Denver's Ultimate Persecution of Columbus Day Resisters to Begin Today

Vindictive Trial of the Elderly and Disabled Shows City's True Colors

Denver (Colorado AIM) - On Wednesday morning, May 28, at 8:30am, in Courtroom 117M in the City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street, Denver, the City of Denver is scheduled to begin its final round of prosecutions of the 83 Columbus Day protesters, who were arrested on October 6, 2007.

In the final drama of arrests and trials, that Colorado AIM estimates have cost the city over $1 million, the City will embark on its most mean-spirited and cynical prosecutions to date.

Wednesday's case involves the persecution of:

- a 67-year-old American Indian elder, who is a diabetic amputee, and was arrested in her wheelchair the day of the protest (Irma Little)

- a 60-year-old European-American man, who was former Controller for the State of Colorado, and is a retired lawyer, professor and minister (Dan Whittemore)

- a 32-year-old, blind, Italian-American man who stood in solidarity with American Indians against the racism of the Columbus Day parade (Nicholas Delmonico)

- a 63-year-old, European-American teacher who has protested the Columbus Day holiday, in an attempt to educate the Colorado public, for the past fifteen years (Katherine "Kate" Goodspeed)

The prosecution of this group of social justice advocates is more evidence that the administration of Mayor John Hickenlooper, and the office of City Attorney David Fine, are not interested in the pursuit of justice, and are not interested in a principled resolution of the annual Columbus Day conflict in the streets of Denver. They are interested in the vindictive assertion of their power, through arbitrary arrests and prosecutions of peaceful dissenters. The City has admitted in these trials that it intends to set an example for future protests, including this summer's Democratic National Convention.

The defense will be led by noted Denver attorneys Lonn Heymann of the law firm of Rosenthal and Heymann, and Qusair Mohamedbhai of the law firm of Killmer, Lane & Newman.


UN Special Rapporteur Investigating Racism in the U.S.

UCTP Taino News - At the invitation of the U.S. government, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racisim, Doudou Diène is visiting the U.S. until June 6 to examine issues of racism and racial discrimination in the country. Diène's visit includes stops in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Omaha, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico where he will study incidents of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the governmental measures in place to address them.

Diène is scheduled to meet with federal and local government officials as well as members of diverse communities across the United States and representatives of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

On Thursday, May 22, 2008, a representative of the United Confederation of Taino People, Roberto Mukaro Borrero met with Mr. Diène in New York to highlight ongoing discrimination against indigenous Taino People in Puerto Rico and the U.S.

Borrero provided the Special Rapporteur with documentation based on the Shadow Report submitted by the UCTP, the Caney Quinto Mundo (CQM), and the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos (CGTB) to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racism (CERD) in March 2008. The UCTP, CQM, and the CGTB also contributed Taino related information to the Shadow Report submitted by the International Indian Treaty Council to the CERD.

Following the recent CERD session, the Committee issued a critique of the United States' record on racial discrimination urging the government to make sweeping reforms to policies affecting racial and ethnic minorities, women, immigrants and indigenous peoples.

"The visit of the Special Rapporteur presents a unique opportunity to follow up on the information we provided to the CERD and will assist in bringing Taino concerns to the forefront of the U.N. system and its enforcement mechanisms," stated Borrero.

The mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance was established in 1993 by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and further extended by the U.N. Human Rights Council. Mr. Diène will submit a final report on the visit to the Human Rights Council in the spring of 2009.

UCTPTN 05.27.2008


Professor Shepherd Calls For Expansion of Heritage Calendar

by Jamaica Information Service

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA (JIS) - Chairman of the Jamaica National Bicentenary Committee, Professor Verene Shepherd, has called for an expansion of the national heritage calendar to embrace all the critical moments in the country's history that have helped to shape the nation.

Professor Shepherd, who was delivering the main address at a ceremony held at the Frome Sugar Estate in Westmoreland on May 22, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Frome labour riots, said that while the existing calendar was commendable, there were still critical gaps in the country's history not accounted for.

"While I laud all those who helped to create the existing calendar so that we mark Reggae and Black History in February, Labour Day in May, Emancipation Day in August, and the Morant Bay Rebellion and the struggles of our heroes and heroine in October, I believe that there are critical gaps," she argued.

"I urge the cultural agencies to get together and collaborate on a more realistic national heritage calendar that will be more representative of the contributions and experiences of our people; all of our people," she stated.

Professor Shepherd clarified that she was not lobbying for all significant dates in the country's history to be declared as public holidays, but that some form of recognition should be given to these dates, no matter how small.

"Where all the commemorative events cannot be funded by the Government of Jamaica and the cultural agencies, they should be made the responsibility of parish councils and the Ministry of Education should insist that these commemorative moments are marked in all of our schools," she advocated.

