Indigenous Caribbean Network

Please realize that portions of this post were taken from another Network I am affiliated with and thus it may seem familiar to some. I have edited the appropriate portions for clarity's sake.

In browsing about through the internet and in speaking with certain individuals, it seems that the Taino Heritage Movement is for the most part limited to members of the Spanish speaking Caribbean. It is not as if we don't all share the same/similar history/ies. Why then are members from these Islands (Haiti and Jamaica) rarely if at all considered Taino ? Is it because they don't look Taino (if that's the case then most of us shouldn't either unless we're pure bloods.), because they use the term Arawak or is it because in some way shape or form we've adopted some strain of the Spanish casta mentality ?

Here is a website of a self identified Haitian Arawak : http://www.haitianarawak.com/main.php

Below is an image that if I recall correctly was listed as a Jamaican Arawak/Taino Woman:

http://www.dasoentertainment.com/photo3.html (The direct link to the image does not allow for remote linking, so I posted the address for the full page.)

What about individuals in the Dominican Republic living in the southern portion of the Island who are Afro Taino ? Why don't many of us identify with them ? Why are they so under represented ? Why are Afro Indigenous people as a whole under represented ?

Just my 2 cents is all.

Here are some of my other random musings as related to the subject. ( I ask that people read through the whole text and not draw out through mental gymnastics supposed attacks on a given group.)

I believe that some having been exposed to this and or that influence somewhat display the casta mentality without realizing it. Sort of like, we're this kind of people and you lot are this kind of people. I've heard people within the movement make distinctions between Boricua and Taino. Yeah it sounds ironic, but people like that are out there. It is that whole Pureza de Sangre mess with a Taino spin.

I've noticed that when speaking about Taino Heritage movements, most groups circle out three main Islands, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic and Cuba. Interestingly some aren't inclusive of Jamaica and Haiti (who both share Indigenous names (although the name Haiti only came to be applied after the western portion of Quisqueya gained its independence. Interesting given the fact that if there had been no interaction between the African slaves and Taino, where did they learn the term haiti from ? Just something to ponder.

Given that this is a network directed at Taino Heritage, I figured it would be a good place to hear people's opinion on the subject.

Another thing that somewhat bugs me, and maybe this is the perfect medium to get it off my chest is the following. While I am cool with having feelings of brotherhood between members of other First Nation groups etc., it bothers me when we begin to appropriate histories that are foreign to us. In the sense that I am a Taino Africano Espanol,(I identify as a Noahite (and I have every right to do so, at least I believe I am entitled to believe as such) but in terms of Indigenous heritage I am Taino. I am not Hopi, I am not Maya I am not (take your pick), I am proud of the accomplishments of our people the Taino of Borinquen. I realize we had interaction with other groups, but at the end of the day when all was said and done my ancestors like every other Taino sat up in their hamaca while drinking Mabi (and probably scarfing down some Mamey (I'm the only one in my family who actually likes it, lol)). They were lulled to sleep by the sounds of coquis and mucaros and the sweet aroma of Dama de Noche (Cestrum nocturnum). Not to mention I am not taking into account Inter and Intra group variances among the Taino.

That is not to say that certain things may not be interchangeable to an extent (ie. a Teponaztli and a Mayohabao, similar head dresses,etc.), but not to the point where it feeds into the outsiders stereotype that all First Nation people are all the same.

On another note, I believe I should explain what I mean by Noahite.

I am not referring to the Noahide Laws.

I consider myself a Noahite in the sense that I am descended from the 3 sons of Noah. Perhaps I should rethink the term (given how confusing it can be in relation to the Noahide Laws), but it is more inclusive than Latino/Hispanic and rolls off the tongue faster than Taino Africano Espanol (hhhmmm... maybe Taifricanol or Noahitian).

Shem: Gave rise to the peoples of Asia and by extension the Americas (Asian sub group.).

Ham: Gave rise to the peoples of Africa.

Japheth: Gave rise to the peoples of Europe.

I'm not sure about the people of Australia, but I believe they might be of Shem.

