maintenance is disregarded, that’s the concern.”

Much of the debate has focused on Fortuno, a rising Republican star who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for national office.

He declared an energy emergency last year that allowed the government to fast-track some energy projects due to the high price of petroleum.

“I signed an executive order to accelerate, not ignore, the permit process,” Fortuno said in a recent statement issued by his office. “Everyone who pays their monthly light bill, or fills up their car tank, knows we are in an emergency of great proportions.”

Attorney Pedro Saade, who is working with Casa Pueblo, said the action shortened the required period the public had to learn about the project or file lawsuits to stop it.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois born to Puerto Rican parents, is a leading critic of the project and Fortuno. He has called the governor’s publicity push for the pipeline, which includes “Green Way” billboards erected around the island, an “Orwellian ad campaign.”

Gutierrez noted that as a gubernatorial candidate, Fortuno had said it would be a “grave mistake” to depend on natural gas.

“Now, he enthusiastically supports not just gas pipelines, but a much bigger, more environmentally disruptive and more expensive pipeline,” Gutierrez said.

Fortuno responded by reminding the congressman that natural gas kept him warm during the bitter East Coast winter.

“I hope he’s not pretending,” Fortuno said, “that he and the people who are in Congress have more rights than those of us who live in Puerto Rico.”

Author:
Danica Coto
Source: The Associated Press

5/06/2011

U.S Senate Committee Discusses Stereotypes and Indigenous Peoples

Apache Warrior Geronimo was discussed at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Washington, D.C. (UCTP Taino News) – The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an Oversight Hearing entitled ‘Stolen Identities: The Impact of Racist Stereotypes on Indigenous People’ on Thursday. Several Native American leaders and advocates were invited to testify. The hearing also focused on the U.S. military’s use of the code name Geronimo during the mission that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Speaking at the hearing Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) stated "I find the association with bin Laden to be highly inappropriate and culturally insensitive," The Senator continued noting that the incident “highlights a serious issue… a socially ingrained acceptance of derogatory portrayals of indigenous peoples."

Geronimo's great-grandson, Harlyn Geronimo, released a statement calling the use of the Geronimo name ‘insulting and slanderous’.

American Indians from around the Nation are calling for an official apology.

In an official statement submitted to the Senate Committee, the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) not only called for an apology but a ban on the use of American Indian names, iconography, and icons in the U.S. military. The UCTP noted as that many Native Americans – including the Taino People – continue to serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces this practice is not only ‘offensive’ but promotes ‘racial stereotypes.’

UCTPTN 05.06.2011

5/04/2011

ACLU: Puerto Rico has pattern of police brutality

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A celebrity-enhanced ACLU delegation criticized Puerto Rico's government Tuesday for using police to keep the island's main university system open during a strike over a new fee, with members saying they found clear evidence in which officers abused students during the protests.

The delegation, which included Oscar-nominated actress Rosie Perez and former major league baseball player Carlos Delgado, said the initial findings of a fact-finding mission found a pattern of excessive police force over the past 18 months involving students, union leaders and journalists.

Their final report, which will be presented to the U.S. Justice Department, is expected by September.

Perez said at a news conference that she was overwhelmed by the testimony of students who said they were brutalized or sexually harassed and groped by police during a series of violent clashes over the $800 fee and budget cuts.

"I was really appalled as to how many of the adults treated many of the young people whether the young people were right or wrong," Perez said. "Yes, there were some bad apples, there were many bad apples in the bunch, but even they have certain rights."

Puerto Rico last year appointed an independent monitor for its police department and announced additional training in April for all officers in response to repeated allegations of brutality and misconduct.

Puerto Rico's Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock, who met with the ACLU delegation along with other island officials, faulted the delegates for announcing their preliminary findings so quickly, saying it suggested they had reached their conclusions before they had started. He said he urged them to expand their focus to include the rights of students and teachers who wanted to go to classes despite the months of protests at island campuses.

"The rights of those thousands of students should be equally entitled to ACLU interest and protection as the rights of the hundreds who participated in the demonstrations," he said.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in response that the group agrees that students have a right to attend classes but that local authorities went to far in using police to keep the university open.

"The university cannot be kept open at any cost," he said.

Source: Associated Press

4/25/2011

Santa Rosa Carib Queen Medina dies

Arima, Trinidad (UCTP Taíno News) – Elder Valentina Medina, the Carib Queen of the Santa Rosa Carib Community of Trinidad passed away on April 23, 2011. Queen Medina succumbed to complications arising from breast cancer. She was 78 years old.

