Four more Amerindian communities to get land titles

Four Amerindian communities will shortly receive titles to their lands and a fifth will be granted an extension as soon as the Lands and Surveys Commission has completed mapping the identified areas, the Government Information Agency (GINA) said in a press release.

The communities earmarked for land titles are Rewa, Crash Water, and Apoteri in Region Nine, Karrau in Region Seven and Warapoka in Region One, the release stated. The latter is a titled community which has had its request granted for extension of its land.

According to Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues, this development would give Amerindians full ownership of the lands they occupy. She said that following the implementation of the new Amerindian Act in March 2006, more communities were coming forward with proposals to have their lands titled. According to the minister, "this is sure testimony that the Act is working."

Minister Rodrigues was recently in Region One where she engaged in discussion with residents of several communities on their requests for titles as well, the release said. And prior to this visit she also handed over a land title to Toshao of Santa Cruz in Region One (Barima/Waini), John Campbell.

President Bharrat Jagdeo in July 2006 handed over two land titles and one extension to Kaburi in Region Seven, Fairview in Region Eight and Annai in Region Nine. Kaburi received a title for 42 square miles of land, Fairview, 82 square miles while Annai received an extension of 62 square miles, the release noted.

Earlier Jagdeo handed over another set of titles to Campbelltown and Micobie in Region Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) and Arukamai and Kamwatta in Region One (Barima/Waini).

On September 22, 2005, Toshaos of five communities received titles for their villages from the Head of State: Wiruni, Muritaro, Malali and Great Falls in Region Ten (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice) and Orealla in Region Six (East Berbice/ Corentyne). These communities now have legal ownership to their land, GINA added.

Source: Starbroek News


Burial Ceremony for Elder Huacan at Caney Quinto Mundo on 02/03/07

Takahi Guaitiao:

As most of you are aware, a beloved community elder, and UCTP representative, Hu’acan John P. Vidal, crossed over into Coaibei (the Spirit World) recently on 12/15/2006.

Hu’acan's sister, Sonia Vidal and Teresa Fair, his niece will be traveling to Boriken to fulfill one of elder Hu’acan's last wishes, which was to buried at the Caney Quinto Mundo’s Sacred Burial Grounds in his island homeland of Boriken.

We will hold Burial Ceremony for Hu’acan on Saturday, February 3, 2007. In the tradition of our ancestors, those who would like to join us are welcome. Those who cannot be here physically are welcome to join us in a prayer ceremony at 12:00pm.

You are all also welcome to send messages to be shared with the Hu’acan’s family on Friday evening as we gather around the sacred fire to share stories, songs and prayers in preparation for Saturday's Burial Ceremony.

Our Community is honored and humbled as we fulfill his last wishes to be here at the Caney.

If you will be coming on Friday or Saturday please let us know so that we can prepare for your arrival. Our email address is caney@prtc.net and our phone number is (787) 847-5039.

Tio Bo Guatukan,
Naniki Ata

Taino Elder Hu'acan at Caney Quinto Mundo, Boriken Regional Gathering, Summer 2004

See also: Elder Hu'acan: Brother, Leader, and Friend

Caribbean Love Drink Launches In Time for Valentine's Day*

Today, Don Ramon Mamajuana announced the launch of it's Mamajuana liqueur drink mix in the U.S starting February 27th. This will be the first time that such a product from the Dominican Republic is available for the U.S. market starting.

Miami, Florida ( I-Newswire ), Jan 30, 2007 - Dominican herbal liqueur mix manufacturer; Don Ramon Mamajuana, Corp. has announced the official United States pre-launch of its Dominican love drink: Don Ramon Mamajuana( tm ), beginning February 14th, 2007. Considered a natural Aphrodisiac, this special blend of 20 roots, herbs, and spices native to the Dominican Republic has been used for centuries as a powerful vitality drink. Tourists and natives of the islands have enjoyed this secret drink for years.

Typically, the only way one can get a hold of an authentic bottle of Mamajuana is by traveling to the Dominican Republic. For the first time, it will now be available in the US.

This herbal aphrodisiac beverage first came into existence hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Hispaniola. It was initially discovered by Taino Indians who inhabited the island of the Caribbean region and utilized it for its vitality and health advantages.

Today, Mamajuana is considered by Dominican Republic natives as a National drink. It is referred to as; "The Baby Maker" and "The Male Member Enhancer's Drink"*.