While some don't accept my rendering of it within the movement (I'm considered a sell out for being Catholic (not sure how many people realize their are Byzantine and Oriental/Eastern Traditions within The Catholic Church that are not Latin Rite Catholicism.), I liken the fact that the family from which all nations are descended from (post flood) looked just like my own. I could see Noah's family being like a Puerto Rican family, different hair types, skin tones, etc. . Sure it doesn't hold much weight outside of my own world view, but I'm all about harmonizing all three parts of my identity.

Some people would be surprised to see that there are unsyncretized forms of First Nation Catholicism, but sadly with the Anglo Americanizing of North American culture in the 1800s (Just about the time of The Carlisle Indian Schools and The Sioux Ghost Dance movement), these were surpressed. I have a black and white photo of a Prayer Wampum used by some Catholic Algonquian and Iroquois in Canada. Its really interesting seeing something like that. Sadly we weren't as fortunate, but interestingly most if not all accounts we have about The Ancient Ones come from the accounts of Priests.

Not sure how many realize this, but the two brothers (Juan and Rodrigo de Hoyos) along with the African slave (Juan Moreno) who found the statue of La Caridad (de los Desamparados) del Cobre floating in the sea, were indigenous. So in all likelihood, they were either Taino, Ciboney or Guahanatabey. I only became cognizant of the fact when rereading the origin of how she arrived to Cuba. I've recently set about looking for an explanation as to why the two brothers are never depicted as Natives, but have yet to get an answer. I have a statue in my home of La Caridad del Cobre that my grandmother (may she RIP) salvaged. I am in the process of restoring the image (I've been doing so for a while) and perhaps will take it upon myself to restore their Indigenous faces.

Not sure how many realize this as well but Our Lady te Coatlaxopeuh (Who crushes the Serpent) (For all those who would think otherwise The Divine Icon of te Coatlaxopeuh is not Tonantzin.) and St.Cuauhtlatoatzin (Juan Diego) are both indigenous Saints along with Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and a host of other unmentioned Blesseds from North America.

Lastly how could I forget Puerto Rico's own Beato Charlie, who more than likely had Taino blood coursing through his veins.

http://www.corazones.org/santos/carlos_manuel_rodriguez.htm

Lastly, I'm not sure of the appearance of el campesino from La Virgen de Monserrate (the one of Hormigueros), but these are some of the big miracles that took place on our "little" Island.

Please realize that the portion explaining my use of the term Noahite was solely for clarification and is not the focus of my post. If anyone wishes to discuss its contents in an intelligent manner and one conducive to learning, I will gladly do so.

Views: 224

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hello Jonathan~

Quite an interesting post... I can see how some of these topics can become contentious. Please know that anything I write here is my opinion and not meant as a personal attack.

First of all, with regards to you being christian, that should be no one's business. In the end, religious choice is a very personal matter. Regarding saintly apparitions, I think that goes along the same lines... if this is important to you, so be it- who am I to say different?

I had never heard of the Noahites before, so thanks for the description. I am assuming this idea is also biblically based. I would offer that although the bible states that only Noah and his family survived, deluge stories are found in cultures world wide. Even our cousins on the mainland have rain-based, flood stories in their own oral traditions. "Rains that lasted for a long, long time...that flooded valleys and led to starvation." (Red Earth, White Lies 1997, Vine Deloria Jr, Fulcrum Publishing) It's no secret that early evolutionists were bible based and instead of respecting different cultural stories depicting a possible planetary catastrophe, they instead used the oral traditions of others to support their own religious traditions.

My thoughts are that if Noah and his clan were the only survivors in the whole world, the oral traditions wouldn't have gotten passed along.

Regarding the social inclinations of our carribean brothers and sisters, I believe that, as intelligent and forward thinking as we may be, there is still the colonial mentality we have inherited present in many of us. See how some still today consider the Spanish conquest a blessing for having "purified" our blood! See how some of us still question the validity of our Taino claim when we look in the mirror and see a "caucasian" looking back. I also believe that this mentality is on both sides of the fence; in other words, there are many carribean folk who claim Spanish or African roots only. I remember reading a Jamaican article ( I cannot find it now) where the Taino were considered part of the past, extinct and non-existent in the people today. These examples, I believe, support your thoughts that many of us have adopted a Spanish cast mentality; regardless if it is one of superiority or inferiority, it's an inherited colonial perspective.

