Are you a good witch or a bad witch?~ Segregation in Native American Spirituality

With the recent deaths occurring in an Arizona sweat lodge, three so far, many Indigenous Americans are rabidly repeating the mantras “That’s what you get when you mess with things you have no right to mess with”, “Non-natives have no right to participate, let alone conduct sacred native ceremonies” and “The spirits are clearly expressing their disapproval, when will non-natives learn?”

These are sad, angry and fear filled sentiments with which I do not agree.  They weigh in my heart as I hear my relations repeat them at family events, powwows and even sacred gatherings.  I have shared my feelings before pertaining to the separatist attitudes my relations have regarding our spirituality.  Yet, further understanding compels me to revisit the issue and clarify, albeit to myself, this particular concern.  Although I still do not agree with the segregationist views, I do believe my relations have some very good points and real reasons for concern.  However, I suggest pause and deliberation lest our fears overcome and misguide us.  By clarifying to ourselves exactly what it is that is really important, we can better express our concerns to others without sounding like rabid, bigoted hypocrites.

This is important because no one listens to rabid, bigoted hypocrites except other rabid, bigoted hypocrites and you end up preaching to the choir.

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Nostalgia Taína

I was thinking about Taíno identity and politics and my mind started to wander to my childhood…

I grew up traveling the boricua pow wow trail and I remember…

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Some thoughts on the word “Tau”

There has been an uproar in the Taino community recently with regards to the word “tau” being used as a greeting.  Apparently this word has not been found in any of the resources we have for Taino language, nor has it been found in any of our cousin languages… those that have been looked through, anyway.  Added to this, is the growing trend in alarmist conspiracy theories that are weaseling their way into the heart of our people.  I find this trend somewhat sad since herd mentality will encourage people who are scared to follow most anyone who’s calm under pressure and speaks authoritatively.  Spook a herd of buffalo and they will stampede following the herd who in turn, is led by a buffalo that’s just as lost, but looks like he’s got a plan- even if it’s one that takes them all over a cliff.  As if that weren’t enough, it seems that the personal choice to use the word “Tau” as a greeting has been made into yet another reason for hostility and disunity- a political controversy.  Now it’s use has been made into a political statement that identifies a person as being with one faction of the Taino Movement or another.  As if these flimsy organizational labels were of great importance! Continue reading

Restitution or retribution for the first “Indians”?

Who needs federal recognition?  Why should we beg like dogs for the privledge of being able to be called “Native American” when this title is rightfully ours by virtue of birth?

Why not take the conquerors to the world courts for crimes against humanity?  Why not take Spain, Portugal,  France and England to court for the damage done to our people?  We have all necessary documentation written by their very scribes, in our very own history books and museums… The only problem I forsee with this is probably proving it… This is the crap Guatemala was going (is still going?) through and their stuff is a lot more recent.

Hmmm… it is a thought, though.

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A home of our own~ Considering a Taino Village

I personally dislike the label “reservation” or “reserve” because it makes me think of a zoo, a  habitat for wildlife observation at a safe distance.  This was the idea behind indigenous reservations originally.  That is why so many different nations were stuffed into the same lands, but that’s a history lesson for another time…

Although, I cringe at the label, I do like the idea of a place to call home.  A place where the Taino community can share, teach and work together;  some workshops with communal tools and materials, and a CD player on the side to keep the energy flowing.  A music room with all sorts of instruments, both modern and traditional.  A place for our powwows  and 49ner style gatherings, spaces to lay your bartering blankets, spaces for altars and sacred ceremonies, a space for sweats and vision quests;  families sharing, all our kids growing up together learning through stories and plays, dances and interactions.  We can have a couple of hamacas out there, maybe near a river and if not, the beach and if not, then we build a pool that snakes around like a river, with waterfalls and  whirlpools and everything!  Heck, I’d be happy with a plastic kiddie pool and a hose, I just want my hamaca!

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A comer pasteles!!!

This post was originally published on La Diva Latina .com.  Reposted here with the Author’s permission…

With the Holidays upon us, families across the Caribbean and beyond will soon be serving up all manner of traditional meals. On the island of Boriken ( Puerto Rico ) for example, no traditional holiday feast would be compete without a particular savory TAINO delight known as PASTELES.

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The “Discovery” of America?

This month people in various countries will be celebrating what is commonly called “Columbus Day” or “Dia de la Raza”; a day marked to celebrate the arrival of Columbus and his cronies crew onto the shores of “virgin” lands.

Many view this as an incredible event, worthy of celebration and joy.  At a time when the planet was believed to be flat and only dangers and monsters awaited at the edge of the world, that a man had the audacity to take off into the vast unknown is nothing short of extraordinary!  The Italians get to glorify one of their own, others celebrate their ancestors escape from religious persecution, escape from famine, a place to begin life anew;  some consider it was a god-given duty to bring Christianity and “civilization” to this “New World” and yet others, well, they just like the day off from work.  But rarely does anyone stop to consider the flip side of the coin and are even surprised to hear that there are people out there who actually oppose celebration of this day as a holiday.

Well, to form an objective opinion one must have as much factual information as possible.  I ask you to look at the other side of the coin, at least through this native’s eyes…

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