Women's March Brings Thousands Together Across the U.S. and Beyond

UCTP Representative Chali'naru Dones (at center) opens the 4th Annual Pioneer Valley Women's March on Saturday, January 18, 2020, with a spiritual invocation. 
Photo: Kevin Gutting 
Springfield, Massachusetts (UCTP Taíno News) – From coast to coast, thousands of women and their allies took to the streets across the U.S. on Saturday, January 18, 2020 to raise the visibility of a variety of issues such as climate change, immigration, reproductive rights, pay equity, gun safety, and voting. 

Marches took place in Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, Denver, Colorado, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  New London, Connecticut, Dayton, Ohio, and Springfield, Massachusetts, among many others. The march in Washington D.C. was expected to be the largest, with a permit filed for 10,000 people. Colorful and passionate messages of resistance, empowerment, and solidarity were consistent across events.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, s
everal hundred demonstrators made their way down Main Street to City Hall holding signs and chanting at the fourth annual Pioneer Valley Women’s March. The Springfield mobilization was opened with a spiritual invocation by Chali’naru Dones, a representative of the United Confederation of Taíno People and a member of the Guainía Taíno Tribe. 

Before beginning her invocation, Dones called on those gathered to acknowledge local Indigenous Peoples and to keep the “women and all the people of Borikén (Puerto Rico) in [their] hearts” as they were still suffering from the effects of recent earthquakes. She also called for more attention on the issue of “missing and murdered Indigenous Women from throughout the hemisphere.” 

Also at the Springfield rally, Rhonda Anderson, a member of Inupiaq Athabaskan Tribes of Alaska called on the crowd to “Resist racism, resist marginalization, resist colonization, resist harmful legislation that seeks to turn back the clock against women, against minorities and against our Mother Earth.

The over 200 Women’s Marches that took place on Saturday were not limited to the U.S. as others took place in Paris, Berlin, London, Prague, Sydney and beyond. 

UCTPTN 01/19/2020


The UCTP Condemns Actions of US Army Core of Engineers (USACE) and Southeastern Archaelogical Research Inc. (SEARCH, Inc.)

The United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) condemns the actions of the US Army Core of Engineers (USACE) and Southeastern Archaelogical Research Inc. (SEARCH, Inc.) based in Orlando, Florida, which resulted in the irreparable damage to an ancient indigenous burial site, including human remains and associated funerary objects at Rio la Plata, Dorado, Puerto Rico. 

The UCTP also condemns the decision of the State Historic Preservation Office in Puerto Rico, which granted the permit to and certified the work of the USACE and SEARCH, Inc. as satisfactory even though heavy equipment was used for excavation and human remains and associated cultural materials were removed from the site without consultation with interested local indigenous peoples' organizations. The lack of consultation is a violation of the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The desecration of the burial site and lack of consultation by the USACE in Dorado is not an isolated incident, as the UCTP has requested consultative status in the past, for example, during excavations at the PO29 Site located at Jacanas, Ponce, Puerto Rico in 2007. The USACE and PR SHPO continue to ignore the established protocol and procedures concerning "consulting parties" in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act, 36 C.F.R. §800.2: - Participants in the Section 106 process.

While the United Confederation of Taíno People is not a "tribe" federally recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, it is an Indigenous Peoples Representative Institution that represents descendants of Indigenous Peoples most closely associated with the site in Dorado. Additionally, the UCTP is aware of the availability of the ACHP's guidance regarding consultation with non-federally recognized tribes. 

Therefore, the UCTP calls on the USACE and PR SHPO to cease and desist in their ongoing violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and comply with the National Historic Preservation Act in Rio la Plata, Dorado, and all of Borikén (aka Puerto Rico). 

In witness thereof,
Roberto Múkaro Borrero, 
United Confederation of Taíno People