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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A “Voice of Authority”… Part Deux

Although at the present moment we have no Authority on the Taino language, let’s pretend we do.  Imagine  we have a group of people who are recognized as the Authority on the Taino language by a great majority of the Taino people and organizations.  And that this Authority has created the ultimate Taino Dictionary…

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Seeking a leader; the need for a “Voice of Authority” for our dead language

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.

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Cultural Dissonance?

Note:  The following post is a long one. I hope you feel like reading!   ~N

I am a modern Caribbean Indian woman; a mixture of Taino, European and African descent.  However, it is my Taino Indian heritage that I choose to follow, learn and endorse.  The existence of my Taino ancestry has been covered up, denied for many years because of greed and genocide.  This cover up is pernicious and has infected not only the familial roots of my Nation but has disowned our indigenous heritage  on a grand scale.  Society wide- to the point where in school I was taught that the Taino people became extinct due to poor constitution and laziness;  and world wide- because although many know that Columbus reached the Caribbean Islands in 1492, few recognize the Taino people as the Indians he met there.

Recent studies have shown that a good percentage of the population tested (in PR)  not only carry Taino genetic markers, but that in fact,  carry most of the DNA material inherited via  Taino female bloodlines.  I find this very appropriate since the Taino have traditionally been a matrifocal society.  Additionally, there has been more extensive study of Spanish documents, census taking and log keeping.  This history is now being looked at as written by very human people who were not above a little underhandedness…  So, scientists and historians are now finding that the Taino did not become extinct as has been propagated, but survived; having chosen invisibility over death, and blended blood,  religion and culture to what is present in the Caribbean islands today.

These scientific and historical findings have engendered a grand movement.  For some time now, there has been a resurgence of people reclaiming Native Caribbean Indian ancestry and identity.  Hand in hand with this resurgence comes a strong desire to unite as a tribe and create community.  Folks are meeting in cafes and parks,  fairs and powwows, museums and  kitchen tables to discuss the reclaiming  of our Taino heritage.  Websites have been put up,  groups and organizations have been created to promote union and sharing, teaching and learning.  Some have assembled family groups, clans and tribes, others have organized and incorporated; all with different purposes but the same idea- to join with others of like mind.

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Better words never spoken…

To all those who look only look at the book’s cover…