Many of the natural ingredients found in Mamajuana are widely used today in western herbal supplements such as Chamomile, Star Anis, Anamú, Brazilwood, Cat's Claw (Uña de Gato) among many others.

Unlike many other traditional Mamajuana found on the islands, Don Ramon Mamajuana is specially prepared to comply with USDA and FDA regulations set for safety and cleanliness of product. Each bottle is tamper-proof sealed and includes mixing and preparation directions.

The official product launch will start this February 27th to commemorate Dominican Republic's Independence day. "We are thrilled that finally American consumers will now have the opportunity to benefit from the ability to enjoy this traditional and long-awaited product," said Ray Payano, 26 year old Co-founder and V.P. of the company. "Mamajuana is an exciting do-it-yourself beverage, that can be custom prepared by the consumer according to their taste preference" said Steve Zabielinsky, Co-founder and President.

Arriving just in time for Valentines Day, Don Ramon Mamajuana is the first product of its kind offering consumers a perfect passion liqueur mixer that will help set the mood for intimate moments and much more.

About Don Ramon Mamajuana, Corp.:

Throughout Canada, Europe, and all over the world, the herbal passion liqueur drink mix Mamajuana is recognized for its naturally vitalizing properties. Don Ramon Mamajuana Corp., headquartered in Miami, FL, offers this old-world product online and looks forward to making it available through local liquor stores, health food stores, ethnic food stores in the U.S.A, and various distinct retailers. Don Ramon Mamajuana, Corp. is also a producer and worldwide supplier of Mamajuana herbs direct to consumers.

Source: http://i-newswire.com/pr88398.html


Editorial: Political Intrigue at the OAS

By Damon Gerard Corrie

I am writing once again from the Organization of American States (OAS) Headquarters in Washington DC, USA to inform your readers of the behind-the-scenes goings-on at the 9th session of the working group to prepare the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I am a member of the Indigenous Caucus working group.

Once again no CARICOM member state OAS ambassador (or even low level diplomatic representative) was present at the opening ceremony yesterday, in comparison all of the OAS ambassadors from the Latin American member states as well as USA and Canada were present as usual.

For the afternoon session, I was pleased to see a representative of the OAS diplomatic corps from Guyana was in attendance, I can only hope the rest of CARICOM will follow this lead and take an active interest in the proceedings. We could use the staunch and admirable support that Dominica and Haiti have shown at the United Nations Declaration process here at the OAS.

Once again, the representatives of the USA and Canada appear to be using the same semantic arguments and delaying tactics to stymie progress the Indigenous Caucus is attempting to make with the enthusiastic support of Bolivia and Brazil among many others.

The USA and Canada are abusing the 'consensus' system of voting that the OAS employs. From an “outsiders” point of view I personally was shocked to see on dozens of occasions that the Indigenous Caucus would have the support of all present OAS ambassadors but because the USA or Canada did not support an issue it was not passed.

I find it bewildering that the two countries that love to promote 'Democracy' all over the world, literally shoving it down other peoples throats at times, would themselves sabotage the very democratic process at the OAS. I was under the distinct impression that the majority vote ensured success in the democratic system; that being the case it is clear to me that there is no democracy at the OAS. It seems that unless certain countries get their way ad-infinitum, no-one can expect to achieve anything.

It is an awful thing to say about a system that is supposedly concerned with the rights of indigenous peoples but this is a disgustingly corrupt modus-operandi that is in urgent need of redress.

Photo courtesy National Museum of the American Indian/Katherine Fogden -- About 50 delegates of the Indigenous Rights Caucus of the Organization of American States toured the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on Jan. 21. They were in Washington, D.C., to meet about the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Rights.


Manatees Have "Long-Distance" Sense of Touch, Experts Say

By Blake de Pastino for National Geographic

If you ever go swimming with a wild Florida manatee, be prepared for what might look like an amorous advance.

Renowned for their touchy-feely behavior, sea cows have been known to approach unwitting swimmers, close their eyes, open their mouths, and lean in as if busting a manatee make-out move.

But freaked-out snorkelers can relax. The behavior, scientists say, is just one example of how manatees use their uniquely developed sense of touch.

New research suggests that manatees' tactile sense is so finely tuned that the animals may experience "touch at a distance"—an ability to "feel" objects and events in the water from relatively far away.

