Goodbye Mr. Columbus 2004

UCTP Taino News - This year the UCTP continued its annual, month long October campaign concerned with bringing an end to the racist celebrations of Columbus Day, and the revocation of the Papal Bull Inter Ceatera via educational outreach and direct action (protests and letter writing).

As a result of the tremendous efforts by community members and allies, and in conjunction with other national initiatives, a considerable amount of media attention (articles, radio and TV interviews) was again brought to this issue. UCTP reps, community members and allies participated in protests throughout the U.S., from coast to coast. Events took place in California (at the San Juan Capistrano Mission), Washington State and Pennsylvania. A related event, the annual Papal Bulls Burning was also held in Honolulu.

Educational materials focusing on this subject were distributed via hard copy and Internet not only in the U.S. but internationally. As usual responses to these initiatives were positive over all but even the negative reactions sparked debate and worked to keep the issue current. Our statements and education and materials were even published this year by the United Nations Observer located at The Hague in the Netherlands!

A review of some of the education materials distributed this year by visiting the UCTP Website at http://uctp.org/archives.html#7a .

Columbus Day may not go away as soon as many would like but neither will the Taino, Carib or Arawak Peoples who as UCTP rep. John Hu'acan Vidal says "are are here to stay!"


Columbus Statue Toppled in Caracas

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated Columbus Day on Tuesday by toppling a statue in Caracas of the explorer whom Chavez blames for ushering in a "genocide" of native Indians.

Police firing tear gas later recovered parts of the broken bronze image, which was dragged by the protesters to a theater where the Venezuelan leader was due to speak.

Two years ago, Chavez rechristened the Oct. 12 holiday -- commemorated widely in the Americas to mark Christopher Columbus' 1492 landing in the New World -- "Indian Resistance Day."

The new name honored Indians killed by Spanish and other foreign conquerors following in the wake of the Italian-born Columbus who sailed in the service of the Spanish crown.

As the left-wing nationalist president led celebrations on Tuesday to honor Indian chiefs who resisted the Spanish conquest, a group of his supporters conducted a mock trial of a statue of Columbus in central Caracas.

They declared the image guilty of "imperialist genocide," looped ropes around its outstretched arm and neck and heaved it down from its marble base. No police or other authorities intervened as the protesters drove off in a truck yelling, "We've killed Columbus!"

"This isn't a historical heritage. ... Columbus is the symbol of a conquest that was a globalization by blood and fire, a cultural massacre," said Vitelio Herrera, a philosophy student at Venezuela's Central University.

Outside the Teresa Carreno theater, the protesters hung the statue from a tree and then let it fall to the ground. Police arrested several of them.

Chavez has called Latin America's Spanish and Portuguese conquerors "worse than Hitler" and the precursors of modern-day "imperialism" he says is now embodied by the United States, the biggest buyer of his country's oil.

The base of the toppled statue was daubed with slogans such as "Columbus = Bush. Out!"

The protesters, many who wore red T-shirts with slogans supporting Chavez, repeated the Venezuelan leader's fierce criticism of the U.S.- led occupation of Iraq.

"Didn't they tear down the statue of Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq? For me, (U.S. President George W.) Bush represents barbarity and Chavez represents civilization," said 57-year-old Orlando Iturbe.

Some passersby were shocked. "I don't agree with this," said Jose Luis Maita, who watched with his wife and small daughters.

Venezuelan demonstrators use ropes to topple a Christopher Columbus statue in Caracas, October 12, 2004. Demonstrators protested during Columbus Day, a date which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has christened as the 'Day of Indian Resistance' to commemorate the Indian people who fought the Spanish colonizers.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=6482069


Protest blockades Columbus Day parade

Protest blockades Columbus Day parade

DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- More than 200 sign-waving and chanting protesters were arrested Saturday after blocking a Columbus Day parade for more than an hour, police said.

