Indigenous Caribbean Network

For me it all started with my Abuela Fernanda Delgado Roldan. I was 10 years old sitting in my stoop in Brooklyn NY with my abuela and cousins and inquired about my Grandfathers whom I had never met, She said that my Abuelo era un Indio. She met him at a dance, all of my cousins teased her with the cry woo hoo!!!! but I tell you like Rosie Perez I felt 10 freakin feet tall.

My Mother would later tell me that she would go to see the petroglyphs which were all over where she lived which was a town in Boriken called San Lorenzo

I lived through the sixties I remember when President Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assasinated. I listened to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Motown. I witnessed the Civil rights movement and man first walking on the moon. The Vietnam War brung scores of protest I grew up in a time when people fought for what they believed was right. They sacrificed so much and I appreciate all the things they did for us.

My Grandmother who lived next door to me with her children and my cousins would listen to Radio Wado which played alot of Spanish Boleros at the Time. My cousins would play Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe at their partys and introduced me to Salsa. Wow!!!! I would go to Fania All Star concerts in Madison Square Garden. I saw Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz sing. I went to Central Park for free Ray Baretto and Eddie Palmieri concerts. I saw Cheo Feliciano perform the hit song Anacaona.

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The seventies in NY saw the rise and fall of the Younglords the Nuyorican Poets Cafe was formed. Boricuas were over 90% of of the Latino population living in NY. The lower eastside of NYC and the South Bronx looked like a warzone. Urban decay and neglect along with the scourge of drugs reduced Boricua neighberhoods to rubble.

I think its important to mention that in the 60s Boricua Joe Quijano and friends were befriended by a Lakota man who taught them them his culture. These Boricua travelled around Indian Country in the 60s and 70s participating & dancing in Pow Wows. They went on to form a Native American Drum group called Brooklyn Drum. One of the Boricua familys back then produced a Grass Dance Regalia made of Yarn. That yarn Regalia was a hit out west and soon became the norm in Western Pow Wows and is stilled worn today.

Boricuas have been living in Nyc since the 1890s. The Puerto Rican section of the Cuban Independence party presented the flag of Puerto Rico on Dec 22 1895 at Chimney Hall in NYC. The first wave of Boricuas were tabaqueros who worked the tobacco shops making cigars. The Jones Act in 1917 gave all Boricuas U.S citizenship. Boricuas started to immigrate to NYC and settled in Neighborhoods around the Brooklyn Navy Yard and in East Harlem.

The largest influx in numbers came in the 1950s all thru at least 1980. In that timeframe my family came to America

These arrivals some born on the island and others born in America having grown up at a time of great social change would begin to gather and form the Associasion Indigena Taina.
Tainoray. I hope you dont get offended, my brother. But I just want to say you have always been america. Boriken is part of the western hemisphere. In schoold in kiskeya one of my teacher told us we are the real americans. Meaning us indians. But borikens migrated to the USA. Just like many others. Just wanted to add that with all due respect.

Ofcourse there are many like the mexicas who will argue that we are not americans cause we are not deccendants of american vesuti or vesucci dont know the correct spelling but that is best left for another discustion.

Very intersting story my brother. I especially like the part of the lokota befriending the two borikenos. That says alot.
When I first went to school and was belittled for my color and language, I realized that the school books had nothing about my people. My mother always told us we were part indios. My affinity to native culture was very strong and I would always root for the native people in westerns knowing that at the end of the movie or show they would be conquered or at the least ignored.

I eagerly gobbled what little I information I could find (this is back in the '50s and early '60s). I would look for that one page mention of what happened in 1492 and wonder -- what happened before and where are the people now. As a "nyorican" I was neither here nor there.

It is true that if you ask for guidance, you will get it.

After a long journey of obstacles and small deaths and sometimes looking back, but always looking forward, in 1995, a young man stood by one of my paintings to learn who had created it. He is half Guatemalan and half Boricua and he lead me to meet native people in my area. That chance meeting lead to my participating in native northern ceremonies and meeting many in the Resurgence movement.

I too lived in the 60s when we had hope that much would change and some things did change for the better. But there is still a lot to be done.

There is a lot of "unwritten" history that needs to be "sung" so that our myths and legends will continue
Taino Ti Rixturey

Thank you for sharing your story. If you or any Taino for that matter were around in those times PLEASE share. The early days must be talked about so that the young will know. That this resurgance is a hope for a better tomorrow for our people. We must include the names of our unwritten history and praise them in our Areitos. I will not engage in any negative talk about our history, I will not be sidetracked. All I'm doing is contributing from memory. Again this Forum is all about sharing and that Ancestral Spirit flows through all that Identify in their heart and soul that they are Taino. So feel free to contribute from memory, I love you all after all you're my family.

nabori daca Taino

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