Exhibit Exploring Ties Between Native and African Americans to Close

Suffern, NY (UCTP Taino News) – The exhibit, "IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas" is on view at Rockland Community College through March 9 as part of school’s Black History Month celebration. The exhibition explores the complex relationships between Native Americans and African-Americans.

According to the exhibit: "African and Native peoples came together in the Americas . Over centuries, African-Americans and Native Americans created shared histories, communities, families and ways of life. Prejudice, laws and twists of history have often divided them from others, yet African-Native American people were united in the struggle against slavery and dispossession, and then for self-determination and freedom."

This Saturday, February 26, a day long program delving deeper into the issues will take place at Rockland Community College Tech Center, 2nd Floor, 145 College Rd., in Suffern, NY. This special closing program will feature musical and dance presentations, story-telling, personal reflections, and theatrical readings. Saturday’s program will also feature two distinguished lectures including “What Does a Real Indian Look Like?” by Prof. Heriberto Dixon and “Native American-Caribbean Connections” by Roberto Múkaro Agueibana Borrero (Taíno).

A closing blessing will be shared by Sachem (Chief) Dwaine Perry of the Ramapo Mountain Indians of New Jersey. For further information about the exhibition or the program call (845) 574-4396.

UCTPTN 02.22.2011


Williams is the first Kalinago Lawyer in Dominica

Waitikubuli/Dominica (UCTP Taino News) – Pearl Diane Williams, is the first indigenous Kalinago Carib person from Waitikubuli (Dominica) and possibly the Eastern Caribbean to be admitted to the Bar in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Ms. Williams pursued her bachelors degree in Law at the Cave-Hill Campus at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, where she successfully completed her degree with second class honours.

Miss Williams was one of the first indigenous persons from the Eastern Caribbean to have benefited from the Sir Arthur Lewis Indigenous Scholarship program launched in 2005. After she completed her studies in Barbados, she proceeded to the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago where she successfully obtained the Legal Education Certificate, which qualified her to be admitted to the Bar in Dominica.

Miss Williams is the daughter of Margaret and Charles Williams (former Kalinago Carib Chief of Waitikubuli/Dominica). The young lawyer believes that the Indigenous Peoples in the region have not been inadequately recognized and represented but that her calling to the Bar signifies a “new beginning” for her people.

UCTPTN 02.16.2011


Opinion Editorial: Native Blood in Borikén (Puerto Rico)

UCTP Taino News - Many of us are by now aware that in the year 2000 a DNA study was done that proved scientifically the continued presence of Native American descendants in Borikén (Puerto Rico). The results of the study showed that approximately 62% of the island's population is of indigenous descent on via their maternal line. This news created an uproar - mostly from those who denied that our indigenous ancestors had survived the Caribbean 'holocaust'. On the positive side however similar studies were then conducted in both Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Surprisingly to some the results of those tests showed that 20% to 30% of the current populations of those islands were also of Native American/American Indian/Indigenous descent.

The persons who argued against Taino survival were very quick to counter that `thousands' of Natives from various parts of the mainland were transported to the Greater Antilles to be sold as slaves. The skeptics claimed that this was what was showing up as Indigenous DNA. Based on this theory they argued that DNA testing could not be taken into consideration as `proof' of Taino survival. Well, these 'naysayers' were wrong again; at least in Borikén.

In 2010, deeper investigation into the DNA of the current population in Borikén have shown that out of all the samples taken on the island only 16% were from an outside source. Without any doubt the results of the studies show that 84% of the DNA material comes from the original population or a 'single tribe' of the island.

One of my personal spiritual teachers always said "that we can all trace our roots to the Great Tree of Peace." Again, the DNA studies have shown that the islands of the Caribbean were a crossroads where many different Native nations encountered each other and blended. This blending between peoples from the North American Continent and the Central and South American Continent was already taking place before the European invaders landed on our shores.

It is true that Indigenous Peoples were taken by the thousands from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela as well as the USA and sold all over the Caribbean and beyond. In my view this unfortunate situation only contributed to an already ancient mix. Add to this blend, some European, African, and even Asia components and there we are. Welcome to the Caribbean. When I reflect on these things what I find most incredible is that despite the incoming waves of outside genetic material, our ancestral Taino linage remains strong and in much larger percentages then ever suspected.