Medina was the fifth Carib Queen since the introduction of the title in 1875. She served the community in this capacity for 11 years.

Chief of the Santa Rosa Carib Community Ricardo Hernandez-Bharath, who visited Medina just before her passing, stated “she had served her community well.”

Commenting to local news sources Hernandez-Bharath noted that "there will definitely be an indigenous service on the day of the funeral."

The Santa Rosa Carib Council will meet to discuss the appointment of a new Queen in one month.

UCTPTN 04.25.2011

4/19/2011

New York Peace and Dignity Run

Flushing, Queens (UCTP Taino News) - This Earth Day weekend, a spiritual run will take place in Flushing Meadow Park on Sunday, April 24th. An Indigenous Peoples initiative, the New York Peace and Dignity Run is being held in honor of Mother Earth and in preparation for the upcoming continental Peace and Dignity Journey beginning in May of 2012.

Organized by Raphael Landron and Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana, the day will begin with a sunrise ceremony at the Unisphere (large globe) at 6am -7:30am. Miguel Sague, a Siboney Taino from Cuba will lead the opening ceremony and blessing of the sacred staffs the runners will carrying. Native Elders and community leaders are invited to share words and blessings during the opening ceremony.

Following the sunrise ceremony at 8am, a community walk led by elders and community leaders will begin to the lake. At 9am, designated runners will then run the sacred community staffs for approximately 6 miles around the lake.

Mexica (Aztec) dance and native drumming will close the run beginning at 12noon. Organizers are requesting that persons interested in supporting the run, please bring food to share for a communal meal. This is an alcohol, drug, and weapon free event.

For more information contact Raphael Landron at 646-730-5940 or visit http://boriken2010peaceanddignityjourney.blogspot.com/ .

UCTPTN 04.19.2011

4/18/2011

Río Cayrabón- It’s time to fix a historic mistake

Borikén (Puerto Rico) - A group of San Lorenzo citizens of Ciudad Samaritana have requested that the bicentenary celebration of San Lorenzo, be the ideal moment for renaming the most famous river existing in Puerto Rico. This river is well known as “El Río Grande de Loíza” which emerged in a famous poem written by the Julia de Burgos; however by not designating the correct name constitutes an historic mistake, which is “Río Cayrabón”- already well known by its given name long before it was renamed after the famous poem.

“We understand that poems should not have the power to change our land’s history. This river commences to stream in “Barrio Espino” in San Lorenzo and it’s called “Río Cayrabón”, as it’s well mentioned in songs by Ismael González and Rafaelito Muñoz because the brook begins at the San Lorenzo Barrio and not in Loíza”. Appealing before the San Lorenzo Bicentenary Committee (Comité del Bicentenario de San Lorenzo) and Mayor Hon. José R. Román Abreu, this element of history should be correctly used to educate people from San Lorenzo and Puerto Rico.

The appeals committee position has ample historic fundaments, for which while they were doing theses researches about Loíza they found that the “conquistadors came to the territory known today as Loíza, governed by a “cacica” named “Loíza” or “Yuisa” in a territory known as “Jaymanio” in the Cayrabón’s channel.

This reveals that the river’s name existed even before that the foundation of Loíza’s County. Calling it “Río Grande de Loíza” is an ignominy to San Lorenzo’s citizens and to the indigenous legacy that named it as “Cayrabón”.

This river is born at the top of the mountains at “La Sierra de Cayey” at 3,500 ft over sea level. It passes through the municipalities of San Lorenzo, Caguas, Gurabo, Trujillo Alto, Carolina, Canóvanas and Loíza. It is forty miles long until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.

In the “US Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System”, the “Río Grande de Loíza” appears with this name and includes variations of its name, all related to Loíza, but it does not mention “El Río Cayrabán”. This information was compiled by the Federal Agency in 1983, for which the citizens of San Lorenzo are requesting to the Bicentenary Committee to make the necessary procedures intended to rectify this embarrassing blunder in official, federal and local documents.

And, a number of poets have written songs using the correct name of the river, like Rafael Marcano Blanco in “Río Grande Cayrabón”; “ Great Lord of the waters, dear older brother, of my early childhood – Gran Señor de las Aguas, querido hermano mayor, de mi temprana infancia”. And Elliot Dávila Galarza; “Río Cayrabón, Río Cayrabón, where your heartbeat starts, at Barrio Espino” - “Río Cayrabón, Río Cayrabón, que comienza a latir tu corazón, en el Barrio Espino.