Professor Shepherd said a more accurate calendar, would incorporate some of the dates recognized by the Jamaica National Bicentenary Committee, in addition to other significant dates.

These include the commemoration of the last ship with African slaves to arrive at the Kingston on February 17; the passage of the Trans-Atlantic Trade in Africans (TTA) Abolition Act on March 25; the anniversary of the outbreak Tacky's war on April 8; the trial of Sam Sharpe on April 19; and Frome massacre day on May 2.

She also cited Taino remembrance day, May 5; Indians arrival day, May 9; Sam Sharpe execution day, May 23; remembrance day for the victims of the TTA on August 23; hanging of Paul Bogle on October 25; and eruption of emancipation war on December 27.

The function was staged through the collaborative efforts of the Institute of Jamaica and the Frome Sugar Estate to mark the 1938 riots, which changed Jamaica's social and political history. A monument was laid to mark the spot where the labour unrest, which led to the riots, began.


Caribbean Tops New 7 Natural Wonders Nominees

El Yunque Rainforest, a site of cultural and spirtual significance to the
Taino People is one of the Caribbean nominees for the "New 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

UCTP Taino News – The New7Wonders Foundation has announced the organization's next project: The New7Wonders of Nature. The natural heritage nominations for this category include 10 sites in the Caribbean. The nominated sites include El Yunque Nature Conservancy (Puerto Rico), Pink Sand Beach (Bahamas), Vinales Vally (Cuba), Twin Pitons Moutain Peak (Saint Lucia), La Brea Pitch Lake (Trinidad and Tobago), Dunn’s River Waterfall (Jamaica), and Boiling Lake (Dominica). Belize was nominated for 3 sites Blue Hole Underwater Sink Hole, Deans Blue Hole, and the Belize Barrier Reef.

Amir Dossal, executive director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships, recognized the New7Wonders Foundation's ongoing efforts to promote the UN's Millennium Development Goals. The organization’s previous campaign, The New 7 Wonders of the World announced its results during the Official Declaration ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, July 7, 2007. The “New Wonders” included two sites of significance to Indigenous Peoples - Chichén Itzá (Yucatan, Mexico) and Machu Picchu (Peru).

Nominations can be submitted for the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign until December 31, 2008. A New 7 Wonders Panel of Experts will then select the 21 finalists, from which voters worldwide will elect the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Nominations must be for a clearly defined natural site or natural monument that was not created or significantly altered by humans for aesthetic reasons. For more information on the campaign, to suggest a site or to vote on your top seven sites visit the New 7 Wonders website at http://www.new7wonders.com/

UCTPTN 05.21.2008


Taino to Present Cultural Program at Pequot Museum

UCTP Taino News – Members of the Cacibajagua Taino Cultural Society will present a Taino cultural program at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center on Wednesday, July 23, 2008. The program takes place from 1-3pm and is open to the public. The group will present Taino music and dance as well as discuss the meaning of the various songs and how the Taino instruments are played and made. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum offers engaging experiences for all ages, from life-size walk-through dioramas that transport visitors into the past, to changing exhibits and live performances of contemporary arts and cultures. For more information on the Taino presentation check out the Museum’s website at http://www.pequotmuseum.org/.

UCTPTN 05.20.2008


Ramapough Pow Wow This Weekend

UCTP Taino News – The Wawayanda Northern Liaison Native American Pow Wow and Gathering is set to take place this weekend, May 17-18, 2008 in Warwick, New York. The event is being held to honor “Lenape People Who Dwelled Along the Path Stretching from the Delaware River to the Hudson River” and will take place at the Warwick Veterans Memorial Park, from 10am to 6pm, rain or shine. Sanctioned by the Ramapough Mountain Indians, Inc, the Wawayanda Pow Wow will feature dancing, drumming, craft, and food.

The Ramapough Mountain Indians have resided in the Ramapough Mountains for more than three hundred years, and are a part of the greater Lenape Nation.

On Sunday - May 18 - a special cultural presentation by members of the Cacibajagua Taino Cultural Society takes place at the Wawayanda Pow Wow at 2:30pm and at 4:30pm. “Cacibajagua” is an inter-Tribal, inter-generational community of indigenous Caribbean singers, musicians, and artists dedicated to transmitting their ancestral heritage to their present and future generations.

The host drum for the Pow Wow is "Spirit of the Mountain" and Grand Entry begins at noon both days. For further information on the Wawayanda Native American Pow Wow, contact 845-610-3258 or 845-283-0764.

