Wisegeek.com states “A dead language is a language which is no longer learned as a native language.” Wikipedia says that a dead language has no competent speakers and that an extinct language is one that has no speakers at all, be that by language replacement or language evolution. Examples of these are Modern English having evolved from the Old English spoken in Medieval times and the death of the Taino language of the Caribbean when replaced by Spanish and French.
The discussion I was participating in on the UCTP forum regarding the Taino language, inspired me to further research other indigenous peoples who may be like us; folks struggling with their own individual decolonization while trying to help heal that of their people, reviving the culture and those things that are important to it, making it all work together- past, present and future-in balance. A people that may be similar to my own, in the ways I feel are important. My priorities lie in relationships; how we relate to ourselves, how we relate with each other, with the community and with the world at large. This to me, is the basis of society, and everything else depends on it.
These questions have been running around my head for a couple of weeks now… I had to put them out there. Just thoughts to ponder…
Is the good that a person does reason enough to accept abuse and disrespect from them?
Does the fact that a person chooses to sacrifice and give so much of his/her time and effort to a people, compensate for that person becoming dictatorial or tyrannical?
Do great strides allow a government the freedom to trample upon rights they claim to defend?
Should we over look the violations committed by leadership because of the “good” that leadership does for the people as a whole?
Continue reading “When is abusive behavior acceptable?”
The thought of “Tau” being a religious corruption was a very interesting element added to the “Tau” discussion…
Some folks believe that “tau” is of christian origin because of the tau cross used by the Franciscan monks, as a mark of those who accept Christ as their savior, and maybe even the mark painted in lamb’s blood on the doorpost of the Israelite’s homes; protecting the first born of the household against the angel of death during the tenth, and final, plague the western God imposed on Egypt when ordering the pharaoh to “let his people go”.
In a recent discussion on the UCTP forum regarding the matter of the Taino language, it’s development and evolution came up. The particular word being discussed was “Tau” which has been used for several years now as a greeting among Taino online. No one seems to know where the word came from, nor how it developed into it’s present meaning, but, regardless of this lack, it has been, and continues to be used as a greeting in emails, IMs, forums and even in face to face conversations. This particular exchange mentioned the possibilities of finding another indigenous nation who may serve as an example to us and whom we may mold ourselves after with regards to the regrowth and revitalization of our culture, language and society. This is a marvelous idea in concept, but has left much to be desired in practice.
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 “Some thoughts on the word “Tau””
I read They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America by Ivan Van Sertima. I wasn’t halfway through this book and I was thoroughly offended, but I finished it just to hear their point of view.
I don’t buy it.
These are some questions I thought very interesting, and I had never considered before. They were posted on an Indigenous Forum I participate in by someone whom I consider quite intelligent. The questions are regarding the Taino Movement and it’s people from 20+ years ago to the present. There are some people who have been part of this movement forever, in one way or another, and others, “newcomers”, who are just now discovering the possibilities of their indigenous ancestry.
Sometimes past and present don’t meet eye to eye and these questions seem to want to uncover the “why”, “because”, “porque'” of them.
I would add, that the questions themselves are also very telling. The answers are my own.
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.
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!