Autor: Salvador Lasanta
Source: www.elperiodicopr.com
Translated by Nichole Bodin

4/15/2011

Rep. Gutierrez's Remarks on Puerto Rico Natural Gas Pipeline Project

"It’s time they stop doing things the 'Via Verde' way and start doing things the right way"

(Washington, DC) – Continuing a series of speeches the Congressman has delivered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on the civil and human rights crisis in Puerto Rico, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) today addressed a proposed natural gas pipeline project that is being pushed by the Governor of Puerto Rico and his party.

The so-called "Via Verde" -- or "Green Way" -- is a 92 mile cross island project that has not received sufficient study or public scrutiny because it is being promoted as a response to an "energy emergency."

Rep. Gutierrez announced he has filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests for information from all federal agencies that have addressed the project and asked the Army Corps of Engineers to

" o deny the permit request for the pipeline until experts testify, permits are applied for, community meetings are held, and environmental impact studies are done."

The following are the Congressman's remarks, delivered at approximately 10:00 a.m. ET, as prepared for delivery, REP. GUTIERREZ:

Mr. Speaker I rise today to talk once again about Puerto Rico, but this time it's a little different.

I rise to note that Governor Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico has actually said something that I can agree with.

Speaking about a proposed gas pipeline, the Republican Governor said, “We can’t continue to depend on fossil fuels. Gasoducto is fossil fuels.”

He went on to say that “tying us down to natural gas for 30 years would be a grave mistake.”

He was referring to the construction of a natural gas pipeline on an island where the beautiful beaches, mountains and rain forests are both irreplaceable natural resources and part of the economic engine that drives tourism

-- a gas pipeline that sounds like a dubious proposition.

And I agree.

Mr. Fortuño spoke these words two years ago, as a candidate, criticizing his opponent.

Sadly, now that he is safely in office, Governor Fortuño has changed his mind.

Now, he enthusiastically supports not just gas pipelines, but a much bigger, more environmentally disruptive and more expensive pipeline.

And how the construction of this gigantic, super-sized pipeline is being handled is another reason I must speak out

-- again -- on the civil rights crisis in Puerto Rico.

The ruling party would rather people not notice that Mister Fortuño and Governor Fortuño have opposite positions on gas pipelines.

So they are working hard to move this project forward under the cover of night.

Every day – the ruling party answers this question:

If you wanted to undertake a potentially dangerous, economically dubious, environmentally disastrous and extremely unpopular project – how would you go about it?

Here’s the ruling party's answer:

You circumvent feasibility studies.

You avoid environmental impact studies.

You ignore the standard permitting and licensing procedures.

And you take every step possible to eliminate public hearings and public scrutiny.

But how do you proceed without these necessary safeguards and information?

If you are the government of Puerto Rico, and you want to build a 92 mile natural gas pipeline over the mountains; through forests, lakes and rivers; and across critical groundwater systems in Puerto Rico, you would amend a law designed to deal with natural disasters so you can bypass the normal permitting and public process.

What this ruling party does is declare an "energy emergency.”

This government’s “energy emergency” allows the pipeline to proceed

-- despite warnings from the Sierra Club, the environmental group Casa Pueblo, and even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.

--- Despite residents’ concerns that it will be constructed near schools, churches and residential areas.

--- Despite geologists noting it is near earthquake faults and that there have been 2,500 seismic events in the last 3 years and one felt all over the island just 2 days ago.

The self-declared “energy emergency” also helps hide the fact that you’ve given a ten million dollar contract to a pal of the Governor’s who has no experience at all in constructing gas pipelines. He does, however, have experience skiing with the governor.

And maybe that’s why you run a slick, taxpayer funded PR campaign that renames the project "The Via Verde" -- "the green way."

So, instead of speaking to the huge financial, human and environmental costs -- this Orwellian ad campaign calls a gas pipeline over the mountains and through the woods a "green way." Like a lot of people, I think it would be better to name it “Green away"... a magical cleanser you apply to your forests, rivers and lakes, to make them go away...along with millions of green tax dollars.

Here’s an even more honest name for the project: the “wrong way.” Because it’s wrong to spend the people's money on a project they don’t want and hasn’t been appropriately studied, as the newspaper El Nuevo Día has shown in a series of reports. Candidate Fortuño was right. Governor Fortuño is wrong.

To shine some light on this matter, I have sent Freedom of Information Act requests to every and all federal agencies that have addressed the pipeline project.

I will release the results so that the people know who their government is meeting with, what documents exist, and what studies have been done to show the need for this project.

