Archaeologists discover slaves were wealthy and astute business men

Caribbean archaeologists say recent discoveries have forced them to rethink traditional views about the region's history.

They have just held their biennial conference in Jamaica, where the role of archaeology in understanding the Caribbean history came up for discussion.

The archaeologists say their findings are sometimes in direct contrast to what has been written by the "planter class", especially as it relates to the period of slavery.

Roderick Ebanks, who chaired the Jamaica conference, is one of the archaeologists doing research into the Caribbean's past.

He explained that they have come across the villages of enslaved workers and what they found is very different from what was written by contemporary planters.

At an excavated African workers village in Seville on the North coast of Jamaica there were keys and large padlocks in the buildings indicating there was a lot of material wealth.

As he pointed out the wealth is not surprising when you remember that the slaves create the internal marketing system. Many slaves were wealthy during slavery. Their wealth came not from handouts from planters but from their work in the grounds, their trading and their farms in the hills.

From oral tradition it was known that there was a close relationship between Africans and native Arawaks who were called Taino. Now DNA evidence is showing that the maroons carry a lot of genes of the Taino people. The African male slaves who escaped took Taino wives and those were the people who became the maroon population.

*Source: http//www.cbc.bb (Friday, July 27, 2007)

Related Source:

Mr Ebanks told Neil Nunes of the BBC about some of their findings.


First Taino Day Observed in Jamaica

Saint Anns, Jamaica (UCTP Taíno News) - The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) hosted its first Taíno Day on May 4, at Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann.

The official observance sought to commemorate the life and legacy of Jamaica's first inhabitants, who were formally referred to as the Arawaks.

The Executive Director of the JNHT, Laleta Davis-Mattis pointed out that Taino Day was a part of the Trust's annual observance of Encounter Day, which is "a day set aside to highlight the meeting of the various worlds or cultures that underpin our history and our ethnic composition," including the Spanish, English, Africans and Tainos.

The Executive Director explained that this year, "more historical significance and credence” was be placed on the Tainos and their contribution to Jamaican history.

Activities marking the celebration included lectures and discussions; an exhibition of Taino artifacts; display and sampling of Taino food, Taino quiz and a mini zoo with Taino animals.

In an official statement to the JNHT, President of the UCTP’s Office of International Relations, Roberto Múcaro Borrero commend the initiative and looked forward to working together on next years commemoration.


Jayuya Celebrates the Day of the Puerto Rican Indian

Boriken (UCTP Taino News) - The “Day of the Puerto Rican Indian” will be celebrated by the autonomous municipality of Jayuya (Office of Tourism) in cooperation with local Taino represented by CATTA-COOP Inc. on the weekend of August 11 & 12 2007 in Barrio Coaybey, Jayuya, Puerto Rico. The event promises a not to be missed series of special presentations, art exhibitions, and performances.


Guyana: Archaeology students back from Kabakaburi dig - pottery, tools found

By Zoisa Fraser

Eleven persons, including University of Guyana (UG) students, have successfully completed a one-week course in archaeology, opening the gateway for others who are interested in pursuing studies in this field.

This course came into being when UG launched the Denis Williams School of Anthropology two Mondays ago though collaborative efforts with two US universities as a step towards offering full-time studies in the discipline in coming years.

Cultural anthropology has been part of the local university's summer programme for sometime now and this year archaeology was added. The Amerindian Research Unit of the School of Humanities at UG previously worked along with US-based Guyanese Dr George Mentore of the University of Virginia to offer the course in cultural anthropology. Recently Dr Mark Plew of Boise State University (BSU), Idaho, who has ties with UG spanning some 20 years, joined the team to carry the archaeology course.

The archaeology students described their experience as exciting and educational and said they were looking forward to more courses like the one they have just completed.

Four of the participants were from the university's environmental studies course, two from the forestry course, one from the creative arts course, two from Iwokrama and two from Kabakaburi Settlement in Region Two, where the students carried out an excavation exercise. Materials for the course were provided by BSU; UG financed the accommodation and meals and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport provided transportation for the students from Georgetown to Parika. The course for this first batch of students was free.

After three days of digging, the group came across pieces of pottery, stone tools, bones and other items left behind by early settlers. Some of these things will be taken back to the USA for analysis.

See the full story at Stabroek News:



The Archaeology of the Caribbean (Cambridge World Archaeology)

The Archaeology of the Caribbean (Cambridge World Archaeology)
by Samuel M. Wilson
Release Date: July 31, 2007

Book Description:The Archaeology of the Caribbean is a comprehensive synthesis of Caribbean prehistory from the earliest settlement by humans more than 4000 years BC, to the time of European conquest of the islands, from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. Samuel Wilson reviews the evidence for migration and cultural change throughout the archipelago, dealing in particular with periods of cultural interaction when groups with different cultures and histories were in contact.


