They came before Columbus… and what?!?

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.

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Splintering among the Taino Nation…

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.

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Resurgence or Insurgence? Stoking the rage of colonization…

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.

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Restitution or retribution for the first “Indians”?

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.

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A home of our own~ Considering a Taino Village

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!

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A comer pasteles!!!

This post was originally published on La Diva Latina .com.  Reposted here with the Author’s permission…

With the Holidays upon us, families across the Caribbean and beyond will soon be serving up all manner of traditional meals. On the island of Boriken ( Puerto Rico ) for example, no traditional holiday feast would be compete without a particular savory TAINO delight known as PASTELES.

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What is truly important?

I found this fearful, ethnocentric post on the web.  This article claims to have been written by Tim Giago, president of the Native American Journalists Foundation and the publisher of Indian Education Today Magazine.  I am not a professional writer, but this piece seems to lack the polish of someone of such high distinction, so I cannot say that this is the actual author, only that it claims to be.  My argument is with the content and not the polish though, so here is my reply.

I’m saddened to see how acrimonious my brothers and sisters have allowed themselves to become; it only shows how disconnected from Spirit some of us have grown to be.

This onslaught on the “fake shaman” who are popping up all over the place, like fry bread in a powwow; this whole piece of writing,  is dedicated to a racist agenda hidden in an attitude of righteous indignation, attacking a matter that no one has a right to touch!

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