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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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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When is abusive behavior acceptable?

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?
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Who’s example can we follow? Are the Maori a good choice?

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.

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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