*UCTP Taino News Editor's Note: The above announcement is presented for your information. The views and opinions expressed within " The Archaeology of the Caribbean" by Samuel M. Wilson are not necessarily those of The Voice of the Taino People News Journal or the United Confederation of Taino People. As of this date the no copy of the publication has been received from the publisher or author for our review.



PUERTO RICAN PRECOLONIAL HISTORY ETCHED IN STONE By Dr. RENIEL RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS is a dissertation presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Florida, 2007. The main focus is on archeology in Puerto Rico.

Download the pdf file at http://www.box.net/shared/gul7lzccx7


Taino Artists Open Online Store

(UCTP Taino News) - Two talented Taino artists, John “Aguilar” Marrero (Boriken) and Reina Miranda (Kiskeia) have announced the opening of an online store, which will feature their Taino themed art-works. Their online store is entitled ‘Taino Spirit’ and is hosted at the Cafépress website at http://www.cafepress.com/aguilar .

Miranda and Marrero both currently have selected works on display along with other indigenous artists from around the world at a special exhibition being held at United Nations Headquarters in New York. Sponsored by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), the Indigenous Peoples Exhibition is scheduled to close August 10, 2007.

In photo from left to right are Reina Miranda,
Roberto Mucaro Borrero, Mainaku Borrero, Mildred Gandia Reyes,
and Aguilar Marrero at the United Nations, May 16, 2007


Elder Corbin Harney Crosses Over

Santa Rosa, CA (UCTP Taino News) – Grandfather Corbin Harney, Spiritual Leader of the Western Shoshone Nation crossed over peacefully at 11:00 a.m. on July 10, 2007 in California.

Harney had dedicated his life to fighting the nuclear testing and dumping. He received numerous national and international awards and spoke before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Corbin also authored two books: "The Way It Is: One Water, One Air, One Earth" (Blue Dolphin Publishing, 1995) and a forthcoming book, "The Nature Way". Numerous documentaries have been made about his work and message. In 1994, Corbin established the Shundahai Network to work with people and organizations to respond to spiritual and environmental concerns on nuclear issues.

Over his lifetime, Harney traveled around the world as a speaker, healer and spiritual leader with a profound spiritual and environmental message for all. In 1995, he visited the island of Boriken (Puerto Rico) meeting with the general public as well as representatives of the island’s indigenous Taino leadership via the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos.

Upon receiving the news of Harney’s passing, Elba Anaka Lugo, President of the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos stated “we will surely miss this dear elder who dedicated himself to promoting the traditional ways of Indigenous Peoples. Grandfather Corbin was a respected relative/brother and we will always consider it an honor to have participated in ceremony together in our scared ceremonial grounds of Caguana.”

President Lugo also announced that a special prayer will be offered in memory Grandfather Harney during the up-coming annual congress of the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos, which will be held in Caguana, Puerto Rico on July 25 this year.

According to a statement released by his immediate family, Corbin Harney is descended from generations of Newe (Shoshone) traditional healers and was always grateful for the many extraordinary teachers who shared their knowledge in his lifetime. He is survived by his daughter Reynaulda Taylor; granddaughters Ann Taylor and Nada Leno; grandsons Keith, Jon and Joel Leno and William Henry Taylor; seven great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; and his sister Rosie Blossom's family and many cousins and other family members as well as many, many friends around the world.


See related story:

More on www.shundahai.org



Arawak Artists Featured in Guyanese Exhibition

Georgetown, Guyana (UCTP Taino News) – Three indigenous Arawak artists were featured in a recent multi-disciplinary arts exhibition at the famed Umana Yana cultural center in the Kingston section of Georgetown, Guyana.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the exhibition entitled "Guy Arts Fiesta" brought together visual, performing, and literary arts from June 29th through July 5th. The concept for this premier event was developed by Desmond Ali, one of Guyana's outstanding sculptor/painters hailing from the Lokono Arawak Nation.

The indigenous artists featured at the Umana Yana exhibition were also members of Lokono Arawak communities. These artists included two from Pakuri Arawak Territory (St. Cuthberts), Oswald Hussein and Roland Taylor, and one from the Pomeroon River region, Valentino Stull. All three are well established artists and have worked and exhibited outside of Guyana.

In attendance at the opening ceremony were various government officials, representatives of the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), and United Confederation of Taino People President Roberto Mucaro Borrero.

"It is an honor to have been invited here to the exhibition opening and see first hand these exemplary indigenous artists whose works are an inspiration to our communities especially our youth" stated Borrero.

The Umana Yana was built in 1972 and is a 55-foot high cone-shaped palm-thatched shelter constructed by members of the Wai Wai tribe. No nails were used in its construction and it shelters an area of approximately 460 square meters.

Umana Yana is an indigenous expression meaning "meeting place of the people."



An Arawak girl drying palm straw in the sun
on Pakuri Arawak Territory, Guyana.

Barbados, West Indies (UCTP Taino News) - A group of Barbadians have decided to come together and sponsor an unprecedented 4-day long sports festival on Pakuri Lokono Arawak Territory in Guyana in July 2007. The historic sporting event will feature such activities as archery, spear-throwing, cricket, canoe-racing and football - for both males and females in the tribe.

