Taíno Elder Mildred Karaira Gandia Crosses Over Into Koaibei (Spirit World)

Miami, Florida (UCTP Taíno News) – Taíno elder, Mildred “Karaira” Gandia Reyes de Ziegelasch crossed over into Koaibei (the spirit world) on Sunday, February 6, 2022, due to complications arising from COVID 19. A long-time representative of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP), and a member of the Guainía Taíno Tribe of Borikén, Bibi (Grandmother) Karaira was beloved across Taíno communities through the islands and the Diaspora. Karaira was an alumnus of Tribal Link Foundation’s Project Access Global Capacity Building Workshop for Indigenous Peoples, a human rights activist, an avid gardener, a spiritual advisor, and a devoted mother and grandmother. 

“We are greatly saddened to learn about Bibi Karaira’s passing and the Confederation will pause in its work to honor and her commitment not only to the UCTP but to all Taíno Peoples” stated Kasike R. Múkaro Agüeibaná Borrero, President of the UCTP and a leader of the Guainía Taíno Tribe. Borrero continued by stating “Bibi Karaira had strong opinions, a big generous heart, and a great pride regarding our ancestors and our culture. She will be missed in this physical world and our sincere condolences extend to her immediate and extended family around the world.” 

During her time as a liaison for the Confederation, she participated in many community and international gatherings. Karaira helped to organize the Taíno delegation to the 32nd Anniversary International Indian Treaty Council Conference hosted by the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation of Florida in 2006, was a UCTP delegate to the IITC's Guatemala Treaty Conference in 2008, and was the main delegate and a signatory on a treaty between the Confederation and the St. David's Indian Community of Bermuda in 2009. In 2016, Bibi Karaira represented the UCTP at the panel on Climate Change organized by the City of Hialeah.  

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, 2009. (UCTP Photo)

Bibi Karaira made her home in Miami, Florida with her family and was on extended medical leave from her liaison responsibilities from the UCTP. She continued to mentor and offer spiritual counseling to many. 

Behike Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle stated “The hupia (Spirits) have welcomed a new soul into their community of Koaibei, and even as we mourn the loss of this beautiful grandmother, we know that she will continue to guide and advise us from the spirit realm.”

Bibi Karaira blessing Behike Miguel Sague in 2017. 

Bibi Karaira is survived by her two sons, Jose Richard Cruz Gandia Jr. and Justin “Seiba” Ziegelasch Gandia and her husband Roland Ziegelasch.

UCTPTN 02/07/2022 

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