Photo: Jeannie Calcano, Maria Diaz, and Vanessa Inarunikia of the Cacibajagua Taino Cultural Society (Photo by Mamarazi)

UCTPTN 05.14.2008


Tourism Destinations Threatened By Global Warming

UCTP Taino News – The OTBeach News site “ProTraveller” has put together a list of 20 popular travel destinations that will change dramatically as the world continues to heat up. The feature notes that while a “few lucky” places may benefit economically from “extra temperature points”, overall a “great number” of places will not be “so lucky”. As many countries around the world depend on tourism to bring in much needed revenue, global warming is set to devastate economies that depend on the allure of their “natural beauty”.

Two Caribbean destinations made ProTraveller’s “
list of 20” places set to significantly change due to the current climate crises. The Belize Barrier Reef and the Virgin Islands are identified as being at risk of being lost to the now annual global rise in temperatures.

Designated as a World Heritage Site, the Belize Barrier Reef is the largest in the Caribbean and one of the largest coral reefs in the world second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It is one of the biggest tourist’s attractions for Belize and it is already suffering climate related damage despite protections.

“The global climate crises is a reality” stated Roberto Mukaro Borrero, a representative of the
United Confederation of Taino People. “Our elders have been noting serious changes in the environment for years but most governments are not taking the wisdom of local people seriously or including them in regional plans to mitigate this crisis.”

Borrero was part of a delegation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples who spoke out on climate change at the United Nations recently during the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Made up of indigenous leaders from Dominica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, the delegation worked together at the UN under the auspices of the
Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean. In a special session entitled “Climate Change and Biological Diversity: A Caribbean First Nations Perspective” the group highlighted links between climate change and tourism, as well as human rights issues.

As mandated by international frameworks such as the Barbados Plan of Action, the Caucus called for great inclusion of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples in all processes that affect them especially with regard to the environment and climate change.

Photo: The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries.

UCTPTN 05.14.2008


Boriken Taino Stand Strong with the UCTP

Elder Valeriana Shashira Rodriguez Valentin, Kasike Elba Anaka Lugo Perez, and Kasike Roberto Mukaro Agueibana Borrero celebrate 10 years of solidarity.

UCTP Taino News – Representatives of the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos renewed their sacred ties with the United Confederation of Taino People in a special unification ceremony on Saturday, April 26, 2008. Boriken Council leader Kasike Elba Anaka Lugo Perez and elder Valeriana Shashira Rodriguez Valentin made the trip from Puerto Rico to meet with UCTP representatives as well as participate in the Seventh Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

“This trip is about unification because we are one Taino family on or off the island” declared elder Shashira. She also affirmed before all those gathered that “the Consejo is with the UCTP as the UCTP is with the Consejo.”

The historic solidarity ceremony took place at the home of UCTP Liaison, Evelyn Koai’cu Cruz-Lear in New Jersey.

A number of UCTP representatives and community members attended the
gathering that was not only a celebration but a chance to receive firsthand updates on the island’s current situation. The Boriken leaders shared their experiences at the Jacancas site in Ponce as well as information on some of their projects throughout Puerto Rico. Another important moment in the meeting was the official welcoming of Mildred Karaira Gandia into the “Circle of Boriken Taino Grandmothers” by elder Shashira. The Boriken Council elder urged those gathered to continue to look toward Karaira for council and leadership now and in the future.

After the discussions and the “Guaitiao ceremonies” led by elder Shashira, the Boriken leaders were surprised with a birthday cake as they both celebrated birthdays in April.

Of the gathering Elba Anaka Lugo - a pioneer of the Taino resurgence movement - stated that to “connect through ceremony” was for her one of the most important moments of this recent trip to the States.

Kasike Lugo also looked forward to receiving all her relatives in the ancestral homeland of Boriken sooner than later as there was “much work to be done.”

UCTPTN 05.08.2008


Arawak, Carib, and Taíno Nations Reaffirm Ties at the United Nations

Kalinago Chief Charles Williams and Ericc Diaz (Taino) of the UCTP display
the Proclamation from the NY City Council designa
ting April 25th as
United Confederation of Taino People Day in New York

New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) –
Lokono Arawak, Kalinago Carib, and Taíno leaders renewed their solidarity at a special ceremonial gathering hosted by Ambassador Crispin S. Gregoire of Dominica and the United Confederation of Taíno People on Friday, April 25th, 2008. The event took place at the Permanent Mission of Dominica to the United Nations and was held in honor of Kalinago Chief Charles Williams and the signing of the Declaration of Unity between the Kalinago Carib Nation of Dominica and the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP). The celebration also recognized the 10 year anniversary of the establishment of the Confederation.

The gathering opened with a welcome by Ambassador Gregoire and a prayer by Milo Yellow Hair of the Oglala Lakota Nation. A Wounded Knee Veteran and AIM member, Mr. Yellow Hair also noted that the gathering put to rest the “myth of extinction” of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples.

