There has been much said regarding monuments to confederate and colonizing “heroes”, on both sides of the debate. Some feel that removing the monuments is unwise: because we should revere history, because it cannot change the past, because it should remind Americans of our shame, because these monuments are public art and should cared for. Those who feel they should be torn down say it’s racist propaganda, it celebrates murder and destruction, the decimation of whole cultures. Both sides seem to have valid points, and I find myself, as a colonized Indigenous person, listening with 2 different sets of ears. It seems to me that the contrast here is the perspective from which these issues are being considered. Continue reading “Decolonizing Public Spaces: One Taino’s Perspective”
A point by point response to the OSIA.org flyer, Why We Should Celebrate Columbus Day, prepared by: The Order of the Sons of Italy in America in Washington, D.C. Telephone: 202/547-2900 Web: http://www.osia.org (update: the flyer has been condensed into a page.) Continue reading “Why We Should NOT Celebrate Columbus Day”
This year the US will be conducting a new, 10 year, population count and this brings me to the topic of questions 8 & 9 of the Census: the race and ethnicity questions.
We can google and find many a discussion and internet slogan rejecting the label of “Hispanic” or “Latino”. Folks claim to be neither regardless of Spanish names, surnames, languages spoken or country of origin. Although many hold a strong conviction with regards to this, my observation has been that few bother to question the basis of this opinion.
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.
…Reply to a Critic
Recently, I received a response to the book review I posted on Ivan Van Sertima’s, They Came Before Columbus. This person was very passionate about defending the Afrocentric version of alternative history and emailed me an excerpt from his later book, Early America Revisited, in which Van Sertima replies to his critics: scientists, archeologist and professionals from different, but related, fields of study. I must say that his rebuttals prove quite an interesting read and encouraged me to further research, which I enjoy immensely. However, I must also say that the additional information just didn’t help Ivan’s case.
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…
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…
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.