UCTP Taino News Editor’s Note: The word "manatee" originates from the Taino word "Manati". Traditionally, the Taino consider the manati as sacred as North American Indigenous Peoples consider the buffalo sacred. Prior to colonization Taino hunters used every part of the animal for food, tools, and other resources.

See also:


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther KIng

A Message from the Transform Columbus Day Alliance*

MLK and TCD: As we remember and honor The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I offer this quote from him for people to keep in mind as Colorado AIM and the Transform Columbus Day Alliance organize to oppose the Columbus Day parade this coming October, and ask allies to join us.

"Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or to feel remorse for this shameful episode."

--The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*The United Confederation of Taino People proudly supports the Transform Columbus Day Alliance


Taino and Shoelaces: Value is Relative

Columbus Traded Shoelace Tags for Gold*

Christopher Columbus and his men traded cheap brass shoelace tags for gold when they first arrived in Cuba, according to new research.

While Columbus and his crew knew they were getting the better end of the deal, the indigenous Caribbean people, called the Taino, valued the small brass tags more than gold, which was then relatively abundant in Cuba.

"Brass was new, exotic and required liaising with the Europeans, and on top of that it had a special smell and iridescence," lead researcher Marcos Martinón-Torres told Discovery News. "All of these factors probably contributed to its appeal."

The research will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. Martinón-Torres, a lecturer at the University College London Institute of Archaeology, explained that the Taino called brass "turey," meaning "heaven," because they thought sniffing brass allowed them to smell heaven. Written sources also suggest brass was thought to imbue wearers with supernatural powers.

The tags, which the Europeans used to prevent shoe and clothing laces from fraying, weren’t even very useful in this way for the native Cubans, who instead chose to make jewelry out of them, sometimes with the shoelace still attached.

The UCL archaeologists, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology in Cuba, found many examples of such jewelry at burial sites in northeast Cuba. The sites date to the late 15th and early 16th centuries, in the decades just following the arrival of Columbus’s 1492 Spanish fleet.

Gold was notably missing in the graves, which had not been looted.

"Columbus himself records in his diaries the trade of gold for shoelace tags," said Martinón-Torres. "Much of the gold plundered from Latin America is still circulating around Europe nowadays (remelted into new objects), as recent provenance studies have shown."

The researchers believe the European arrivals, seeing the local Cuban gold and other desirable items, traded anything they had on hand, including what were to them cheap and dispensable tags.

The technology to make brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, was unknown to the Taino. Martinón-Torres and his team further explored the source of the brass using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis.

They found trace elements that gave the brass a unique compositional signature, which they traced to Germany. The scientists think the metal arrived in Spain via commercial routes before it wound up in the tags excavated in Cuba.

Roy Stephenson, archaeological archive manager of the Museum of London, commented, "This is fascinating work carried out by UCL, which will shed light on what appears to be quite dreary and repetitive finds, but in reality tells a compelling story about international trade."

UCL archaeology professor Thilo Rehren, who worked on the project with Martinón-Torres, also thinks Columbus' "shoelace tags for gold" trades contributed to the current economic status of both Europe and Cuba.

"The relationship between Europeans and Americans, in which metals seem to have played a very significant role, dramatically affected the later history of both peoples," said Rehren. "The removal of noble metals had a significant impact on the later economy and goes some way to explaining why Europe is rich today compared with Cuba."

*Source: Discovery News

UCTP Taino News Moderator's Note: The above information is presented for educational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed within "Columbus Traded Shoelace Tags for Gold" are not necessarily those of The Voice of the Taino People News Journal or the United Confederation of Taino People. The article also fails to mention an important factor in the Taino attraction to brass, which was their familiarity with another "brass-like" alloy our ancestors called Guanin. In ancient times this rare metal was traded and prized throughout the region in ancient times, and was valued for its "exoticness" but rather for the important spiritual significance Guanin represented.

Facilities in El Bagá Remodeled

The Natural Park El Bagá, in Jardines del Rey (King's Gardens), has benefited from remodeling works to create new tourist options.

The park's staff rebuilt several wooden facilities, which show visitors the history of the region's Taino culture.

They also protect the area's flora and fauna, characterized by endemic and exotic species, and seek alternatives to improve recreational activities.

