|Taíno elder Hector Barakutei Gonzalez displays a traditional Taíno drum|
In a condolence message sent to the Gonzalez family, UCTP President, Roberto Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero stated “Arokoel Barakutei, was a Taíno guaribo (warrior) who now has a special place among the ancestors.”
Elder or arokoel Barakutei was a veteran of the 19th and 20th Special Forces Group, which are the two National Guard groups of the United States Army Special Forces. Gonzalez was also a retired security officer of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. As Liaison Officer for the Confederation, he consistently sought out ways to raise the visibility of the indigenous Taíno Peoples and regularly gave talks on Taíno culture. A passionate flute player, he often voluntarily performed for children at local area hospitals.
“The passing of this dear brother leaves a profound feeling of sadness in our hearts, as he was a beloved community member, a warrior, yet a gentle loving man who loved this Taíno Family and all Native American Peoples” stated Angel Lionheart Ortiz, a UCTP Liaison Officer in Connecticut.
Barakutei Gonzalez is survived by his 4 children Michelle Cruz, Myree Allen, Melody DaSilva, and Marc Gonzales, as well as 13 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. His is also survived by his mother, Francisca Gonzalez Benitez and his brother, Julio Gonzalez Benitez.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 9th from 11am-1pm at the Byles-Groton Memorial Home, 310 Thames Street, Groton, CT.