Furthermore, I have already urged the Army Corps of Engineers to deny the permit request for the pipeline until experts testify, permits are applied for, community meetings are held, and environmental impact studies are done.

Maybe the government can make the case for this project in the light of day.

But they shouldn’t be asking for a verdict without presenting their facts to the people first.

It’s time they stop doing things the "Via Verde" way and start doing things the right way.


Source: Douglas Rivlin (douglas.rivlin@mail.house.gov)

4/06/2011

PRico sees increase in blacks, American Indians

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—The number of Puerto Ricans identifying themselves solely as black or American Indian jumped about 50 percent in the last decade, according to new census figures that have surprised experts and islanders alike.

The increase suggests a sense of racial identity may be growing among the various ethnic groups that have long been viewed as a blurred racial mosaic on the U.S. territory, although experts say it is too soon to say what caused the shift.

"It truly breaks with a historic pattern," said Jorge Duany, an anthropology professor at the University of Puerto Rico.

The growth in those calling themselves black or American Indian reduced the population share of Puerto Ricans who identify themselves solely as white. That group dropped nearly 8 percentage points to about 76 percent of the island's 3.7 million people.

More than 461,000 islanders identified themselves solely as black, a 52 percent increase, while nearly 20,000 said they were solely American Indian, an almost 49 percent increase.

Experts said several factors could have influenced the rise in the number of people who identify themselves as black.

Duany said the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president might have influenced some to call themselves black as the high-profile leader dispelled negative stereotypes about their race.

The jump in numbers of blacks also coincided with a push to highlight Puerto Rico's black population, with the Department of Education offering for the first time a high school book that deals solely with their history.

In addition, there was a grassroots effort to target dark-skinned Puerto Ricans through social media websites including Facebook that urged them to identify themselves as "Afro-Puerto Rican" in the 2010 census.

It was an option that appealed to Barbara Abadia-Rexach, a 30-year-old sociology and anthropology professor at the University of Puerto Rico.

On the 2000 census form, she and several relatives had reluctantly identified themselves as black or African-American.

"I don't identify with that although we are black Puerto Ricans," she said. "But it is a formal structure, and we have to live with it."

The island's population is a fusion of races where phrases such as "coffee with milk" abound to identify various varieties of skin color.

"There is no authentic or pure race," Abadia-Rexach said. "We are all mixed."

Puerto Ricans are known as "boricuas," a name derived from the Taino Indian word for the island's indigenous people who were colonized by the Spaniards.

One possible reason for the increase in Puerto Ricans who identify themselves as American Indian is that the U.S. Census Bureau allowed responders to write down their tribe.

That was enough to get Naniki Reyes Ocasio to check the American Indian designation.

In previous censuses, the 63-year-old member of the United Confederation of Taino People refrained from picking that category. She didn't identify with being an American Indian since it did not include the word "Caribbean" in its description.

With the change, she traveled around with other Taino confederation members to show people how to complete the form and teach them about the new option.

"We can rewrite ourselves within history," she said. "I used to check 'Other' because there was nowhere else I could place myself."

Author: Danica Coto
Source: Associated Press

3/28/2011

U.S. Census Shows Increase in Borikén’s Indigenous Population

Borikén/Puerto Rico (UCTP Taino News) - The 2010 U.S. Census count for Borikén (Puerto Rico) had some significant surprises. The census reveals a 48.8 percent gain over the last 2000 census in the American Indian category, which is a verifiable resurgence of indigenous affirmation among families on the island. With DNA research documenting the continuation of the pre-Colombian indigenous Taino gene-pool and the increasing visibility of active Taino community organizations and cultural manifestations – the myth of extinction is finally being dispelled.

The Director of the United Confederation of Taino People’s Borikén Liaison Office, Roger Guayakan Hernandez attributes the increase in the census count to expansion of information and communications technologies available today.

"We have always been here but recently there has been an explosion of pertinent information regarding Borikén's indigenous heritage. The difference is that now there are more ways to get the information to the people" stated Hernandez.

Hernandez noted that the Confederation, an official Census partner, used the increased focus on Taino heritage as well as new technologies like social networks in its campaign to raise awareness about the census process.

With the 2010 U.S. Census counting 19,839 individuals living in Puerto Rico officially claiming American Indian heritage, the Taino community is indeed becoming visible after two centuries of near invisibility.

Hernandez continued stating that "the whole chapter on the Caribbean's Amerindian history is being reexamined and supports the affirmation of indigenous descendant families on and even off the island”.

