Most of the social and spiritual gatherings I participate in are composed of people from a variety of ethnicities and beliefs. Coming from a multi-cultural background myself, this is usually not an issue. Yet, as years have gone by, I’m finding myself feeling increasingly uneasy at the upcoming of any new event. We all have cultural blind spots and a certain amount of ethnocentricity, yes. Because of this awareness, I try not to look for offense in the ignorance of others; we are all working from our own programming and we are all in different spaces. But this discomfort continues and for the longest, I couldn’t quite pin-point what it was that bothered me so much about non-Indian guests in our gatherings. Continue reading “Ayaca e’ Iguana: Decolonizing Indigenous Diets”
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…
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.
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.
The thought of “Tau” being a religious corruption was a very interesting element added to the “Tau” discussion…
Some folks believe that “tau” is of christian origin because of the tau cross used by the Franciscan monks, as a mark of those who accept Christ as their savior, and maybe even the mark painted in lamb’s blood on the doorpost of the Israelite’s homes; protecting the first born of the household against the angel of death during the tenth, and final, plague the western God imposed on Egypt when ordering the pharaoh to “let his people go”.