The park's personnel has improved bird-watching methods and tours along the so-called Interpretative Trail, which is flanked by many trees and is inhabited many animal species.

The Natural Park El Bagá was named after a tree whose fruit and root were used by the aborigines as food and to make fishing gears, respectively.

Tourists who visit the park can enjoy horseback excursions, the beach and boat rides, and can learn about the country's history.

Source: DTCuba


Taino Gold

By Gerald Singer

Early depiction of Taino panning for gold for the Spaniards

On September 6, 1492 Christopher Columbus set out on a voyage that was to significantly change the history of the world. His goals were to establish trade with the court of the Great Khan in China and to obtain gold, slaves, spices and other valuable commodities.

On Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus landed on the island of Guanahaní in the Bahamian archipelago. He believed that he had reached the outskirts of China. Guanahaní was inhabited by the Lucayo tribe of the Taino People. (Lucayo means dwellers on cays. Our word cay, meaning small
island, comes from the Taino language.) Columbus renamed Guanahaní San Salvador and declared it to be a territory of Spain. The Taino inhabitants who he called Indios (Indians) were declared to be Spanish subjects.

The official interpreter for Columbus' fleet was Luis de Torres who was a converted Jew. Torres was chosen as fleet interpreter because he spoke Hebrew and Arabic, which, for some reason, would enable him to communicate with the Chinese. Apparently Torres was unable to
converse with the Taino in Hebrew so another course of action was deemed necessary.

Several Tainos were kidnapped. One young man named Guaikan was taught to speak Spanish and became the interpreter for the expedition. Guaikan became Cristobol Colón's (Christopher Columbus) adopted Taino son. He took the name Diego Colón and sailed with Columbus on his subsequent voyages. Six of the captives were eventually brought to Spain and baptized with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela acting as godparents. They were later allowed to return home with the exception of one who chose to remain at the Spanish royal court. He died two years later.

Columbus was finally able to communicate his desire to find the source of certain amulets and nose rings worn made from a yellow metal, which the Taino called guanin and the Spanish called oro. The guanin (an alloy made from gold silver and copper) had been obtained through trade with the Lucayan's neighbors who inhabited a large island to the south; today called Cuba.

The Lucayo captives guided Columbus to Cuba and agreed to help him find the gold, which was caracuriso dear to his heart. They followed their traditional canoe route through the Bahamian Cays. Their first stop was an island thought to be today's Rum Cay, where, according to the captives, the inhabitants wore massive golden bracelets and anklets. No gold was found. Columbus wrote "All they said was humbug in order to escape". (Two of the Lucayo prisoners took advantage of a lapse of vigilance and jumped overboard. Fellow Taino who had been following the fleet in their dugout canoe picked them up. The natives paddled away so fast that all attempts to recapture them were in vain.)

The fleet then sailed to what is today Long Island, which Columbus named Fernandina. Here Columbus was more successful. One of the islanders was wearing a gold nose stud, which he referred to as a caracuri. The owner of the caracuri refused Columbus' attempts at trade and ran away.

Columbus then guided the ships to an island the Taino called Saomete. He renamed it Isabela after the Queen, and it is now thought to be Crooked Island. According to his guides there was a
gold mine on this island and a king who wore cloths and had much gold. No mine or king was found, but Columbus was able to trade with the inhabitants, exchanging trinkets for gold caracuri.

From Saomete (Isabela) the fleet sailed on to Cuba. A return trip to the Bahamian Island of Great Inagua called Babeque by the Taino was attempted after Columbus learned from the Taino of Cuba that on Babeque the natives "gathered gold on the beach by candles at night,
and then made bars of it with a hammer". Headwinds forced Columbus to give up the voyage, but Martín Alonzo Pinzón, captain of the Pinta was successful. No gold was found on the beaches of that island; not at night, nor at any other time.

In a letter at least partly intended to solicit financial support from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela, Columbus wrote: "…Finally, to compress into few words the entire summary of my voyage and speedy return, and of the advantages derivable therefrom, I promise, that
with a little assistance afforded me by our most invincible sovereigns, I will procure them as much gold as they need, as great a quantity of spices, of cotton, and of mastic and as many men for the service of the navy as their Majesties may require. I promise also rhubarb and other sorts of drugs, which I am persuaded the men whom I have left ... have found already and will continue to find…" It is interesting to note that only one report of a potential gold producing area was actually verified on the first voyage. The other riches promised were even more disappointing.