A 1790 Puerto Rican Census count in an area called “Las Indieras documented fewer than 3,000 ‘Indios (Indians)’ on the western side of the island. Since then, with official census terminology changing to discount the indigenous population, a reversal has taken place revealing how Taino families see themselves in the 21st Century.

"Colonial history may have counted us out in Puerto Rico, but today the Taino People have clearly counted ourselves back in" declared Hernandez.

UCTPTN 03.28.2011

3/18/2011

LATIN AMERICAN ARTS FESTIVAL in NY

The American Museum of Natural History's Latin American Arts Festival highlights the richness and diversity of creative art forms practiced in various Latin American cultures. Experience Aztec dances, mariachi, Andean and Taino music performances, poetry, and an instrument-making workshop, and meet contemporary artists in the Museum’s cultural halls.

Saturday, March 19, 2011
FREE and open to the public.

Program Schedule


- Opening Ceremony, Noon: A 'Call to the 4 Directions' by Atl-Tlachinolli at the 77th Street entrance and art tables open in the Hall of Mexico and Central America and the Hall of South American Peoples.

- Cuatro Music Presentation, 12:30 pm, Hall of Mexico and Central America: La Rondalla de Cuatros de la La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, a cuatro music ensemble highlights this stringed instrument used in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America.

- Aztec Dance, 1 pm, Hall of Mexico and Central America: Atl-Tlachinolli, a Mexica dance group, performs the centuries-old indigenous ritual dance traditions of the Aztecs using pre-Columbian instruments, rhythms, and regalia.

- Spoken Word, 1:35 pm, Hall of Mexico and Central America: Acclaimed poets “La Bruja” Caridad De La Luz and Taina Padro will present a special spoken word set linking ancestral heritage to contemporary identity.

- Mariachi Music Presentation, 2 pm, Hall of Mexico and Central America: Directed by Alvaro Paulino Jr., members of the Mariachi Tapatio de Alvaro Paulino and the Mariachi Mano a Mano promote the beauty and splendor of mariachi music.

- Workshop: Ceramic Instrument-Making, 2:30 pm, Hall of South American Peoples: Patricia Aranibar leads participants through an adventure with clay to create whistles and ocarinas (clay flutes).

- Songs from Borikén, la Isla del Encanto, 3 pm, Hall of Mexico and Central America: Margarita Nogueras-Vidal (Taíno) presents songs from the mountains of Borikén (Puerto Rico).

- Cantos quechuas/ Songs from the Quechua Traditions, 3:30 pm, Hall of South American Peoples: Milagros Albrecht, accompanied by musicians from AbyaYala Arte y Cultura, brings to life the sounds and the feeling of the Peruvian Andes through Quechua songs.

- Andean Musical Procession, 3:45 pm, Hall of Mexico to Hall of South American Peoples: Tahuantinsuyo, a group of traditional Andean musicians, will lead a pre-Columbian style Andean music procession. The procession will introduce audiences to the sounds and instruments used in the days of the Incas through modern times.

- Andean Music Performance, 4:15 pm, Hall of South American Peoples: Tahuantinsuyo will perform music from the ancient Incan empire, now the countries of Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Colombia.

Programs are subject to change.


This program is co-presented with Cultura Mexicana Sin Fronteras; PR Dream/Media Noche; United Confederation of Taíno People; Latinos NYC; La Diva Latina Magazine; La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Inc.; Kichwa Nation; and Abya Yala Arte y Cultura

Source: amnh.org

3/16/2011

Earthquake of the Coast of Kiskeia and Boriken


UCTP Taino News - At 9:43 AM Atlantic Standard Time on March 16, an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 5.4 occurred of the coast of the Kiskeia (Dominican Republic), 80 miles/129 Km northwest of Mayaguez, Borikén (Puerto Rico) . The magnitude is such that a tsunami will not be generated. The location and magnitude are based on preliminary information. Further information will be issued by the United States Geological Survey or the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.

UCTPTN 03.16.2011

3/11/2011

Public Notice: 03.11.2011

United Confederation of Taino People pauses in its work to recognize the families of those affected by the recent earthquake in Japan, the tsunami in Hawaii, and to endorse the World Day of Solidarity with the Students of the UPR.

2/22/2011

Exhibit Exploring Ties Between Native and African Americans to Close

Suffern, NY (UCTP Taino News) – The exhibit, "IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas" is on view at Rockland Community College through March 9 as part of school’s Black History Month celebration. The exhibition explores the complex relationships between Native Americans and African-Americans.

