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.
Continue reading “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?~ Segregation in Native American Spirituality”
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…
Continue reading “Nostalgia Taína”
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…
Continue reading “A “Voice of Authority”… Part Deux”
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.
Continue reading “Seeking a leader; the need for a “Voice of Authority” for our dead language”
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?”
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.
Continue reading “Who’s example can we follow? Are the Maori a good choice?”
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.
Continue reading “They came before Columbus… and what?!?”
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.
Continue reading “Splintering among the Taino Nation…”
I was recently in a conversation with a Taino gentleman who’s passion for the Taino Nation was so strong it was admirable. He was intelligent and seemed well read and interesting. Personally, I believe he had some very good points at times, but sadly, his truth was hidden in thorns which made it difficult to want to listen.
One loves to hear power and passion in the youth and future of the Nation but this brother’s fires raged unchecked. His words were weapons and he wasn’t afraid to use them. His diatribes were a chaos of topics; a snarl of conspiracy theories jumbled with some historical truths, sprinkled with concern for the future of the Nation. His anger would lead him to rants that would become demeaning, aggressive, divisive and ultimately destructive. At times one had to wonder if the conversation was still on topic and sometimes brother got so deep, I don’t think even he understood himself. Initially, I avoided sharing my opinion for fear of becoming a target for his rage if he didn’t agree, but this didn’t last very long.
He initiated a discussion on a topic I thought was really important, one I thought we agreed on; figure we could start on common ground. Sadly, the conversation ground to a halt and we were never able to continue after that. His questions and commentary were replies to this essay.
Continue reading “Resurgence or Insurgence? Stoking the rage of colonization…”