An opening address was given by Chief Charles Williams who spoke on the history of the Kalinago People and of the importance of unity among Caribbean Indigenous Peoples. Chief Williams also thanked the Permanent Mission of Dominica for their support and expressed that he was “very proud of the Declaration of Unity signed between the Kalinago and Taíno Peoples”.

Statements were also presented by Hereditary Lokono Arawak Chief Damon Corrie of the Eagle Clan Arawaks and Kasike Roberto Mukaro Agueibana Borrero representing the UCTP and Iukaieke Guainia. Chief Corrie pledged to continue to work toward strengthening the solidarity among Indigenous Peoples of the region. In an example of his commitment he presented a letter of congratulations to the UCTP from Pakuri Lokono Arawak Chief Pierre Andrews from the Upper Mahaica River in Guyana, South America Guyana. On behalf of the Eagle Clan Arawaks, Corrie also presented a ceremonial chief’s staff to Borrero in recognition of his work to unify Caribbean Indigenous Peoples throughout the islands and beyond.

Borrero gave a brief history of the UCTP and introduced the various UCTP representatives and community members in attendance. He reaffirmed the important work that has been accomplished at the United Nations, which continues to increase the visibility of the Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean. Borrero also recognized the contributions and support of Ambassador Gregoire, Ali El Issa of the Flying Eagle Woman Fund, and Pamela Kraft of the Tribal Link Foundation. On behalf the UCTP, Ambassador Gregoire, El Issa, and Kraft were all presented artworks by artists John Aguilar Marrero and Reina Miranda of the Cacibajagua Taíno Cultural Society.

A special presentation was also made by UCTP representative and Iukaiyeke Guainia member, Grandmother Mildred Karaira Gandia who presented three blue macaw feathers in recognition of outstanding community leadership to Chief Williams, Chief Corrie, and Kasike Borrero.

Among the other distinguished guests present during the celebration were Andrea Carmen and Ron Lehman of the International Indian Treaty Council. Ms. Carmen commented on the important contribution of the Government of Dominica towards the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recent affiliation of the UCTP with the Treaty Council.

The special presentation segment ended with the reading of the Proclamation issued by New York City Council member Melissa Mark Viverito, which recognized “10 years of distinguished service to Taíno, Carib, and Arawak Peoples of the Caribbean and the U.S.” In an historic moment for the Taíno community, the Proclamation also designated April 25, 2008 and “hereafter” as United Confederation of Taíno People Day in the City of New York.

Following the presentations all the attendees were treated to an incredible luncheon prepared by community members Angie Nanichi Kolibri Ramos, Vanessa Inarunikia, Jackie “la Jibarita”, Tommy Pastrano, and Maria Itiomacunana Diaz.

Closing the historic celebration was a song to honor Mother Earth presented by members of the Cacibajagua Taíno Cultural Society.

UCTPTN 05.04.2008


Drums Along the Hudson

The Warwick Gombey Troupe from Bermuda will perform at Drums Along the Hudson on Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

New York, NY (UCTP Taino News) – An annual event, this Native American Festival & Shad Fest featuring drummers & dancers from around the world will take place at Inwood Hill Park on Saturday, May 3rd, 2008. Promoted as “Manhattan's Only Open-Air Pow Wow”, the festival entitled “Drums Along the Hudson” will also host storytelling, Native Arts & Crafts, international food, free Shad tasting and Hudson River fish exhibits from 11am to 6pm rain or shine.

A number of special features are on the program this year including an honoring for Mohawk Chief Jake Swamp, Founder of the Tree of Peace Society and Xernona Clayton, Creator and Executive Producer of the Trumpet Awards.

Special guest performers include members of the Cacibajagua Taino Cultural Society and the Warwick Gombey Troupe & The St. David's Island Indians.

Established in 1992, the Cacibajagua Taino Cultural Society is an inter-Tribal, inter-generational community of indigenous Caribbean singers, musicians, and artists who are dedicated to transmitting their ancestral heritage to their future generations “with dignity and honor”.

The Warwick Gombey Troupe was founded by Mr. Irwin Trott in 1996 as an initiative to promote and preserve Bermuda's timeless Gombey dance and music tradition which combines elements of British, West African and indigenous New World cultures. The St. David's Island Indians are descendants of Northeastern Native Americans (from tribes such as Pequot and Narragansett) who were enslaved by British colonizers in the early 1600's and shipped to St. David's Island in Bermuda.

Drums Along the Hudson is a free, family-friendly event presented by Lotus Music & Dance, The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, The Hudson River Foundation, and The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, WABC-TV, and JP Morgan Chase.

For more information on the program or directions on how to get there visit
http://www.drumsalongthehudson.org/ or call 212-627-1076 x 18.

UCTPTN 05.01.2008