The spice that Columbus refers to in his letter was Canella alba, a plant that smells like cinnamon but is not useful as a spice. The mastic mentioned in the letter turned out to be the sap of the turpentine tree and not the valuable resin of the gum mastic tree.

The prospective slaves for service in the navy had such a low survival rate that the few survivors were returned to their island homes as an act of mercy by the crown. The rhubarb that was supposed to have been found was in fact not rhubarb at all but a plant known
now as false rhubarb. The promise of drugs probably refers to the discovery of an abundance of what was thought to be the medicinal plant aloe, but which was in reality the relatively worthless, century plant. Another worthless item that Columbus brought back to Spain as evidence of the riches that could be exploited from the continuance of his adventures was the unpleasant-tasting fruit of the icaco, which he believed to be the coconut mentioned in the
writings of Marco Polo.

Notwithstanding these inconsistencies, Columbus was successful in obtaining the desired financial support for his second voyage in which he was instructed by the crown to establish gold mines, install settlers, develop trade with the Tainos, and convert them to Christianity.

Marginally productive gold mines were eventually discovered in Hispaniola and later in Puerto Rico and Cuba. At first it was Spanish settlers who panned for gold in the rivers and worked the
newly discovered mines, but the combination of disappointing yields, harsh working conditions and high mortality rates quickly led to the abandonment of this activity by the Spaniards.

The task of gold mining was then given to enslaved Tainos. Most died from disease brought on by unsanitary conditions, overwork and lack of resistance to European illnesses. Countless others succumbed to famine that resulted when the Taino were not given sufficient time
to provide for their own sustenance. The chronicler, Las Casas, reported that only ten percent survived after three months of service and that there was a constant shortage of workers. As a
result inhabitants of other Caribbean islands were captured and enslaved. The mines in Hispaniola became depleted in the 1520's and those of Puerto Rico and Cuba became exhausted within the following decade.

The Taino cacique Guacanagari, who befriended Columbus and who was later sold into slavery by his "friend" twice sent Columbus facemasks with nose, tongue and ears made of gold.

Masks traditionally have spiritual significance. Was Guacanagari trying to make a statement about the true nature of Columbus's character?

Article Source: stjohnbeachguide.com

UCTP Taino News Moderator's Note: The above information is presented for educational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed within "Taino Gold" by Gerald Singer are not necessarily those of The Voice of the Taino People News Journal or the United Confederation of Taino People.


Ceremonial Offerings and Religious Practices Among Taíno Indians*

Ryan Martin presented “Ceremonial Offerings and Religious Practices Among Taíno Indians: An Archaeological Investigation of Gourd Use in Taíno Culture” at the IUSB Undergraduate Research Conference in March 1999 and at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research held in Rochester, New York in April 1999.

This research paper details gourd use in Taíno creation myths, religious ceremonies, and in everyday life by placing these practices within a broader cross-cultural framework. Martin concludes that gourds emphasized the ever present duality in Taíno culture.

Excerpt from “Ceremonial Offerings and Religious Practices Among Taíno Indians”:

For the Taíno, religion differed from the institutionalized faiths of modern society. ‘‘The world today is accustomed to separate realms for religion and science, church and state, theology and philosophy. But for the Taínos, religion assumed all of these functions through an interlocking system of symbols, rites, and beliefs’’ (Stevens-Arroyo (1988) page 53). For the Taíno, religion incorporated all aspects of life. The central focal point of Taíno religion was the practice of cemeism. Cemies are small figurines fashioned out of stone, wood, shell and cotton. These figurines provided a physical representation of the Taíno cult of spirits. They were a link between the psychic world of humans and nature. They helped explain the chaos of life through rituals of fertility, healing and divination, and the cult of ancestors. ‘‘The cemies served as sacred mediums allowing the power of the numinous to flow in two directions; from the spirit world out into human experience, and from human need into the cosmos’’ (Stevens-Arroyo 1988). Cemies were kept by all members of the society, but those belonging to the cacique (chief) or behique (shaman or priest) were believed to hold higher powers.

Cemies could only be constructed with the assistance of a behique. For instance, if a commoner was walking in the forest and came upon a tree which he/she thought held certain powers, he/she would call a behique to come from the village and perform a prescribed ceremony. If the tree was able to answer the behique’s questions correctly and the ceremony was performed correctly, the person was able to cut the tree down and carve his/her cemi (Ramon Pane translated in Bourne 1907).

