Dominica, West Indies (UCTP Taíno News) – December 9th, 2012 marked another historic day in the annuals of the history of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples as it marked the founding of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organisation (CADO). The founding board of this Caribbean-based initiative includes well-known members of the Lokono Arawak, Kalinago Carib, and the Taíno Indigenous Nations. The group will focus on various projects to restore and or promote the tangible and intangible Amerindian culture and heritage throughout the islands, and be registered officially as a non-profit in Watikubuli (Dominica), Eastern Caribbean.
A collective statement by CADO noted that “"We are coming together to bring benefits to our peoples as best as we can. Being traditionalists as we all are, 'Development' is understood by us to be that which restores as much of our tangible and intangible heritage as has been lost and ensuring that as much as possible of it is taken into the future in the hearts and minds of the generations yet unborn that will follow us down the red road of our ancestors."
CADO’s founding board highlights gender and regional balance with the following members Shirling Simon-Corrie (Lokono), Damon Corrie (Lokono), Louisette Auguiste (Kalinago), Irvince Auguiste (Kalinago), Migdalia Ma. Pellicier (Taíno), and Roberto Mukaro Borrero (Taíno). From their spiritual perspective, and in their Caribbean traditionalist Amerindian Cosmovision, the 3 tribal nations are of the same maternal umbilical cord/tree of life, with a base/roots in the Lokono South, a middle/ solid trunk in the Kalinago center, and top/crown; branches in the Taino North.
Members are all experienced indigenous rights advocates participating throughout the region locally, nationally, and internationally at such forums as the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Justifiably, the CADO motto is "Dedicated to the Preservation and Promotion of Amerindian Cultural Heritage, and the Implementation of Internationally Recognized Rights of Indigenous Peoples"
The groups contends that while it is well known that Caribbean Indigenous Peoples were the first to suffer “historical colonialism's cruel fate,” they are the “least listened to” of all Indigenous Peoples in the Western hemisphere. CADO members also affirm that Amerindians still suffer the effects of present-day neo-colonialism in the Caribbean, which continues to ignore indigenous existence or marginalize contemporary communities and organizations. From the perspective of its founding members, CADO’s regional perspective emphasizes, not only the spirit of resistance to assimilation, but also of the calls for Caribbean Amerindian unity. As such, the founders of CADO plan to move forward as “one blood, one mind, and one spirit.”
As Bob Marley prophesied, “as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.”
St. Thomas, USVI (UCTP Taino News) - Opia Taino of St. Thomas and the United Confederation of Taino People adopted a Declaration of Unity on Sunday, December 2nd at Magens Bay, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The historic treaty was ratified in a special ceremony by Maekiaphan and Tesroy Phillips and other members of the local Taino and Carib community represented by Opia Taino and Roberto Mukaro Borrero, representing the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP).
“This is a significant moment in our collective history” stated Borrero. “We are affirming and honoring our ancestral connections across the region in an effort to promote our ancient Indigenous heritage to our present and future generations.”
Maekiaphan Phillips agreed stating, “I personally feel that the signing of this treaty was extremely important and significant, not only by words but by documentation so that we secure not only our past, but protect our future generations, and dismiss the myth that Taino People are extinct.“
She continued, noting that “The signing of the Treaty out at Magens Bay, an actual ancient Amerindian site here in the Virgin Islands, displayed the utmost respect for our ancestors”
|Senator-elect Myron Jackson, Maekiaphan Phillips, Roberto Boreero, Tesory Phillips, Ayesha Morris, and local children take part in the treaty signing in Magens Bay, St. Thomas.|
Also in attendance were Senator-elect, the honorable Myron Jackson, Ayesha Morris of the Virgin Islands Humanities Council, and other prominent members of the local community. The ceremony included a procession around the Magens Bay Arboretum, a conservancy of nearly three quarter of a mile featuring indigenous and exotic plant and tree species. The Arboretum is the site of an ancient indigenous settlement, as well as a colonial-era plantation. Located on the North (Atlantic) side of the island, Magens Bay features a well-protected, world renowned white sand beach.
“If we do not display unity, the myth of us being savage will then prove to be true” states Phillips. “I feel it is important for all Taíno People to embrace each other so that our future generations will be honored to not only say we are the descendants of the Taíno, but we are Taíno.”
St. Thomas, USVI (UCTP Taino News) - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands residents recently experienced an exciting, full day of Taino-related activities organized by local indigenous organization Opia Taíno International, Inc. Activities took place adjacent to the well-known historic building, Fort Christian, and at the nearby Emancipation Garden from 10am – 5pm, Saturday, December 1, 2012. The program featured an impressive list of speakers as well as an interactive, educational exhibition entitled “A Walk in My Moccasins.” The daylong program was free to the public and supported by the Virgin Islands Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
"We are here to dispel the myth of Taino extinction in the Caribbean" stated Maekiaphan Phillips, President of Opia Taino.
Some of the interactive features of the program included a Taino-inspired village with a batey (ceremonial plaza), Taíno artifacts and crafts, photographs, native foods, and results from Maekiaphan Phillips’s family genealogical exploration.
Members of Opia Taino and other special guests were on hand throughout the day to answer questions concerning Taino and Carib heritage. Featured speakers included Phillips, Roberto Mukaro Borrero of the United Confederation of Taino People, and Senator-elect, the honorable Myron Jackson. Discussion topics ranged from family genealogy to DNA testing; Taino history past and present; the United Confederation of Taino Peoples’ Inter-Tribal Registry; and the importance of honoring the Indigenous legacies of the Virgin Islands.
Brevard County, Florida (UCTP Taino News) - Earlier this year, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names received a proposal to name a Florida barrier island after the Spanish Conquistador, Juan Ponce de Leon. The proposal was opposed by local residents, local governments, Indigenous organizations such as the American Indian Association of Florida and the United Confederation of Taino People, and others. On November 8th, it was announced by the Domestic Names Committee that the island would remain unnamed.
New York (UCTP Taino News) – Dr. Jose Barreiro's masterfully written historical novel chronicling the first encounters between Indigenous Peoples and Europeans beginning with Columbus has been re-released by Fulcrum Press under the title “Taino: A Novel.” The story is told from the point of view of Guaikan/Diego, Christopher Columbus' young adopted Taino Indian son and interpreter. The book vividly recreates the often violent clashes of cultures in the Caribbean during the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Author Jose Barreiro notes “My first publisher opted for a more generic title, and thus ‘The Indian Chronicles.’” He continued stating ““I always thought the book was best titled ‘Taino,’ as it tells the story of a Taino memory.”
Indeed, the engaging and at times heartbreaking story is told four decades after the arrival of Columbus, when Guaikan is an elderly man. While the story is historical fiction, it is based on true historical events and figures.
Presently a senior fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Jose Barreiro is a novelist, essayist, and an activist of nearly four decades on American indigenous hemispheric themes. “Taino: A Novel” is currently available at Amazon.com.