Taino Continue to use the U.S. Census to say “We are Still Here.”


UCTP President, R. Mukaro Agueibaná Borrero (center) with 
Robert L. Santos (at left), Director, U.S. Census Bureau, and Leila Dickerson (at right), 
NY Regional Director, U.S. Census Bureau (UCTP Photo)

New York, NY (UCTP Taíno News) – The U.S. Census Bureau recently released the 2020 data sets on American racial and ethnic origins in a report entitled “Detailed Demographic and Housing Characteristics File A.” The reporting is the culmination of an analysis of 350 million detailed responses to the race and ethnicity questions that were collected in the 2020 Census. A significant population increase is noted, 85% from 2010, among American Indians including the Indigenous Taíno. The overall number of Americans claiming Indigenous heritage increased from 5.2 million in 2010 to 9.6 million in 2020. 

The increase is significant, especially for the Taíno whose total recorded population number in 2022 is 112,682. This means that according to the U.S. Census, the Taino are the 10th largest American Indian population of all the recorded American Indian groups. In Borikén (Puerto Rico) 50,114 identified themselves in the Census as Taíno, while over 26,000 identified themselves as Taíno in New York. Other large Taíno population areas on the U.S. mainland include Florida and Connecticut. 

Click on Image to make larger

The United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) has maintained an official partnership with the U.S. Census for the last 3 Census counts. One of the UCTP’s principal request to the U.S. Census Bureau was that they highlight “Taíno” as a separate Tribal Category in lieu of more ambiguous terms such as "Spanish Indians.” The UCTP also requested that search options for “Taíno” be as accessible as it is for other Indigenous Nations. 

“The new report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that they have finally taken our continuous requests seriously” stated R. Mukaro Agueibaná Borrero, the current President of the UCTP and a kasike (chief) of the Guainía Taíno Tribe. Borrero continued stating “We presented what we view as the past discriminatory interpretations of the Census data to the highest level of the Bureau. We also indicated our serious concerns with continued reports of field officers – Census data collectors – in Borikén (Puerto Rico) who allegedly urged community members to identify themselves as White or told individuals that they could not identify as American Indian on the Census.” 

On behalf of the UCTP, President Borrero met with Robert L. Santos, Director, U.S. Census Bureau, and Leila Dickerson, NY Regional Director, U.S. Census Bureau, and other Bureau officials earlier this year.

Roger Guaiakan Hernandez, a board member of the UCTP, noted that "In 2010, the UCTP’s Liaison Office in Borikén launched a campaign to increase Taíno participation in the Census. The campaign resulted in the local Census Officials on the island recognizing our work during a special event held at the Tibes Ceremonial Center in Ponce. This had a positive effect on our Census-related efforts in both Puerto Rico and the Diaspora.” 

Hernandez continued stating “Our efforts and the significant increase in the number of people who identified as Taíno in 2010, is connected to the recent increase that we see in the report results of the 2022 Census. That means that our strategies as the UCTP are working.” 

UCTPTN 11/04/2023


Taino Highlighted at Springfield, MA Puerto Rican Parade

UCTP Liaison Officer, Chalinaru Dones with Grand Marshall Waleska Lugo DeJesus 
during the 33rd Annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in Springfield, Massachusetts

Springfield, MA (UCTP Taíno News) –
On Sunday, September 17, 2023, hundreds marched through downtown Springfield to celebrate the 33rd annual Puerto Rican Parade. Puerto Rican flags were waved by the thousands of spectators who lined the streets while Latin Music filled the air. The 2023 Parade theme was “Nunca Olvides Tus Raices, Never forget your roots.” 

The parade's Grand Marshall, Waleska Lugo DeJesus was featured atop a large float decorated in the style of a tropical forest from Borikén (Puerto Rico) that was presented to pay respect to the Indigenous Taíno Peoples of the Caribbean. A Liaison Officer for the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP), Chalinaru Dones, was invited by the Grand Marshall to not only accompany her on the special float, but to also open the Parade with a Taíno prayer. Dones is a citizen of the Guainía Taíno Tribe. 

Lugo DeJesus stated “I wanted to bring authentic representation to help educate that we still exist and Chalinaru reminded me that when we don’t acknowledge our history we can be erased.” 

Waleska Lugo DeJesus is the CEO of Inclusive Strategies and the founding director of the Healing Racisim Institute. She is widely known for her anti-racism advocacy and for identifying educational strategies to create equity.

UCTPTN 09182023


Taino Confederation Joins Over 700 orgs along with high profile Activists and Actors in Sending Pres. Biden Letter Ahead of NYC March

Edward Norton, Jane Fonda, Mark Ruffalo, Rosario Dawson, Don Cheadle, Alyssa Milano, Marisa Tomei, Alicia Silverstone; join climate leaders in sending letter 

NEW YORK, NY (UCTP Taíno News) – Excitement is building ahead of this Sunday’s "March to End Fossil Fuels" taking place in New York City. Today, actors, activists, and climate leaders today joined more than 700 organizations in sending a letter to President Biden urging him to take action to end fossil fuels. The United Confederation of Taíno People is among the letter’s signatories and a registered endorser of the March. 