According to the exhibit: "African and Native peoples came together in the Americas . Over centuries, African-Americans and Native Americans created shared histories, communities, families and ways of life. Prejudice, laws and twists of history have often divided them from others, yet African-Native American people were united in the struggle against slavery and dispossession, and then for self-determination and freedom."

This Saturday, February 26, a day long program delving deeper into the issues will take place at Rockland Community College Tech Center, 2nd Floor, 145 College Rd., in Suffern, NY. This special closing program will feature musical and dance presentations, story-telling, personal reflections, and theatrical readings. Saturday’s program will also feature two distinguished lectures including “What Does a Real Indian Look Like?” by Prof. Heriberto Dixon and “Native American-Caribbean Connections” by Roberto Múkaro Agueibana Borrero (Taíno).

A closing blessing will be shared by Sachem (Chief) Dwaine Perry of the Ramapo Mountain Indians of New Jersey. For further information about the exhibition or the program call (845) 574-4396.

UCTPTN 02.22.2011

2/16/2011

Williams is the first Kalinago Lawyer in Dominica

Waitikubuli/Dominica (UCTP Taino News) – Pearl Diane Williams, is the first indigenous Kalinago Carib person from Waitikubuli (Dominica) and possibly the Eastern Caribbean to be admitted to the Bar in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Ms. Williams pursued her bachelors degree in Law at the Cave-Hill Campus at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, where she successfully completed her degree with second class honours.

Miss Williams was one of the first indigenous persons from the Eastern Caribbean to have benefited from the Sir Arthur Lewis Indigenous Scholarship program launched in 2005. After she completed her studies in Barbados, she proceeded to the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago where she successfully obtained the Legal Education Certificate, which qualified her to be admitted to the Bar in Dominica.

Miss Williams is the daughter of Margaret and Charles Williams (former Kalinago Carib Chief of Waitikubuli/Dominica). The young lawyer believes that the Indigenous Peoples in the region have not been inadequately recognized and represented but that her calling to the Bar signifies a “new beginning” for her people.

UCTPTN 02.16.2011

2/11/2011

Opinion Editorial: Native Blood in Borikén (Puerto Rico)

UCTP Taino News - Many of us are by now aware that in the year 2000 a DNA study was done that proved scientifically the continued presence of Native American descendants in Borikén (Puerto Rico). The results of the study showed that approximately 62% of the island's population is of indigenous descent on via their maternal line. This news created an uproar - mostly from those who denied that our indigenous ancestors had survived the Caribbean 'holocaust'. On the positive side however similar studies were then conducted in both Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Surprisingly to some the results of those tests showed that 20% to 30% of the current populations of those islands were also of Native American/American Indian/Indigenous descent.

The persons who argued against Taino survival were very quick to counter that `thousands' of Natives from various parts of the mainland were transported to the Greater Antilles to be sold as slaves. The skeptics claimed that this was what was showing up as Indigenous DNA. Based on this theory they argued that DNA testing could not be taken into consideration as `proof' of Taino survival. Well, these 'naysayers' were wrong again; at least in Borikén.

In 2010, deeper investigation into the DNA of the current population in Borikén have shown that out of all the samples taken on the island only 16% were from an outside source. Without any doubt the results of the studies show that 84% of the DNA material comes from the original population or a 'single tribe' of the island.

One of my personal spiritual teachers always said "that we can all trace our roots to the Great Tree of Peace." Again, the DNA studies have shown that the islands of the Caribbean were a crossroads where many different Native nations encountered each other and blended. This blending between peoples from the North American Continent and the Central and South American Continent was already taking place before the European invaders landed on our shores.

It is true that Indigenous Peoples were taken by the thousands from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela as well as the USA and sold all over the Caribbean and beyond. In my view this unfortunate situation only contributed to an already ancient mix. Add to this blend, some European, African, and even Asia components and there we are. Welcome to the Caribbean. When I reflect on these things what I find most incredible is that despite the incoming waves of outside genetic material, our ancestral Taino linage remains strong and in much larger percentages then ever suspected.

Of all the Taino homeland islands today, Borikén seems to retain the highest Taino survival rate according to the data so far. This should not be considered a mystery simply because the island was not a main point of the Spanish colonial enterprise when compared to Cuba or Kiskeia (Dominican Republic). It is well known that the Spanish conquest of the Borikén did not begin until 15 years after that of Kiskeia. Compared to other regions, there was never much gold and due to its size and mountainous terrain, Borikén was not considered the best candidate for a full plantation economy. As a result, fewer colonists arrived on our shores during the first few hundred years after the Spanish invasion. In fact, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that large numbers of colonists of European decent began to move into the interior of the island. This was a result of virtual neglect from Spain. What is important to remember about this situation is that it also allowed Taino survivors the opportunity to live in relative peace - as long as they could be considered Christians and spoke Spanish.

