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.
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””
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This month people in various countries will be celebrating what is commonly called “Columbus Day” or “Dia de la Raza”; a day marked to celebrate the arrival of Columbus and his cronies crew onto the shores of “virgin” lands.
Many view this as an incredible event, worthy of celebration and joy. At a time when the planet was believed to be flat and only dangers and monsters awaited at the edge of the world, that a man had the audacity to take off into the vast unknown is nothing short of extraordinary! The Italians get to glorify one of their own, others celebrate their ancestors escape from religious persecution, escape from famine, a place to begin life anew; some consider it was a god-given duty to bring Christianity and “civilization” to this “New World” and yet others, well, they just like the day off from work. But rarely does anyone stop to consider the flip side of the coin and are even surprised to hear that there are people out there who actually oppose celebration of this day as a holiday.
Well, to form an objective opinion one must have as much factual information as possible. I ask you to look at the other side of the coin, at least through this native’s eyes…