Volcano eruptions in St. Vincent Creating a Humanitarian Crisis

Ash coats a hillside on St. Vincent on April 11, 2021. (Photo by UWI-Seismic Research Centre, Prof. Robertson)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (UCTP Taino News) - La Soufrière, a volcano on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent began a series of intense eruptions last Friday. For close to a week, subsequent eruptions have covered the island in volcanic ash. Super-heated gas and lava flows have gushed down the mountainside. Thousands of residents in the affected “Red Zone” area are now displaced or have been evacuated. A humanitarian crisis is now emerging as islanders are left without clean water and electricity. Several news sources are reporting that government officials fear the situation will also exacerbate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are the times we need to be ready to support our relatives” stated Irvince Auguiste, a co-President of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO). Auguiste is a member of the Kalinago (Carib) Nation of Dominica and a former Chief of the territory. He continued by stating “CADO and the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) will be collaborating on a relief effort for the Indigenous Kalinago community and others in St. Vincent.”

The dome of the volcano was completely destroyed during the periodic eruptions. Reports estimate that more than 460 million cubic tons of earth and rock have jettisoned into the atmosphere from the eruptions. The wind is carrying the volcanic ash to St. Vincent’s island neighbors such as Barbados, Grenada, and Saint Lucia. Eruptions and seismic activity are expected to continue over the next few days.

UCTPTN 04/15/2021


Dr. Erica Mercado Moore Join appointed UCTP Liaison Officer in South Dakota

South Dakota (UCTP Taíno News) - The United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) has appointed Erica Mercado Moore as a UCTP Liaison Officer in the State of South Dakota. Dr. Moore is a community member of Iukaieke Guainía and South Dakota State University's American Indian Student Center Director. She began her work at SDSU in July 2019 after spending four years as the chief academic officer at the Lower Brule Community College.

"We are very excited to welcome Dr. Moore as part of our leadership community. Her passion and experience in supporting American Indian students in higher education will greatly assist the Confederation in its work at the local, national, and international level," stated R. Múkaro Borrero, President of the United Confederation of Taíno People. 

Moore earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Maryland University College and a master’s degree in history from the American Military University. She completed her doctorate from Northcentral University in 2016.

UCTPTN 03/03/2021


When the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman is a Taíno Woman

By Tai Pelli

We have all been part of the Awareness Campaigns for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Many of our ituno (sisters) have been very active; just yesterday our itu Claudia Fox Tree, UCTP Liaison Officer for Massachusetts,  posted a picture on her social media page wearing a beautiful red and black outfit bringing awareness to the MMIW. 

Little did I know that early this morning I would learn that one of our own, Andrea Evita “Vita” Reyes, had been murdered on December 27th, 2020, purportedly, at the hands of an ex-boyfriend who was on parole for his already existing criminal record. 

It was not until yesterday that one of our Taíno ituno, Katt Vázquez Alicea, learned about the passing of whom she considered a good friend and Tribal sister; having shared beautiful moments together, including visiting our beloved Borikén (Puerto Rico) the summer of 2019. They said “presente” during the “Ricky Renuncia” Movement, where Borikuas and Puerto Ricans successfully demanded the resignation of the then Governor, Ricky Roselló.  

As I attempted to connect with other Tribal relatives that also knew our itu, one of our brothers wondered: “Why are our women not considered when speaking about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women?” It made me think of our Taíno ituno that have disappeared and/or have been murdered. Especially after Hurricanes Irma and María, where they vanished and no one has ever either found their bodies or heard from them. Leaving behind the pain to those who truly loved them and are thirsty for answers that seldom come. 

The reality is that while our Taíno people go and join efforts to defend other Indigenous Relatives and their challenges in other places, I am not finding the same type of support and/or inclusion when it is us that are facing the challenges. I understand colonialism all too well, and I am also aware that the school system continues to show us as an extinct Peoples, although everyone truly knows we have been here all along, with the exception of the colonial and euro-centric people  who while seeing us right in front of their noses, prefer to see us as anything but an “indi@”. 

Obvious and suspicious deaths are either categorized as “suicide”, when logic itself tells us that it was a homicide, yet in our case, there are never enough police to investigate nor money to pay someone who will make a difference. So, we continue to mourn our loved ones, feeling like besides grieving the death of our loved one, we have to recover from the punch in the gut delivered by the system itself.

No, familia, it is time to speak up and I am so saddened that it took the vile and vicious murder of our itu Andrea to face this reality of us, as a Peoples. We can no longer afford being invisible to our own relations. The “fighting terrorism since 1492” began with our Taíno Ancestors in the Caribbean. While we suffered a terrible genocide at the hands of the Europeans and eventually via the Environmental Violence that our people have been subjected to later and by others, we had survivors in all of our islands and ancestral territory. We are the descendants of those who survived. Our Women have risen just like other Indigenous sisters have. Our Love, respect, gratitude, and honor to our Culture, Great Spirit Yaya, and ancestors has never ceased. It is time to be visible, to count, to do way more than to repeat tirelessly: “We are still here!”

While I understand that no Tribal Nation deserves to be having to “become part” of the alarming situation of our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, it is important we do not leave any of our sisters out. Taíno Women are also falling victim to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Pandemic.

In memory of our beautiful itu Andrea Evita Reyes, now in Soraya. 


Online Gathering of Ethical Women Includes a Taíno Leader

Tai Pelli, UCTP Officer

Madrid, Spain (UCTP Taíno News) - A successful virtual encounter of Ethical Women with Equity Souls, was organized by La Red Internacional de Mujeres y Hombres Girasol Asorbaex (International Network of Sunflower Asorbaex Women and Men) and El Foro de Mujeres de Iberoamérica (Ibero-American Women’s Forum) on August 9, 2020. More than 80 women and men virtually from across Latin America  and Spain including talented professionals, businesswomen, associate weaving women, social activists for peace, human rights, and the environment, as well as poets, writers, cultural managers, academics, teachers, investigators, and doctors, among others.

Tai Pelli, International Relations and Human Rights Officer of the United Confederation of Taíno People and Co-President/ Co-founder of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO), was one of the featured speakers. The 7-hour meeting, made possible by the Jitsi Platform, generated new perspectives on empowerment, equity, sorority, equality, and gender identity through the exchange of ancestral knowledge, experiences, ways of knowing, labor, talent, and wisdom. The Board of Directors of ASORBAEXexpressed how grateful they were to be able to count on this diverse network of dedicated individuals from around the world who are all working toward well-being, cohesion, social justice, and peace. 

The organizers are planning a series of virtual meetings running between September through October 2020. Dates to be announced. 


Taino Confederation Joins Native Response to Washington's Team's 'Thorough Review' of Name

UCTP Taíno News -
Native Leaders sent 
a letter to National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell on July 6 responding to the Washington team's announced review of their racist name. The letter called for the immediate discontinuation of the name and eradication of all Native names, logos, and mascots throughout the League.

By July 10, over 1500 signatories signed on to the communication, including over 100 Native-led organizations as well as tribal leaders, actors, artists, poets, journalists, lawyers, judges, elected leaders, business leaders, investors, philanthropists, state representatives, religious leaders, executive directors from over 70 organizations, professors and students from over 50 universities, and private citizens. 

Among the signatories was the United Confederation of Taíno People. The Confederation has long been concerned about the issue of racist stereotypes and in 2011, submitted testimony to a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing on the issue. 

In a recent Adweek article, Roberto Múkaro Borrero, President of the United Confederation of Taíno People stated "Violence comes in many forms, some more subtle than others. Indigenous Peoples are not your mascots.” 

UCTPTN 07/13/2020