The idea started with Damon Corrie, a well known Barbadian of Guyanese Arawak descent who stated that he wants to give the Arawak youth something positive to apply their natural talents to; and prepare for every year from now on.

Corrie hopes to widen the scope by next year and turn it into what would be Guyana's first 'National Inter-Tribal Games' in 2008 - which would be a 9-day long mega-event, and he foresees potential for an eventual Hemisphere-wide or even Global 'Inter-Tribal Olympics' possibly being held in Bolivia in the future. Bolivia would be a logical choice for this type of initiative as it currently the only country in the world with an Indigenous President, government, and an indigenous majority of the national population.

The current July 2007 event will be known officially as the 'Ernest C. Simon Memorial Sports Festival' - in honor of Corrie's sport's loving Arawak brother-in-law who died in 2001 at the age of 33. Simon was a resident of the Pakuri Arawak Territory.

Corrie said that although he put the idea to his relatives in Barbados in a very last-minute fashion - they immediately saw the merit in it and offered to donate prize money and trophies (which are being made by the Barbados firm of D. Blades Trophies Ltd.). Relatives and tribal-relations abroad are also getting involved with the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) committing to sponsor the traditional spear-throwing competition.

UCTP President and Chairman, Roberto Mucaro Borrero stated "this is a wonderful initiative and something all Indigenous Peoples can be proud of; it is my hope that our community can come together to send a team of Taino youth to compete at a future event."

The Makushi Tribe (Brazil and Guyana) and members of the Kalinago Carib Nation of Dominica have already expressed interest in participating in 2008.

After the Festival the event winners and a list of donors will be made public in a press-release and photos will be posted on-line.


For more information or if you would like to make a contribution, please contact Damon Corrie via e-mail at damoncorrie@yahoo.com or by cellular phone: (246) 253-2613


Areito, the Cuban music of the aboriginal people

The Cuban musical tradition has its origins in the most authentic elements of the culture and history of the island. Even the Cuban aboriginal population had certain musical tradition known as Areito.

The Areitos were a kind of rhymes or romances they danced and sang at the same time. They found inspiration in their every-day lives and they were sung in chorus or individually by a person whose task was to lead the dance and / or the story. This person was named Tequina who was generally an elder person.

Sometimes they used to dance taking their hands while in others they interlaced their arms. Thus, they moved to the rhythm with their bodies performing some front and back steps. An areito could last up to the following day with all the community gathered, in the center of the small village and situated around the bonfire.

The Anacaona areito is an example of this cultural expression, which is dedicated to an outstanding aboriginal woman and says:

“Aya bomba ya Bombay

La massana Anacaona

Van van tavana dogal

Aya bomba ya Bombay

La massana Anacaona”

Those compositions were changing from their most primitive forms with the Spanish colonization and they influenced the cultural traditions of the Cuban countryside.


Public Notice Concerning the Commercialization of Ancestral Cultural Heritage Items

Takahi Guaitiao:

On behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), we extend warm greetings and blessings, trusting you are all in good health and spirit. We are confident that this official statement responds to a recent issue that required our collective attention, and reflection.

On Jun 12, 2007, an e-mail communication alleging the sale of several Taino artifacts on the EBay auction site was received by the UCTP's Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination (UCTP-OIRRC). The e-mail implicated an unnamed community member as the seller, which evoked a range of reactions and concerns throughout our diverse communities. As a result, the UCTP-OIRRC received a request to follow-up on the situation.

On June 14 2007, the UCTP-OIRRC contacted the author of the original email and learned that, the seller was a UCTP community Liaison Officer who has served in this capacity honorably for the last 5 years.

Following this communication, the UCTP-OIRRC sought the council of community members, leaders, medicine people, and elders. All agreed that while this was an individual action, as a "public face" of the collective, Liaisons have a great responsibility to uphold the principles set forth in the UCTP Declaration of 1998. Faced with this realization, the Liaison involved issued an apology to the UCTP and the larger community for these actions and resigned from the UCTP Liaison program effective June 21, 2007. The UCTP-OIRRC, community members, elders, and medicine people respect this decision to resign and have accepted the resignation.

Even as this case represents a complex set of issues, the founding principles and work ethic promoted by the UCTP clearly do not support the commercialization of ancestral cultural heritage items. It is further recognized that although the UCTP has developed internal protocols and mechanisms to address these situations; these mechanisms may need to be strengthened by the development of new initiatives to integrate them at the local, national, and international level.

Having concluded our internal and ancestral protocols relating to this case, the UCTP-OIRRC reaffirms its commitment to the protection, promotion, and revitalization of indigenous Taino cultural heritage and spiritual traditions for past, present and future generations as enshrined within the UCTP founding Declaration of 1998.

In the Spirit of our Ancestors,
Roberto Mucaro Borrero,
President and Chairman,
United Confederation of Taino People,
Office of International Relations and
Regional Coordination