The letter is signed by actors and outspoken climate activists Jeremy Strong, Edward Norton, Jane Fonda, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Rosario Dawson, Alyssa Milano, Marisa Tomei, Alicia Silverstone, Alysia Reiner, Dallas Goldtooth, V (formerly known as Eve Ensler), and Susan Sarandon in addition to UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Vanessa Nakate, Youth Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ayisha Siddiqa, and author ​​Naomi Klein, along with many other Climate leaders including R. Múkaro Agueibaná Borrero, UCTP President and Kasike of the Guainía Taíno Tribe. 

“The world is burning before our eyes in a record-breaking summer of extreme heat and climate disasters. Scientists around the world are gravely alarmed about how rapidly climate change is accelerating. The oceans are boiling, workers and poor communities, disproportionately Indigenous communities, and people of color, are dying from extreme heat and dehydration, and floods and wildfires are raging across the planet,” the letter begins. 

The letter and the March to End Fossil Fuels come just days ahead of the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit also being held in New York City on September 20th. It is first-such summit being promoted as dedicated to ending the fossil fuel era. The letter calls on President Biden to make the commitments necessary to participate in the summit, “We ask that you step through those Summit doors and commit to stop approving fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, phase out existing production, and declare a climate emergency to accelerate a just transition off fossil fuels.” 

“For Caribbean and other Indigenous Peoples who are on the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis, we need to be visible, heard, and fully and effectively participate in the development of policy and international, national, and local strategies to combat manmade temperature rise, which is fueling the degradation of the environment, increasing natural disasters and extreme weather events as well as food and water insecurity and conflict,” said Kasike R. Múkaro Agueibaná Borrero.

The representatives of the United Confederation of Taíno People and the Guainía Taíno Tribe will be present at the March to End Fossil Fuels, which will begin at 1:00 PM ET in New York City on Sunday, September 17. Organizers are predicting this will be largest climate mobilization since the start of the pandemic as thousands of participants from across the globe will march together to urge President Biden to phase out fossil fuels and declare a climate emergency ahead of the UN Climate Ambition Summit.

UCTPTN 09.13.2023


2nd Prayer Walk Held to Raise Awareness on Radioactive Roads Bill

Some of the participants of the walk held on September 9th

Florida (UCTP Taíno News) – A group of Indigenous Peoples and allies held a prayer walk to bring awareness to the so-called “Radioactive Roads Bill” and the Climate Crisis. The 8 mile walk was held on September 9th and was organized by Garrett Stuart and Betty Osceola of Miccosukee Tribe. The walk was supported by the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP).

Commenting on the prayer walk, UCTP Florida Liaison Officer Robert Rosa stated, “It’s important to connect people with nature as well as to bring attention to the fact that we are only killing ourselves when we allow the destruction of the environment.”

The controversial “radioactive roads” bill was lobbied for by the fertilizer giant Mosaic and signed by Florida Republican Governor DeSantis in June 2023. The bill allows for roads across the State of Florida to be made with "radioactive" mining waste that has been linked to cancer. The measure allows phosphogypsum to be added to the list of "recyclable materials" used for road construction. Phosphogypsum are the remains left behind from mining phosphate, which is described by the EPA as being a "radioactive material" because it contains "small amounts" of uranium and radium. 

Phosphate is used to create fertilizer and as the leftover material, phosphogypsum, decays it produces radon, which is a potentially cancer-causing, radioactive gas. The Clean Air Act requires that phosphogypsum be managed in specialized process to prevent it from coming in contact with people and the environment. Because of the danger it poses, phosphogypsum, it is not stored in landfills. 

While the bill has been signed by DeSantis, the Florida Department of Transportation will need to conduct a study to "evaluate the suitability" of its use. This study will need to be completed by April 1, 2024.

UCTPTN 09.10.2023


Taíno Leaders Attend Stonebreakers Premier in NYC

At the Stonebreakers premiere at the Brooklyn Film Festival, (L to R), Joselyn Kaxyek Borrero, UCTP President R. Mukaro Agueibaná Borrero, Film director Valerio Ciriaci, Wanda Anainaru Hernandez, and Guainia Taino Tribe Council member, Heriberto Guaraguaniki Martinez

Brooklyn, NY (UCTP Taíno News) – The documentary film, Stonebreakers, made its New York debut at the Brooklyn Film Festival on June 3, 2023. Stonebreakers documents the controversy around public “monuments” that arose during the George Floyd protests and around the 2020 presidential election. The film highlights advocacy toward the removal of statues of Columbus, Confederates, and Founding Fathers as well as community-led initiatives to highlight alternative historic and community icons.

Stonebreakers film will continue to be screened at various festivals throughout the year. The premiere in Brooklyn also featured a Q & A session after the screening that included the film’s producers, as well as film Director Valerio Ciriaci, Folklorist Joseph Sciorra, and R. Mukaro Agueibaná Borrero, President of the United Confederation of Taíno People and Kasike (chief) of the Guainía Taíno Tribe of Boriken. Both Sciorra and Kasike Borrero appear in the film. The film credits also thank the United Confederation of Taíno People among many other entities. 

“I commend the filmmakers on a powerful and important work. It is my hope this film will be seen by many as I feel it can help those who don’t understand this issue, perhaps building more empathy and support for the removal of racist icons such as Columbus statues” stated Kasike Borrero.

Information on additional screenings can be found on the Awen Films website.

UCTPTN 06.06.2023