Of all the Taino homeland islands today, Borikén seems to retain the highest Taino survival rate according to the data so far. This should not be considered a mystery simply because the island was not a main point of the Spanish colonial enterprise when compared to Cuba or Kiskeia (Dominican Republic). It is well known that the Spanish conquest of the Borikén did not begin until 15 years after that of Kiskeia. Compared to other regions, there was never much gold and due to its size and mountainous terrain, Borikén was not considered the best candidate for a full plantation economy. As a result, fewer colonists arrived on our shores during the first few hundred years after the Spanish invasion. In fact, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that large numbers of colonists of European decent began to move into the interior of the island. This was a result of virtual neglect from Spain. What is important to remember about this situation is that it also allowed Taino survivors the opportunity to live in relative peace - as long as they could be considered Christians and spoke Spanish.

This is the reason why we find so many Boricua Taino people on and off the island with much larger percentages of Taino linage when a review of their autosomal DNA is conducted. Here numbers range from anywhere between 17% to 45%.

While these results may have their place in our struggle, I am of the opinion that the tests should not be used to divide our communities. I know many who would not want to see a situation created where `blood quantum' becomes a divisive issue for us. We can see how much damage and pain that system has created for others. Our ancestral lineage comes through our descent, and it is my view that this fact should be enough. In the meantime, we must continue to spread the news of our survival and work together to reclaim our rights as the true descendants of a proud and noble people.

Author: Domingo "Turey" Hernandez
Source: UCTP Taino News 02.11.2011

Domingo "Turey" Hernandez is a Borikén Taino whose family comes from Arecibo. He is registered with the United Confederation of Taino Peoples' Taino Population Census and Inter-Tribal Registry and is a member of Iukaieke Guaina and the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle.


Taíno Artist Donates Images to Confederation

UCTP Taíno News – Taíno artist Joe “Doc Sunshine” Leon has donated the use of a series of art works to the United Confederation of Taino People to assist fund raising efforts. The series is focused on the theme ‘Proud to be Taino”. Leon feels strongly that his life has been enriched by his indigenous cultural experiences and that “he must return this gift”.

The artist did his studies at New York University, the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League. Leon has since pursued a career as an award winning commercial artist for over 30 years.

The Confederation is now promoting the series via its online store at www.cafepress.com/tainoshop. The works will also be available at local festivals and events.

UCTPTN 02.04.2011



"My wife and I kept our last daughter Laliwa Hadali (Yellow Butterfly of the Sun) home from school on Friday January 28th 2011 today because it was her 4th birthday, and 4 & 9 are sacred numbers to us."

Fellow Barbadians,

I am tired of my own Arawak children and other Amerindian children in Barbadian schools (some 40 children in all) being told by mis-educated or ill-informed teachers that the tribe to which they belong ‘no longer exists’ so therefore they cannot possibly be who they say they are. For the information of these ’educators’ there are almost 20,000 Arawaks STILL in Guyana, 2,000 in Suriname, about 1,000 in French Guiana, and around 200 in Venezuela to this day! Also for the record – we do NOT call ourselves ‘Arawaks‘, it is not even a word in our language, we call ourselves ‘Lokono’ which means in English ‘The People’ (Columbus nearly got it right when he wrote that the name of our tribe was ‘Lucayo’); but for the sake of familiarity I shall use the word ‘Arawak’ throughout this letter.

Also good to note is the fact that the word ‘Amerindian’ is merely an abbreviation of two words ‘American‘ and ‘Indian‘, so technically it can be correctly used to describe any Indigenous tribe of the Western Hemisphere except the Inuit (mistakenly called ‘Eskimos‘); many erroneously believe that 'Amerindians' are from Guyana and 'American Indians' are from the USA; but we are all one indigenous race in this so-called ‘New World‘ – just different tribes.