This is the reason why we find so many Boricua Taino people on and off the island with much larger percentages of Taino linage when a review of their autosomal DNA is conducted. Here numbers range from anywhere between 17% to 45%.

While these results may have their place in our struggle, I am of the opinion that the tests should not be used to divide our communities. I know many who would not want to see a situation created where `blood quantum' becomes a divisive issue for us. We can see how much damage and pain that system has created for others. Our ancestral lineage comes through our descent, and it is my view that this fact should be enough. In the meantime, we must continue to spread the news of our survival and work together to reclaim our rights as the true descendants of a proud and noble people.

Author: Domingo "Turey" Hernandez
Source: UCTP Taino News 02.11.2011


Domingo "Turey" Hernandez is a Borikén Taino whose family comes from Arecibo. He is registered with the United Confederation of Taino Peoples' Taino Population Census and Inter-Tribal Registry and is a member of Iukaieke Guaina and the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle.

2/04/2011

Taíno Artist Donates Images to Confederation


UCTP Taíno News – Taíno artist Joe “Doc Sunshine” Leon has donated the use of a series of art works to the United Confederation of Taino People to assist fund raising efforts. The series is focused on the theme ‘Proud to be Taino”. Leon feels strongly that his life has been enriched by his indigenous cultural experiences and that “he must return this gift”.

The artist did his studies at New York University, the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League. Leon has since pursued a career as an award winning commercial artist for over 30 years.

The Confederation is now promoting the series via its online store at www.cafepress.com/tainoshop. The works will also be available at local festivals and events.

UCTPTN 02.04.2011

2/01/2011

YES – THERE ARE AMERINDIAN CHILDREN IN BARBADIAN SCHOOLS! Opinion from Damon Corrie

"My wife and I kept our last daughter Laliwa Hadali (Yellow Butterfly of the Sun) home from school on Friday January 28th 2011 today because it was her 4th birthday, and 4 & 9 are sacred numbers to us."

Fellow Barbadians,

I am tired of my own Arawak children and other Amerindian children in Barbadian schools (some 40 children in all) being told by mis-educated or ill-informed teachers that the tribe to which they belong ‘no longer exists’ so therefore they cannot possibly be who they say they are. For the information of these ’educators’ there are almost 20,000 Arawaks STILL in Guyana, 2,000 in Suriname, about 1,000 in French Guiana, and around 200 in Venezuela to this day! Also for the record – we do NOT call ourselves ‘Arawaks‘, it is not even a word in our language, we call ourselves ‘Lokono’ which means in English ‘The People’ (Columbus nearly got it right when he wrote that the name of our tribe was ‘Lucayo’); but for the sake of familiarity I shall use the word ‘Arawak’ throughout this letter.

Also good to note is the fact that the word ‘Amerindian’ is merely an abbreviation of two words ‘American‘ and ‘Indian‘, so technically it can be correctly used to describe any Indigenous tribe of the Western Hemisphere except the Inuit (mistakenly called ‘Eskimos‘); many erroneously believe that 'Amerindians' are from Guyana and 'American Indians' are from the USA; but we are all one indigenous race in this so-called ‘New World‘ – just different tribes.

I decided to write this article to hopefully open the minds of my fellow citizens to a little-known (seemingly ‘unknown‘ as far as I can tell) fact about our multi-ethnic Society. My maternal grandmother emigrated to Barbados from Guyana in 1925 with her 5 other siblings and mother – who was the sole surviving child of the last Hereditary Lokono-Arawak Chief in Guyana. My Great grandmother Princess Marian was the first member of the ruling family of her tribe to be Christianised and receive a Western Education, this was done by the Anglican missionary Reverend Percy Austin who was trained at Codrington College in Barbados before being sent into the interior of Guyana among the indigenous tribes; Rev Austin later became the Bishop of Guyana.

Though accepting of Christianity, Great-grandmother – as do I, my wife, and our children, never rejected her Arawak religious beliefs and maintained them BOTH throughout her life, for they are compatible if you know the core values they both espouse.

In the Arawak tribe there is no word for ‘Prince‘ or ‘Princess‘, the children of the traditional leader of the tribe (which was always a hereditary position) were merely called the ‘Sons or daughters of the Chief‘. It was the English speaking British colonial society who gave my Great grandmother the title of ’Princess Marian of the Arawaks‘ when she was introduced to the then visiting Prince of Wales who visited Guyana in the early 1920′s; so out of respect that title remained with her for the rest of her life.

