Taíno Artist Continues to Gain Attention

Georgia (UCTP Taino News) - Taino elder Mildred "Mucara" Torres Speeg continues to gain considerable attention for her exquisite artworks. A Boriken Taíno who resides in Georgia, "Grandmother Millie's" story was featured recently in the Rabun's Laurel (Jan. 2006, pg. 36) Magazine. Her work continues to be shown in galleries throughout the state of Georgia and she recently completed a showing at the Dorothy Dove Gallery in historic Clarkesville, Georgia.

Master portrait artist Millie “Mucara” Torres-Speeg
at her recent gallery showing at the
Dorothy Dove Gallery in Georgia. Shown with
gallery owner Dorothy Dove (left), elder Mucara
is shown displaying two of her works; Guabancex
(Taino Spirit of the Hurricane) and "Visions I See".



Press Release from Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica


Roseau, Dominica – February 17th 2006…There is great anticipation and heightened interest in Dominica and the Carib Territory in particular, for the official opening of the Kalinago Barana Auté (Carib Cultural Village by the Sea) next week.

Initially called the Carib Model Village, the project was first conceptualized over 20 years ago, but it was not until 1994 that the Freedom Party Government put it to the Caribbean Development Bank for funding. The total estimated cost of the project is in the region of EC$2.5 million.

The Kalinago Barana Auté is built on 4.2 acres of land and boasts a number of structures, including an Administration and Interpretation Centre, a Craft Shop, Demonstration Buildings, a Snackette, and a Karbet. Situated close to the sea, the site has a waterfall and a river flowing through it with a series of trails running through it.

The Kalinago Barana Auté honours the diversity, history and heritage of the Kalinago people by presenting their customs and cultural traditions and by providing an opportunity for visitors to experience, learn about and appreciate their way of life.

The Project is expected to offer many opportunities and services to the Kalinago people. Some of these are:

* Provide an opportunity for visitors and the people of Dominica to experience, learn about and appreciate the uniqueness of the Kalinago culture;

* Develop programs so that the Village can host special events, education and community programs and facilitate research;

* Provide ongoing economic benefits of heritage tourism to the Carib Territory by providing work, small business opportunities and the sale of crafts, traditional foods and herbs;

* Reintroduce plants from the pre-Columbus era by developing a plant restoration program to restore the area with traditional trees, herbs, grasses, berries and traditional food plants.

Since the 2000 General Elections, the Government of Dominica has placed the development of the Carib people high on its agenda. In September 2000, the Coalition Government led by Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Douglas, established a Department of Carib Affairs.

In 2003, the Government of Prime Minister Hon. Pierre Charles formally endorsed the Carib People Development Plan.

On May 12th 2005 history was created, when for the very first time, Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, named a Carib, Hon. Kelly Graneau, as the Minister for Carib Affairs.

The official opening of the Kalinago Barana Auté next week is another manifestation of this Government’s strategy of economic diversification, through the development of the tourism sector. The development of the Kalinago people of Dominica is an essential component of that strategy.

Karbet at the Carib Cultural Village in Dominica


Taino Delegation Participates at Treaty Conference

Taino Leader Naniki Reyes Ocasio Addresses the IITC in Florida

Fort Drum, Florida (UCTP Taino News) - A delegation of Borikén Taíno representing the United Confederation of Taíno People participated in the 32nd annual International Indian Treaty Council Conference, held in Fort Drum Florida, February 9-12, 2006.

Hosted by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation of Florida, the conference was held at the Red Bay Grounds, which is a traditional land area of the Seminole People. This land was not given to the Seminole but rather needed to be purchased by them in order to protect and preserve this area of historic and spiritual significance to their people.

The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) is an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central, South America and the Pacific working for the Sovereignty and Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Traditional Cultures and Sacred Lands.

Along with four UCTP sponsored delegates from the island of Borikén, Indigenous delegates came from throughout the western hemisphere and from as far as New Zealand to take part in this important dialogue, which focused local and international issues.

Some of the themes discussed at the conference included “Treaties, Land Rights and Sovereignty”, the “Health of our Children and Future Generations”, and Defending Cultural Rights, Traditional Knowledge and Sacred Ways” and others. Borikén Taíno Community leader Naniki Reyes Ocasio was invited by the organizers to present an update on the Caguana Ceremonial Center as well as the current situation of the Borikén Taíno People. The presentation will soon be available at the UCTP web portal.

The participation of the Taíno delegates at this conference offered a unique opportunity for Taíno issues to be highlighted together with other indigenous issues from throughout the hemisphere and the Pacific.

The hospitality shown by the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation and the on-going support of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples issues pledged by IITC was welcomed by the UCTP leadership who look forward to a more official affiliation between the entities in the near future.