I decided to write this article to hopefully open the minds of my fellow citizens to a little-known (seemingly ‘unknown‘ as far as I can tell) fact about our multi-ethnic Society. My maternal grandmother emigrated to Barbados from Guyana in 1925 with her 5 other siblings and mother – who was the sole surviving child of the last Hereditary Lokono-Arawak Chief in Guyana. My Great grandmother Princess Marian was the first member of the ruling family of her tribe to be Christianised and receive a Western Education, this was done by the Anglican missionary Reverend Percy Austin who was trained at Codrington College in Barbados before being sent into the interior of Guyana among the indigenous tribes; Rev Austin later became the Bishop of Guyana.

Though accepting of Christianity, Great-grandmother – as do I, my wife, and our children, never rejected her Arawak religious beliefs and maintained them BOTH throughout her life, for they are compatible if you know the core values they both espouse.

In the Arawak tribe there is no word for ‘Prince‘ or ‘Princess‘, the children of the traditional leader of the tribe (which was always a hereditary position) were merely called the ‘Sons or daughters of the Chief‘. It was the English speaking British colonial society who gave my Great grandmother the title of ’Princess Marian of the Arawaks‘ when she was introduced to the then visiting Prince of Wales who visited Guyana in the early 1920′s; so out of respect that title remained with her for the rest of her life.

Great grandmother died in Barbados in 1928 and is buried here in Westbury Cemetary – the only known burial site of an Arawak noble in the entire English-speaking Caribbean. Her daughter Hannah, who is my beloved grandmother – is 97 years old and still alive, residing on ‘Arawak Road in Chancery Lane (no pun intended); however all of her 5 other siblings are now deceased. My grandmother married Barbadian George Cecil Corbin, her sister Ruth married Barbadian Philip Serrao, and sister Martha married Barbadian Keith Chandler – and from these 3 sisters who spent the rest of their lives here there are just over 100 persons of Arawak descent in my family born in this country, and about 20 of them are still students within the educational system of Barbados; not mentioning at least 20 more Amerindian children I know personally at school in Barbados today.

I returned to my Great grandmother’s tribe in Guyana on the 500th anniversary of Columbus setting foot in the New World (OUR day of infamy & Holocaust) and at the age of 19 married my then 17 year old Arawak wife, Shirling, we had 5 children together, 4 born on tribal land on Pakuri Arawak Territory in Guyana (who are Barbadian citizens by descent through me), and one born in Barbados at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (a Guyanese citizen by descent through her mother), with one - my first daughter, buried on tribal land on Pakuri Arawak Territory in Guyana where she died as a baby of 3 days.

My wife and I kept our last daughter Laliwa Hadali (Yellow Butterfly of the Sun) home from school on Friday January 28th 2011 today because it was her 4th birthday, and 4 & 9 are sacred numbers to us. All Arawak children will traditionally receive Yuri (Tobacco) smoke blessings at the age of 4 & 9 and have a song written for them on each of those birthdays, if a girl, her next song will be the longest and one she must memorise for the rest of her life during her 9 day long puberty rite of passage, my eldest daughter may have hers any day now, it is determined by the appearance of the first menses and not by age; she is 12, some see it at 11, some 13.

The puberty rite will be the first and most important rite of passage for my daughters, second is her marriage ceremony, 3rd her first childbirth, and 4th her first grandchild being born; but the puberty rite is the FOUNDATION for all that follow and will determine the positivity/negativity of those that follow it.

If my daughter’s time comes during the school term – we as her parents will have no choice but to keep her at home for those 9 days so that her rite can be completed according to our ancient traditions and religious practises; and according to the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples which the Government of Barbados (as well as every other Government on Earth) has officially endorsed, we have the right to do this.

Article 11 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reads:

1. Indigenous Peoples have the right to practise and revitalise their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.

Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reads:

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.

This brings me to the point of Barbadian Society, I applaud the accommodations that the Ministry of Education has made for Muslim children, for Hindu children, for Rastafarian children, and all I now ask is for the same respect to be shown for Amerindian children who follow their traditional religious beliefs – such as my own children.

Yours sincerely,

Damon Gerard Corrie

PS - here is the song I wrote for my daughter on her birthday – and sang to her that night as we asked for the Creator to bless her.

LALIWA YENI (Yellow Butterfly’s song)
(Creator in the spirit world,)
(see this Arawak girl,)
(show Yellow Butterfly the path,)
(The ancestors have walked.)

Artice source: The Bajan Reporter