Great grandmother died in Barbados in 1928 and is buried here in Westbury Cemetary – the only known burial site of an Arawak noble in the entire English-speaking Caribbean. Her daughter Hannah, who is my beloved grandmother – is 97 years old and still alive, residing on ‘Arawak Road in Chancery Lane (no pun intended); however all of her 5 other siblings are now deceased. My grandmother married Barbadian George Cecil Corbin, her sister Ruth married Barbadian Philip Serrao, and sister Martha married Barbadian Keith Chandler – and from these 3 sisters who spent the rest of their lives here there are just over 100 persons of Arawak descent in my family born in this country, and about 20 of them are still students within the educational system of Barbados; not mentioning at least 20 more Amerindian children I know personally at school in Barbados today.

I returned to my Great grandmother’s tribe in Guyana on the 500th anniversary of Columbus setting foot in the New World (OUR day of infamy & Holocaust) and at the age of 19 married my then 17 year old Arawak wife, Shirling, we had 5 children together, 4 born on tribal land on Pakuri Arawak Territory in Guyana (who are Barbadian citizens by descent through me), and one born in Barbados at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (a Guyanese citizen by descent through her mother), with one - my first daughter, buried on tribal land on Pakuri Arawak Territory in Guyana where she died as a baby of 3 days.

My wife and I kept our last daughter Laliwa Hadali (Yellow Butterfly of the Sun) home from school on Friday January 28th 2011 today because it was her 4th birthday, and 4 & 9 are sacred numbers to us. All Arawak children will traditionally receive Yuri (Tobacco) smoke blessings at the age of 4 & 9 and have a song written for them on each of those birthdays, if a girl, her next song will be the longest and one she must memorise for the rest of her life during her 9 day long puberty rite of passage, my eldest daughter may have hers any day now, it is determined by the appearance of the first menses and not by age; she is 12, some see it at 11, some 13.

The puberty rite will be the first and most important rite of passage for my daughters, second is her marriage ceremony, 3rd her first childbirth, and 4th her first grandchild being born; but the puberty rite is the FOUNDATION for all that follow and will determine the positivity/negativity of those that follow it.

If my daughter’s time comes during the school term – we as her parents will have no choice but to keep her at home for those 9 days so that her rite can be completed according to our ancient traditions and religious practises; and according to the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples which the Government of Barbados (as well as every other Government on Earth) has officially endorsed, we have the right to do this.

Article 11 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reads:

1. Indigenous Peoples have the right to practise and revitalise their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.

Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reads:

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.

This brings me to the point of Barbadian Society, I applaud the accommodations that the Ministry of Education has made for Muslim children, for Hindu children, for Rastafarian children, and all I now ask is for the same respect to be shown for Amerindian children who follow their traditional religious beliefs – such as my own children.

Yours sincerely,

Damon Gerard Corrie

PS - here is the song I wrote for my daughter on her birthday – and sang to her that night as we asked for the Creator to bless her.

LALIWA YENI (Yellow Butterfly’s song)
ADAYAHULI URAKO AYUNBANA
,
(Creator in the spirit world,)
ADUKA TOHOBO LOKO ILONTHO
,
(see this Arawak girl,)
DAKOTA LALIWA TO BUNAHA
(show Yellow Butterfly the path,)
TO HEBEYONO KAMUNKA KONA
.
(The ancestors have walked.)

Artice source: The Bajan Reporter

1/24/2011

Available now: The Voice of the Taino People, Vol. 14, Issue 1, Jan. - March 2011

The Voice of the Taíno People is the Official News Journal of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) and is distributed by the UCTP Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination, Volume 14, Issue 1, Jan. – March 2011, All Rights Reserved ; ISSN 1553-9350. In this issue: OAS Regional Meeting Includes Caribbean ; U.S. Endorses Declaration ; Taino Author releases Children’s Book ; Taino Youth Say No to the Pipeline ; Announcements and Events.

Review and download now at:
http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=46&&Itemid=38

The Voice of the Taino People News Journal is designed to be and functions as a different entity than our online news services located at www.uctp.org and beyond. There are stories and features included in the print edition that are not always included online. Likewise, there are features online that are not always included in the print editions. The United Confederation of Taino People strives to provide many media options that will serve the different needs of our diverse community. We hope that our readers find utility in several of our products, and we appreciate your continued support.