Taino Women Collecting Clothing for Homeless Families

Bronx, NY (UCTP Taino News) - Members of the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women's Circle are coordinating clothing drive for a Bronx shelter operated by "Women in Need, Inc.", an organization that provides housing, help and hope to New York City women and their families who are homeless and disadvantaged.

Bohio spokesperson Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrano stated that there is a need for "plus size clothes as well as coats, hats, gloves, pants for women and children."

"We are also asking that consideration be given to the donation of environmentally safe toys as we have 50 children from infant to 12 years of age who will most likely not receive a gift over the holidays" she continued.

The group plans to deliver the donations directly to the Bronx Shelter on January 6th 2010 on "Three Kings Day". The donations can be dropped off or mailed to Bohio Atabei, c/o KHNIA, 2805 University Avenue, Suite B, Bronx, New York, 10468.

The Bohio Atabei will accept clothing and toy donations only. Clothing should be new or "like new" condition. Monetary donations can be made directly to "Women in Need, Inc." at http://www.women-in-need.org/.

UCTPTN 12.27.2006


Taino Artisans Look Toward the Holidays in Ponce

La Guancha, Boriken (UCTP Taino News) – Holiday shoppers interested in contemporary indigenous art in Boriken (Puerto Rico) can visit several Taino craft venders at the festival market at “La Guancha” in Ponce.

Community members Luis Kacian Calderon Vega of Alfareria Kanari and Edgar Yerut of Wakia Arawaka Taino are certified artisans who present their works at the famous marina and boardwalk every weekend. The artisans serve as cultural ambassadors for a curious public.

"Our culturally based Taino Boriqua artforms make unique and affordable gifts perfect for the current economic climate" stated Luis Kacian who heads his own shop, Alfareria Kanari, specializing in hand-thrown ceramics. Artisans on the island have been adversely affected by the island’s ongoing economic crises.

"We hope that more people contact us so that we may share our art and culture with the entire world" notes Edgar Yerut who along with Lizzy Sarobey co-design the handcrafts presented by Wakia Arawkia Taina year round at this coastal boardwalk bazaar.

While the artists at La Guancha are looking toward local support this holiday season, interested Taino art enthusiasts world-wide can contact them at akanari2008@hotmail.com.


Bermuda Native Community and Taino Declare Unity

The Honorable Governor of Bermuda, Sir Richard Gozney, UCTP Liaison Mildred Karaira Gandia, and Stephen Tucker, Chairman of the St. David’s Islanders and Native Community in Bermuda. (UCTP Photo)

Saint Davids, Bermuda (UCTP Taino News) - An historic "Declaration of Unity" was ratified this month between the St. Davids Islanders and Native Community of Bermuda and the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP). The treaty was the result of a diplomatic process that began in June during a local indigenous celebration of Bermuda's 400th Anniversary.

Mildred Karaira Gandia (Boriken Taino) was the Confederation's representative who undertook the diplomatic mission to Bermuda. Karaira facilitated the treaty process in coordination with Tucker "Brinky" St. Clair of the Saint David's Islander and Native Community.

"The Taino could not have had a better representative to our community" stated Tucker, a community Council member.

The Declaration of Unity promotes solidarity between the Saint David's Islanders and Native Community and the Taino at the local, national, and international levels.

“This Declaration is significant politically and spiritually” stated Karaira.

“With our unification we strengthen our voices in the region as we continue to promote the teachings of our ancestors by reuniting our indigenous family.” She continued stating “This is for our future generations.”

The Saint David’s Islanders and Native Community represents the descendants of Indigenous Peoples who were taken to Bermuda as part of the slave trade from the United States and Caribbean during the 1700s. The UCTP represents Taino People throughout the region and the Diaspora.

UCTPTN 12.15.2008


Dr. Desrey Fox of the Akawaio Tribal Nation passes on

Georgetown, Guyana (UCTP Taino News) - Dr. Desrey Fox, 54, passed away this morning at the Georgetown Public Hospital in Guyana. Dr. Fox, a member of the Akawaio Tribal Nation was a Minister in the Guyana Government’s Ministry of Education. Local reports indicate that she sustained back and head injuries in a tragic auto accident on Tuesday evening. Her grandson was also injured in the accident and remains in the hospital’s pediatric ward.

Dr. Fox was born in Waramadong Village, Upper Mazaruni District in Guyana. She was awarded a Ph.D and MA in Linguistics from Rice University, an MA in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and a B.Sc in Sociology from the University of Guyana.

"I was deeply saddened by this tragic news” states Damon Corrie a Lokono Arawak activist. “I had known Dr. Desrey Fox since the 1996 United Nations sponsored SIDS (Small island Developing States) conference in Barbados.”