I also believe that slowly but surely, this is changing. Awareness of self, be it through religion, spirituality, new age mentality or physics is making a huge difference in the way people "see" today. New "realities" are opening up to people every day. I think that these changes are still superficial in those of us who are learning and coming to an awareness of these things as adults- much like a language learned as an adult is not quite as comfortable as one that we learned as a child. It's a way of thinking...

But I have hope... it's in the kids.
Noahite, is a term I coined (at least I hope I did) which encompasses being of tri ethnic descent.

Noahide Laws on the other hand are a horse of a totally different color, but I'm not familiar with all the specifics of them so I can't speak on the subject.

My personal opinion is that his descendants and there descendants there after and so on and so forth recalled in there respective Oral traditions what happened during The Great Flood. But like a game of telephone after a while bits and pieces begin to change unless you find a way to record it finitely (ie writing it down). That is how I work it out in my world view.

I agree wholeheartedly with your statement below.

"Regarding the social inclinations of our carribean brothers and sisters, I believe that, as intelligent and forward thinking as we may be, there is still the colonial mentality we have inherited present in many of us. See how some still today consider the Spanish conquest a blessing for having "purified" our blood! See how some of us still question the validity of our Taino claim when we look in the mirror and see a "caucasian" looking back. I also believe that this mentality is on both sides of the fence; in other words, there are many carribean folk who claim Spanish or African roots only. I remember reading a Jamaican article ( I cannot find it now) where the Taino were considered part of the past, extinct and non-existent in the people today. These examples, I believe, support your thoughts that many of us have adopted a Spanish cast mentality; regardless if it is one of superiority or inferiority, it's an inherited colonial perspective."

It is truly disheartening when the local Island kin are overlooked because they don't fit the mold of certain members of the Taino Heritage Movement. None of us are full bloods (at least not to my knowledge) and thus any Taino within this movement is the fruit of what I call a guaitiao-esque union. Plainly put our cultures have become hybridized, combining the elements of what is good (for the most part) in the tri ethnic frame. It bothers me a lot when for many it is impossible to identify as Taino as well as whatever other ethnicity/cultural heritage you may affiliate with. So as I said before, for many it is frustrating to see me identify as a Puerto Rican as well as a Taino Africano Espanol, because to them such a thing is contradictory. It is hard enough getting it from outsiders, but it is worse getting it from those within the Taino Heritage Movement. I sometimes fear that many are a part of the movement to create a separation between those who are Taino (again there are no full bloods left) and those who would choose to identify with a given national identity (ie. Boricua/Puerto Rican,etc.). Basically have a little niche carved out for themselves and for no one else (It is hard expressing this sentiment in words.).

Hhhmmm... perhaps what happened in Puerto Rico and elsewhere is that the Taino roots became part of the fabric of Puerto Ricaness that it became unimportant after a while to distinguish this came from here etc. Outside of that context in a place like the US such a thing might be different, because ethnically speaking the US is inter confessional and has its own history in terms of ethnic segregation etc. But in a fully integrated society where elements of all participating ethnic groups are present in some way or another there isn't much of a struggle. Education is key in instances such as these. Hence a child or even an adult can distinguish that aji came from the Taino, gandules from Africa and azafran from Spain (well sorta). I'm not limiting the contributions of each respective group to those items mentioned above, but rather demonstrating how it is possible to harmonize all three aspects via education. Interesting how most of these things are harmonized in the kitchen and when we sit down to eat. The same can be said of music as well.

Maybe there was no particular instance in a persons life where they said I'm Taino. It is entirely possible that they just know and kept going on with their life. That is the way I would count my personal experience, it wasn't a ground breaking point where I was like "Oh my gosh I'm a Taino" . It was more along the lines of I know what is in me and I want to learn more about who The Ancient Ones were and how they lived (and to this day still live in a hybridized/adapted form.) and how that impacts me and the rest of my people and the world as a whole. So when someone says "Tomatoes come from Italy" I can turn around in a polite way and say, "That's not true. Tomatoes were first grown and cultivated in Meso America (or the given region) by the ... ." . Sure some people will tell you to sod off, but some people will say "Whoah, I didn't know that" and ask to learn more as well as pass along that knowledge and wisdom. Yet again education rears its head.
Hmmm... Great minds must think alike, Jonathan- I googled the term and found the word Noahite alongside Noahide, on line... It seems the words are used interchangeably.