Communication with the cemies was often achieved via the use of a hallucinogenic drug, known as cohoba. This rite of using cohoba was clearly done for religious purposes. It allowed the participant to see beyond the normal.

Tree calabash or Higuero (Crescentia cujete)

To view the full paper, visit: http://www.iusb.edu/~journal/1999/Paper11.html

*UCTP Taino News Moderator’s Note: The above information is presented for educational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed within “Ceremonial Offerings and Religious Practices Among Taíno Indians: An Archaeological Investigation of Gourd Use in Taíno Culture” are not necessarily those of The Voice of the Taino People News Journal or the United Confederation of Taino People.

Iwokrama, Fair View village ink co-management pact

Stabroek News (Guyana) - An agreement to co-manage natural resources between an Amerindian community and the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Development is expected to set an example of how people can live in, while conserving a protected area.

The agreement was inked between the centre and the Region Nine community of Fair View at the Hotel Tower on Thursday. The village is located near the Kurupukari crossing of the Essequibo River adjacent to the Linden-Lethem road which bisects the Iwokrama Rainforest Centre site. The proximity encouraged interactions between Fair View and Iwokrama and as a result employment by Iwokrama also became a source of livelihood for villagers.

Iwokrama Director General David Singh in remarks to the gathering noted that the agreement marked an important milestone in the development of protected areas management in Guyana and is indicative of the possibility that people can live, sustain their livelihoods, find self advancement and fulfil their aspirations, while living and working within a park. Additionally, Singh said the agreement established a global reference point for participatory decision making when it comes to natural resource use and management.

"Today we take another important step as we formally embrace the concept of people living within parks as a viable means by which one can conserve and manage a protected area. In fact, today we see the last segment of the loop that connects the 90% of forest-dependent people across the world to the management of their resources in partnership with government and other stakeholders," Singh said.


Living in America: The Allure of Gold


Living in America: The Allure of Gold

Gold is an enduring icon of wealth, beauty and power. Immortalized in the daily lives and cultural beliefs of ancient peoples, it was the first metal worked by humans; today it is still the most universal currency. Deposits of gold have been found on every continent except Antarctica. Gold also played a compelling role in the history of the Americas. Beginning with the voyages of Columbus through the Gold Rush era that drove a massive migration westward; this precious metal is a part of the formation of the American identity. This year’s Living in America theme recognizes the expressions, effects and allure that gold has on culture through exciting musical performances, discussions, and films for adults and families.

Ancient Expression…
Sunday, January 14
Kaufmann Theater and Linder Theaters, First Floor
These programs focus on pre-Columbian cultures that have used and cherished gold…

Mexican Indigenous Dance • 1:00pm • Kaufmann Theater

Mexica dance group Atl-Tlachinolli performs the centuries-old indigenous ritual dance traditions of the Aztecs. The vibrant and colorful music and dance presentation begins with ceremonial recognition of the four directions and dances conducted in four cycles. The group makes use of pre-Columbian instruments, rhythms, and regalia.

El Dorado Revisited
Panel Discussion • 2:00 p.m. • Linder Theater

Representatives of several indigenous communities present their perspectives on pre-Columbian relationships to gold and the effects that 15th century colonization fueled by the search for gold had upon these communities. Invited panelist include Jose Barreiro Ph.D. (Guajiro Taino, Cuba), Assistant Director of Research, National Museum of the American Indian; Mirian Mazaquiza (Quechua, Ecuador), Program Officer, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Secretariat; and George Simon (Lokono Arawak, Guyana), critically acclaimed artist. A question and answer session will follow.

Andean Music Concert • 4:00 p.m. • Kaufmann Theater

Tahuantinsuyo, a group of traditional Andean musicians, will perform music from the ancient Incan empire, now the countries of Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia. Performing together internationally for over 20 years, the group uses an array of pan-pipes, flutes, drums, string instruments, and colorful traditional clothing. A series of stunning slides featuring the geography and culture of the Andes will enhance the program.

Special Event
AMNH Indigenous Crafts Fair and Artist Showcase
Grand Gallery • 11:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.