UCTP Delegates Naniki Reyes Ocasio, Millie Gandia Reyes
and Carmen Rodriguez at IITC Conference in an unseasonably cold
Fort Drum, Florida



Los Angeles Southwest College
1600 West Imperial Hwy. Los Angeles, CA 90047 323-241-5225
Saturday, March 11, 2006
10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Admission is free
General info (323)898-6841

Keynote Speakers:
Dr. William (Bill) Little, Chair Africana Studies
California State University, Dominguez Hills
José Francisco Avila is founder and president
of the New Horizon Investment Club of New York City
Dr. Munashe Furusa, Professor Africana Studies
California State University, Dominguez Hills

Jerry Castro, Bronx, NY District Office - State Assembly Community Liaison

Ruben Reyes, Garifuna Author, Writer, Linguist, Community Leader & Entrepreneur “Wafadaha Uwara” “Building Together” and his brother Jaime Reyes, Entrepreneur

Jorge Garifuna, Garinet Global, Inc., CEO

Tomas Zuñiga, Garinagu Empowerment Movement, President & NACART Board Member

Live Performances by: Punta Cartel Band; Wanaragua Cultural Dance Group of Los Angeles; Chosen Ones Band; Garifuna Culture Group Introduced by Mrs. Martha Martinez

Event Sponsered by


Guyana's Amerindian Bill Promotes Racial Discrimination

334 B East Street, South Cummingsburg, Georgetown, Guyana
Tel: 592-227 0275,
Tel/Fax: 592-223 8150
Email:apacoica@networksgy.com, apa@webworksgy.com
Website: http.www.caribbeanngos.net

February 15, 2006

Joint Indigenous Peoples NGOs Press Release

Amerindian Bill Promotes Racial Discrimination

The Amerindian Peoples Association of Guyana (APA), the Amerindian Action Movement of Guyana (TAAMOG) and the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) are recommending to the National Assembly that the imminent passage of the Amerindian Bill 2005 (Bill No. 13 of 2005) in its present form will result in racially discriminatory legislation that violates the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Guyana.

We are most disappointed to find that after reading the report of the Special Select Committee of the National Assembly that the Bill will be presented to the National Assembly in virtually the same form as when it was first tabled in August of 2005. We are as a consequence led to the grim conclusion that the Public Hearings of the Select Committee amounted to nothing more than a farce.

We have repeatedly stated that the Bill’s treatment of lands, territories and resources contravenes international law and undermines Indigenous Peoples’ integrity. This is evident from the fact that the Bill does not adequately clarify and guarantee indigenous peoples or their communities’ rights to own and control their traditional lands, territories and resources and does little to alleviate the legal insecurity our peoples have experienced in this respect for generations. Moreover, the procedures in the Bill for resolving land issues are arbitrary and unfair. In this regard, the Bill fails to recognize and specify any rights that could form the basis for delimitation, demarcation and titling of indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources. All that is provided for is a procedure for applying for title or extension of title that results in a decision determined solely and – in the absence of enumerated criteria in the form of rights – arbitrarily by the Minister of Amerindian Affairs (sections 59-64).

We strongly reject the provisions in the Bill that vests arbitrary and overly broad powers in the Minister and which permit substantial interference in the democratic functioning of indigenous governmental entities. Such conditions do not apply to non-indigenous local government bodies. In this respect, it should also be noted that the Bill imposes term limits (two terms) on elected indigenous leaders, where such limits do not apply to any other elected official in Guyana (sec. 71(2) (b)).

Discrimination against indigenous peoples even extends to the State’s refusal to accede to indigenous peoples’ desire to be referred to as such in the law – as they are in the Constitution – rather than as Amerindians, a term that we do not believe is appropriate. We are unaware of any other racial or ethnic group in Guyana that is forced by the State to be called by a name that it has vociferously rejected.

We note with utmost concern that the Bill additionally discriminates against Indigenous peoples inter alia:

• Untitled Indigenous communities cannot hold and exercise rights.
• Rivers and other bodies of water are excluded from Indigenous title.
• Some Indigenous communities are ineligible to hold title.
• The Bill does not prohibit forcible relocation of Indigenous peoples or compulsory takings of their property.
• Rights to be consulted, participate and consent are not adequately recognized and guaranteed.

We strongly urge the members of the National Assembly to heed the call of the majority of the Indigenous peoples of Guyana and their organizations to amend the Bill to adequately protect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples before it is passed into law.


Tony James, President APA

Mary Valenzuela, Chief GOIP

Peter Persaud, President TAAMOG

For further information please contact:
David James at telephone # 223 - 5082


Air Jamaica joins Bacchanal 2K6

Press Release from Air Jamaica: Air Jamaica is once again a sponsor of Bacchanal Jamaica and is launching their costume The Spirit of the Tainos.

As the name suggests, the costume is inspired by the Taino Indians, who were among the island's original inhabitants.

The costume, which will be launched this Friday at the mas Camp on Oxford Road, is said to have various shades of oranges and reds reflecting the vibrancy and spirituality of the native people of the Greater Antilles, including Jamaica.

The native people of this region looked at the sun - which provided light and heat for crops and other vital purposes - as a sign of strength and nourishment. The Spirit of the Tainos costume is a true representation of this philosophy, with the detailed beading work and braiding. Bacchanal Jamaica 2006 costume range also includes Nights Over Egypt, sponsored by Digicel; Persians, sponsored by Peak; Atlantians, sponsored by Fame-FM; Macedonians, Sponsored by Appleton Jamaica Rum; and Azteca, sponsored by Tampico Juices.

All costumes will be on display at the Mas Camp, 1c Oxford Road, this Friday February 17, 2006 and every Friday thereafter until April 21, 2006.