Taino Delegates Join Jamaica’s Marcus Garvey Celebration

A delegation of Taino People open the Marcus Garvey Celebration at Rio Nuevo Village in Jamaica

St. Mary, Jamaica (UCTP Taino News) – This year’s annual celebration of the birth of Jamaican National Hero, the “Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey,” was historic in its unprecedented inclusion of an indigenous Taino delegation. The daylong activity was held on Sunday, August 18th at the RioNuevo Village in St. Mary, Jamaica. The well-attended celebration began with an early morning Taino ceremonial call to the “sacred directions” and featured an interactive cultural presentation later in the day. The Taino delegation included representatives of the Nacion Taina de las Antillas and the United Confederation of Taino People. The Taino delegates were invited to attend the Garvey celebration by event sponsor, Irie FM, Jamaica’s number one Reggae music radio station.  Portions of the day’s activities, including special on-site interviews, were broadcast live by Irie FM. 

Between and after their early morning and afternoon presentations on the event’s main stage, the Taino delegates interacted with an extremely interested public at a Taino kanei (rectangular chief’s home) built especially for the occasion. Hundreds and hundreds of Jamaicans flocked to the site throughout the day to speak to the Taino representatives and take photos. These intense cultural exchanges included emotional interactions with elders and leaders of Rastafarian community, as well as with leaders and community members of several Jamaican Maroon communities. The “Maroons” are the descendants of Africans who escaped enslavement and took refugee in the mountainous interior of the island, and according to local history intermarried with remaining Taino families. The Maroons initiated wars against the British Crown leading to the signing of peace treaties, which included land rights for these communities.

Irie FM's Mutabaruka interviews Taino leader R. Mukaro Borrero live in Jamaica 
“This is an historic and spiritually significant moment in our contemporary history as it marks the first occasion that Taino people are participating in an event of this kind in Jamaica, one of our sacred ancestral homelands” noted R. Múkaro Borrero, a representative for the United Confederation of Taino People and elected kasike (chief) of the Guainia Taino Tribe. Borrero continued stating, “I trust our humble participation will set the stage for more intense campaigns to raise a much needed Taino cultural awareness on the island.”

Borrero led the morning opening ceremony and afterward was interviewed live by Mutabaruka, one of Irie FM’s top radio personalities.  Another delegate, Kasike Rene Cibanacan was also interviewed. These in-depth interviews reached thousands of listeners on the island; many were emotionally and spiritually moved to come to the celebration to meet the Taino delegates.

The “Garvey Celebration” was co-sponsored by Rio Nuevo Village; Bigstones; Petcom Dunrobin; Fly Jamaica; JCDC St. Mary; Contractor Music Marketing; and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. Along with the Taino cultural component, the event featured distinguished speakers, music and dance performances, marching bands, African drummers, storytellers, and more.

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