In conjunction with AMNH’s exhibition “Gold”, experience a crafts fair and artist showcase highlighting various indigenous communities linked with pre-Columbian gold traditions in the Grand Gallery at the 77th Street entrance. Some of the acclaimed artists showcasing works include Inty Muenala (Quechua, Ecuador), Mildred Torres Speeg (Boriken Taino, Puerto Rico), George Simon (Lokono Arawak, Guyana), and others.

Taino Warrior by Mildred Torres-Speeg

All programs are free with suggested Museum admission. Neither tickets nor reservations are required. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. It is recommended that you arrive in plenty of time to enter the Museum and locate the program space. Please use the main entrance at Central Park West at 79th Street.

For further information, call the Museum's Department of Education at 212-769-5315 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. weekdays. Program information is also available on the Museum’s Web site at www.amnh.org/livinginamerica/ A three-story parking garage is open during Museum hours; enter from West 81st Street. For public transportation, call 212-769-5100.

Living in America/Global Weekends are made possible, in part, by The Coca-Cola Company, the City of New York, and the New York City Council. Additional support has been provided by the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., the Tolan Family, and the family of Frederick H. Leonhardt.

*This artist appears as part of the American Museum of Natural History’s World Music Live series supported by The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Program Curators: Roberto Múcaro Borrero (Boriken Taíno), Teddy Yoshikami


World's most expensive smoke is a Behike.

Havana, Cuba (UCTP Taino News) - Cohiba’s “Behike” is the world's most expensive cigar at $440 each and available only in boxes of 40 for $18,860. The Cuban havanas from the Cohiba brand are so precious that no one has actually lit one yet, although the blend was tested by a group of tasters before the cigar went into hand-made production, according to Norma Fernandez, a veteran "torcedora" or cigar-roller from the El Laguito factory in Havana.

The cigars are truly "hand-made" as Ms. Fernandez rolled all 4,000 cigars herself for the strictly limited edition.

Fernandez also decided on the tobacco blend to be used which was designed to honor 40 years of the Cohiba brand. "I'm not going to reveal the formula," she told reporters.

The Cohiba "Behike" is named after the “shaman or medicine person” of Cuba's indigenous Taino People.


A Few Holiday Messages

1.) A message from the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues:

Dear Friends,

Please receive our very best wishes for the holidays and the New Year. May 2007 bring you and yours peace and happiness, good health and prosperity.

Avec nos meilleurs voeux.

Felices festividades.
Aaja, Broddi, Ekaterina,
Elsa, Hui, Mirian, Olivia & Sonia
Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

2.) A message from Faye DeAbreau (Arawak):

Seasons Greetings to you and all

What a wonderful year this has been. I look back on the seasons and realize that once again the Creator has blessed us with life and its many quirks.

In my family we have had a wedding, a couple births, a death and many squabbles between the hugs and kisses. We have had many joyful moments and some moments of intense reflection as well as some moments we are not so proud of.

Sometimes I am sad, sometimes I grieve for what has passed and what is to be. Sometimes I bubble over with joy at the same thing that made me cry yesterday. Always I am hungry, always I am thirsty and always I want to share and be close to my people. I am hungry to know my past and my future. I thirst for the knowledge that has been forgotten. I crave the lullabyes of my grandmother, whose tongue I do not understand yet crave.

I remember a time when much was not forgotten. I remember looking through the trees at the river and hearing the conch blow its herald. I remember and those memories are stored like precious jewels lest they, too, be stolen.

In this new year I ask that we have mercy on each other and show kindness more readily. Think kindly eagerly. Let's not judge each other so harshly and so easily. Let's take time to listen to the wind for it often carries so much more information than the voice. Let's speak our hearts not our minds for our minds have become embittered by history but our hearts are refreshed every dawn within the sheer joy rising with the sun.

I love you all my family. Bo'matum for sending your words of wisdom out to me. Bo'matum administrator Roberto for your kind work in keeping up with this website despite the changes in your life. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make the friends that I have through your website.

Bo'matum wonderful readers who share so much and have given me so much. We are once again privileged to to come together to bring our strenghts to fore. I am proud to be with you. Bo'matum.

3.) A message from "TANA" :

Wishing to you all a Happy New Year, and that the Creator bring to all lots of blessings from behalf of the Taino abuelo in Vega Baja, Manuel Galagarza, and myself. And God bless you Millie Gandia for being who you are, small but big in heart, people don't value that.

Love you always, your sister,