Corrie continued stating “Truly, Guyana has lost its most famous Amerindian daughter. May her soul rest in peace knowing that her allotted time on this Earth was well spent.”

Dr. Desrey Fox is survived by three sons and other relatives.

UCTPTN 12.11.2009

Online Petition: I Respect Human Rights- Human Rights Day 2009

Takahi Guaitiao (Greetings Relatives): December 10, 2009, marked the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global enunciation of human rights. These are basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled. Examples of these rights include but are not limited to the right to life, the right to economic, social and cultural rights, the right to water, the right to food, and the right to education.

Today, the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) launched a petition called “I Respect Human Rights! Human Rights Day 2009”. The petition reads:

"On the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2009, I affirm my commitment to the universal human rights, including the human rights of Indigenous Peoples as embodied in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

Please sign the petition online at:


Please share with others in your network. Haho (Thank you)


Guyanese Indigenous Organization Changes Leadership

Georgetown, Guyana (UCTP Taino News) – The Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) has changed its leadership recently and is now being run by an Interim Executive Committee. The new Committee office-bearers include Dr. George Norton (Chief), Mary Valenzuela (Deputy Chief), Colin Klautky (Public Relations Officer), Esther Robinson (Secretary), Gracene Rosheuvel (Asst. Secretary), and Sheffield Forero (Treasurer). The Committee will remain in place until the GOIP Annual General Assembly schedule to be held in July 2010. GOIP works to facilitate the development of Indigenous Peoples in Guyana through institutes and by promoting the recognition of the internationally recognized rights and interests through partnership with other NGO’s, stakeholders and agencies.

UCTPTN 12.10.2009


Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Human Rights Day 10 December 2009

The concept of non-discrimination lies at the heart of human rights.

For this reason, it has been designated the official theme of this Human Rights Day, which occurs every year on the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. And for this and many other reasons it should be an unofficial theme every day, every year, for everyone.

Twenty-six of the Universal Declaration’s 30 Articles begin with the words "Everyone…” or “No one…” Everyone should enjoy all human rights. No one should be excluded. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Non-discrimination must prevail.

Today, we have a whole range of rights-based international treaties imbued throughout with the concept of non-discrimination. These include, for example, Conventions on the rights of the child, rights of people with disabilities, rights of refugees and of migrant workers; Conventions dedicated to the elimination of racial discrimination and discrimination against women; as well as treaties dealing with labour, health and religion. These legally binding standards are complemented by important UN declarations detailing minority rights and the rights of indigenous

These international laws and standards are supported by thousands of national and regional laws and institutions. Quite a few countries now have truly universal education, and a smaller number have universal public health systems. Taken together all of this marks an extraordinary celebration of humankind’s ability and aspiration to create a world of equal opportunity and equal treatment under the law. And many millions of people have benefited as a result.

People of all sorts have something to offer. When we embrace diversity, we bring extra richness and depth to our societies.

Yet discrimination is still rampant.

Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours and produce half of the world’s food, yet earn only 10 percent of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property. Despite significant improvements over the past century, women and girls are still discriminated against to some degree in all societies and to a great degree in many. Every day countless numbers of women are sexually or physically abused, and the vast majority of their abusers go unpunished and future abuse is undeterred.

Minorities in all regions of the world continue to face serious threats, discrimination and racism, and are frequently excluded from fully taking part in the economic, political, social and cultural life available to the majorities in the countries or societies where they live.

Similar problems face the estimated 370 million indigenous people who make up five percent of the world’s population, but 15 percent of its poorest people. They are often marginalized, deprived of many fundamental rights – including land and property – and lack access to basic services.

Racial and ethnic discrimination are also to be found all across the planet, and remain one of the most dangerous forms of discrimination. Left unchecked, or actively fanned, they can all too easily lead to hatred, violence, and – in the worst cases – push on up the scale to full-blown conflict, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Discrimination based on religion or belief can be equally destructive. In certain countries, members of certain groups are restricted in how they can exercise their religion or belief and deprived of their fundamental rights. In extreme cases such conditions may lead to sectarian violence, killing and conflict. Stereotyping can lead to stigmatization and isolationism.

Refugees and migrants are widely discriminated against, including in rich countries where men, women and children who have committed no crime are often held in detention for prolonged periods. They are frequently discriminated against by landlords, employers and state-run authorities, and stereotyped and vilified by some political parties, media organizations and members of the public.

Many other groups face discrimination to a greater or lesser degree. Some of them are easily definable such as persons with disabilities, stateless people, gays and lesbians, members of particular castes and the elderly. Others may span several different groups and find themselves discriminated against on several different levels as a result.