Police said they began making arrests after ordering the group of about 600 protesters to leave when the parade was about a block away. The 230 protesters who were arrested were charged with loitering and disobedience to a lawful order.

There were no reports of violence or injuries.

Police said the protesters, many of whom were American Indians, gathered at the state Capitol, then marched to the parade route in downtown Denver.

Most carried signs, including one that read "Not Genocide, Celebrate Pride" and another showing a crossed out picture of Columbus with the word "savage" over it.

Adam K. Becenti, a University of Colorado-Boulder student of Navajo descent, said the protest was meant to educate people about the inaccuracies in history books.

"We're grown up to believe he was the first person here" which denies the American Indians' place in history and ignores their genocide, he said.

But Carter Barnard, a member of the Sons of Italy in America, said the protesters had no right to delay the event.

"We have a permit for the parade," he said. "We don't try to stop them from their celebrations."

About 150 people were arrested during an anti-Columbus Day rally in Denver in 2000.


Editorial: Our Taino Bloodlines

By Domingo Hernandez De Jesus

Some critics of the Taino movement were denying any biological inheritance among the contemporary Boricua population. When faced with the now famous DNA studies they defended their position by stating that this Native American contribution could not be attributed to the Taino bloodlines. They argued by reminding us that for two hundred years, Native Americans were brought as slaves from many parts of South, Central and North America, so these and not the Taino may be our ancestors.

It seems to me that they did not read Dr. Juan Martinez Cruzado's full report. He points out that the number of Africans taken to Puerto Rico vastly outnumbered those of the Native American slaves who originated out side of the island. If the biological contribution in question came only from a imported source, then the number of persons with these markers today would be smaller than the African. Therefore it is his conclusion that the majority of the Native American genetic material found in Puerto Rico today comes directly from the Taino population since it surpasses the number of African contribution by 40%. We also know that this DNA study was tracing the female line and records show that the vast majority of slaves were male and their genetic contributions would not show in this particular study.

The devastation of the European invasion was felt in common by all Native American nations. At the time of the first contact our Taino ancestors numbered in the millions. It is interesting to note that many smaller nations managed to escape extinction. The Cherokee were estimated to have about 20,000 at the time on contact. Their numbers were affected by the same conditions. During the Trail of Tears most of the Cherokee were forced to leave their land for far away Oklahoma. Less than 1,000 Cherokees managed to escape the removal and were able to stay in their ancestral lands. Today their descendents are known as the Eastern Cherokee and they have 13,079 enrolled members. Just 48 years before the removal of the Cherokee we find a military census in Puerto Rico that mentions 2,302 Indians living in an area known as "Las Indieras" that same original census also mentions that there was another Indian community of similar size living in Anasco. This census is saying that there were at least 4,000 full blood Native Americans living in Puerto Rico at that time (1778) They were full bloods because the Spanish were fanatical about creating names and categories for those of any amount of mixture (ie. Mestizo,Pardo, Mulato,Trigueno, Jabao, Zambo etc).

These people were clearly listed as Indios. So I wonder why if we had 4,000 full
bloods just 200 years ago, how is it we have none today? Or do we? How could the Eastern Cherokee go from a small group of 1,000 to 13,000 in 200 yrs. while the Taino go from 4,000 to 0 in the same time frame? There is no mention of wars or uprisings as was happening in the USA at the time. So what could account for the Taino's disappearance ?

We look at the 1800 census and those that came afterward the category of Indian has been left out. The numbers under the category of Pardo also show a great increase. The Indians were simply put in another category. This other category “Pardo" has been translated as colored. Many in the USA think of the term of color as being Black. Yet the census form had a different listing for “Free Blacks.” There were also listings for enslaved Blacks and enslaved Mulatos. The term Pardo (brown) was used only for free persons who were considered non Whites and also non Black by Spanish standards. these were the bi-racial and tri-racial combinations of Native American African and European offspring.