Although I was a christian at one time, I am no longer. I don't personally believe in the bible being historically accurate. This is not a criticism of you and your choices, It's a matter of faith and I am not here to convert you away from yours.

I would like to comment that one of the biggest lessons the Taino Movement has taught me is that written matter can be just a faulty as one would assume oral history is. Written history has had the Taino extinct... it was oral tradition and common sense that has brought a general understanding that we are still here. I went to grade school in Boriken and I remember being told that the Taino were extinct in every Puertorican history class, every year, 'till high school. I graduated in 1987, that is not THAT long ago!

Ok, so maybe it is... my point is that even though our families knew the truth of our people, the written history was what was given preference as the truth for the same reasons you stated: truth gets garbled in the telling. Early diggers and "ologists" worked what they found into the biblical world view that was prevalent at the time the same way you expressed it.

I agree with you completely when you say that none of us are pure blood. I personally doubt that there are any pure blooded Taino left- even in the highest mountains of the caribbean. The possibility is always there, but it's unlikely, in my opinion.

As for the caribbean being a "fully integrated society" as you call it, I don't believe that it's as integrated as all that. Like I said, I grew up in PR and although the food items mixed, there was always an underlying "something" among the people. I had many family members who were not about integration and they denied the heritage you could see on their faces- and that was just my family... In the islands, you found it everywhere!

You do have a point when it comes to education, though. Like I said before, I think our hope lies in the children, but we must be willing to teach those children, and any adult who cares to listen. We also need to remember that some folk prefer not to hear it, and in that case we can respectfully keep our knowledge to ourselves and instead teach by example...

I wrote some essays on the topic and have them posted on my blog... Feel free to visit and post a comment, if you choose.

Splintering Among the Taino Nation

Cultural Dissonance?


In the end, I feel that a lot of the reasons and justifications folk put out there are just BS to support the inherited need for separation, creating an "us vs. them" mentality and thus supporting the imaginary "hierarchy".

But then, these are just my opinions :)
Happy Pascha !

Cristos Anesthi !

As for the caribbean being a "fully integrated society" as you call it, I don't believe that it's as integrated as all that. Like I said, I grew up in PR and although the food items mixed, there was always an underlying "something" among the people. I had many family members who were not about integration and they denied the heritage you could see on their faces- and that was just my family... In the islands, you found it everywhere!

Indeed your above statement is true, but what I meant by a fully integrated society is the cultural heritage of a nation.

For instance, within Bomba and Plena we have a fusion of the Taino (Guiro and Maraca), West Africans (the various drums) and Spaniards (The language). Now I doubt anyone is going to sit there and take each piece apart and say I only want to hear this portion or that portion (maybe there are divisive people like that out there), why, because Bomba y Plena wouldn't be what they are without the fusion of those influences. Sure it is awesome to acknowledge this and that is from here and there, but when it becomes a "point out contest" instead of a subconscious part of our heritage then we have a problem (Hhhmmm... that gives me an idea for another forum topic.) .

I realize that my saying knowledge/wisdom (two different things) becoming a "point out contest" sounds somewhat contradictory to what I last posted, but I assure you it is not. When I say a "point out contest", I am referring to the act of randomly and somewhat forcefully pointing things out to a person in an uncharitable manner. On the other hand, teaching individuals in a charitable manner will lead to a better understanding and appreciation for the things around them. So instead of someone saying, "Well I just happen to know that Aji are indigenous to the Caribbean", the person to whom they were directing the comment to can say, "Thanks, but I already knew that.". Some people would be surprised at finding people who already know this and that, but don't voice it.

I will try and address these and other issues in the other thread I am posting. But for now a brief preview of the gist of my next post, "Wisdom Sits in Places". If anyone is at all familiar with Kieth Basso's text, then you now exactly what I mean.

RSS

Notes

Garifuna dance

Created by Miguel Sague Jr Nov 24, 2020 at 2:54pm. Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Nov 24.

La Bruja

Created by Miguel Sague Jr Apr 4, 2016 at 12:07am. Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Apr 4, 2016.

Angel Rodriguez Caguana archeoastronomy

Created by Miguel Sague Jr Mar 29, 2016 at 3:10pm. Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Mar 29, 2016.

Badge

Loading…

Events

© 2020   Created by Network Financial Administration.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service