Those who are not discriminated against often find it hard to comprehend the suffering and humiliation that discrimination imposes on their fellow individual human beings. Nor do they always understand the deeply corrosive effect it has on society at large.

Discrimination feeds mistrust, resentment, violence, crime and insecurity and makes no economic sense, since it reduces productivity. It has no beneficial aspects for society whatsoever. Yet we continue to practice it – virtually all of us – often as a casual reflex, without even realizing what we are doing.

I would therefore like to encourage people everywhere – politicians, officials, businesses leaders, civil society, national human rights institutions, the media, religious leaders, teachers, students, and each and every individual – to honour Human Rights Day 2009 by embracing diversity and resolving to take concrete and lasting actions to help put an end to discrimination.

Source: www.uctp.org


Federal Agency to Change its Early Conclusions on Environmental Assessment in Vieques

ATLANTA-The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has signaled its intent to modify some of its earlier conclusions about health risks to residents of the Island of Vieques. The decision was shared during a meeting with scientists from Puerto Rico and followed a thorough review of ATSDR public health assessments finalized in 2003 and other environmental studies of the island conducted in the intervening years. ATSDR’s re-examination of the data comes as part of a "fresh look" the federal public health agency pledged to island residents and Congress.

"A thorough and objective review of the available data is an important step in our commitment to the people of Vieques", said Dr. Howard Frumkin, agency director. "Much has been learned since we first went to Vieques a decade ago, and we have identified gaps in environmental data that could be important in determining health effects." We are committed to using the best technology and scientific expertise to help find answers for the people of Vieques.

"The gaps we found indicate that we cannot state unequivocally that no health hazards exist in Vieques. We have found reason to pose further questions," Frumkin said. As a result of the scientific consultation and its document review, ATSDR expects to:

change some of its earlier conclusions regarding the safety of environmental exposures on Vieques;
• recommend biomonitoring to determine whether persons living on Vieques have been exposed to harmful chemicals, and, if so, at what levels those chemicals may be in their bodies;
• work with Puerto Rican health officials to conduct more in-depth evaluation of health outcomes;
• work with community members and Puerto Rican health officials to issue science-based, precautionary recommendations to protect public health;
• work with partners in the Puerto Rican health care community to encourage improved access to health care for residents of Vieques; and
• coordinate an inclusive, accountable process featuring participation of Puerto Rican community members and professionals in moving forward.

ATSDR scientists will prepare a summary report of the previous environmental health work done for Vieques, including recommendations developed from the scientific consultation. As part of the scientific process, this report will be peer reviewed by independent experts. Once peer review is completed, ATSDR will provide detailed recommendations about future activities.

"ATSDR greatly appreciates the scientists taking time to travel to Atlanta and share their findings and perspectives. We salute the independent scientists and community leaders for their dedication to the health of the people of Vieques, and we look forward to working with them as we move forward with our fresh look at Vieques," Frumkin said.

Source: ATSDR Press Release


Negotiations Continue on American Indigenous Rights Declaration

WASHINGTON D.C. (UCTP Taino News) — Indigenous leaders from throughout the Americas gathered in in Washington DC this week to participate in the negotiations on an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The proposed legal framework focuses on the protection of the economic, cultural, and political rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The meetings took place from Nov. 30 - December 2, 2009 at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS is a regional inter-governmental organization that seeks to build peace, solidarity and collaboration in the Americas.

“This work needs to be completed,” said Armstrong Wiggins, director of the Indian Law Resource Center’s Washington office. “The declaration is not yet adopted, and I fear it could become an orphan if states do not act more seriously on it.”

Damon Corrie, an Arawak activist from Barbados agrees. Corrie and other Caribbean indigenous delegates from Dominica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent, and Suriname continue to be concerned about the lack of participation from CARICOM governments within these important negotiations.

“The only CARICOM member State showing any interest in this process is the Republic of Guyana” noted Corrie. “This process will have a tremendous impact on whether future relations between Indigenous Peoples and political states will be equitable and harmonious or unjust and adversarial.”

According to a recent press release from the Indian Law Resource Center (ILRC), this dialogue comes as global initiatives are threatening indigenous rights. The World Bank and United Nations for example have funded several projects that are designed to provide climate change solutions but instead could harm indigenous communities if developed on their lands and territories. These projects could lead to violations of indigenous peoples’ land and natural resources rights.

The ILRC and other participating organizations assert that the declaration would address these threats and establish a legal framework to protect indigenous rights from potential violations.

UCTPTN 12.02.2009