To insist that the Taino are extinct is to deny the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

It is to imply that somehow under the same circumstances and in some cases even better conditions than others, our ancestors were too weak or too dumb to survive when others did. It is to assume that our Taino blood line is thin and faint. That we are claiming one individual who lived 500 years ago. These conclusions are a mistake, and border on racist. The truth is that 200 years ago Native full bloods are documented to be in Puerto Rico that they numbered between 2,000 to 4,000. That these people were in contact with a larger population of Mestizos, Mulatos and Zambos. Most of which by definition had a strong Native component. Add to this the fact that there was a strong level of isolation to many parts of Puerto Rico, not only in the 1800s but even into the mid-20th century.

In the early 1900's there were barely 60 miles of paved roads in all of Puerto Rico. There were many communities that were inaccessible except by mule, horse or by foot. While every official town had their own church, the surrounding villages did not. This is why Puerto Ricans baptize their children twice. Once without a priest and one with. Both of my grandmothers gave birth at home in huts with only a mid-wife to help. My point is that in isolation the blood quantum can stay the same indefinitely, if the persons reproducing have the same quantum. So in communities where you have full bloods, mixing with half bloods and these villages are isolated you will still find many if not most with consistent and strong features reflecting their Indian background. This is the case in a large proportion of our people. This is why so many of us still fit the description given by Colon himself: bronze skin tone, straight black hair, high cheekbones, etc.

Many of our families report that their children are born with the " Mongol Spot" But doctors don't tell them that it is a trait common with Asians and Native Americans , they just tell them it means that the baby will be dark. This spot is what originally was meant by the " Mancha de Platano" (the Plantain Stain) because that is what it tends to look like on our babies. Our Taino bloodlines are not weak or faint, many of us just have to go back two generations to connect with our Taino life ways. In terms of blood we know it is there. We need only give the eye test to ourselves or to some other close relative.

I don't have to claim someone from 500 years ago. I claim my grandfather and both my grandmothers.


As Columbus Day Draws Near...

Taino'ti Guaitiao (Greetings Relatives):

On behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), it is my hope that at the time you receive this message you are in good health and spirit.

I am writing to remind you that as we draw closer to Columbus Day, there will be various activities happening to protest the Columbus Day "holiday" and we hope that you will consider supporting these or other events in your area.

If you are on the West Coast, please consider participating in the 14th annual Columbus Day Protest in Washington State, which will be held on October 9th at noon at the Peace Arch Park in Blaine, WA. The Peace Arch is located on the border between Canada & and the U.S. Look for UCTP representatives, the Garcia Family who will be attending, speaking and distributing informative materials. For more information on this gathering contact Evelyn Dye-Garcia at edyega6722@aol.com.

On Tuesday October 12th, our UCTP representative in California, John Huacan Vidal will be at the Mission at San Juan Capistrano, joining other Native Peoples and supporters to protest the colonization of Indigenous Peoples, the terrorism of the invaders, and especially the celebration of Columbus Day. The Mission is located 2 1/2 blocks west of Interstate 5 on Ortega Highway. For more information on how you can be a part of the Columbus Day Protest in California, please contact Huacan at pvidal_ny@yahoo.com.

If you are on the East Coast, please consider joining UCTP representatives at a Columbus Day Awareness Gathering at the Lancaster Square, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which will be October 11th from 4pm – 7pm. For more information on this gathering contact Tristan at 717-393-2634 or by email tristan_egolf@yahoo.com. If you would like to get more information about the Taino Delegation attending the PA gathering from the New York area and how you possibly participate in solidarity, please call Roberto Mucaro Borrero at 1(917)334-5658.

As always, we thank you all in advance for your support and please inform us if you are participating or organizing any other anti-Columbus Day activities etc. as we would like to publish this information in our hard copy News Journal "La Voz del Pueblo Taino" and the Taino News List.

Peace and Blessings,
Roberto Mucaro Borrero,
UCTP – U.S. Regional Coordinating Office