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"That's not "traditional'."
"They aren't REAL indians, they are wannabes."
"That is NOT part of our belief system."
"They are making things up."
"Fake indians."

These are common words coming from the mouths of our native friends, families and relations.  And when asked who a REAL indian is, the usual answers are "You either are, or you are not."  or "You know when you are."

My questions are as follows:

What makes a REAL indian?  What are the characteristics that define a person as Native American?
What is the difference between a Taino and any of the island labels, besides self identification?
And how important are these definitions?

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In another conversation an ICN member mentioned "trading sides" and the current labels we have and use today. I've included my responses because I believe they add to this discussion...

The idea of "trading sides" is one that, I would imagine, is heard in all ethnic groups, particularly if there has been extensive cross-cultural procreation... The criticism of what a person looks like, "passing" for a member of the ethnic majority, and degrees of ethnicity are nothing new... "¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?" by Fernando Vizcarrondo, was recited in almost every fiesta de Bomba y Plena and Feria de San Anton I went to as a kid. And as an adult I see how the lack of a CDIB card makes anyone without one a "wannabe" indian.

As for the Latin/Hispanic/Cuban/Dominican/etc. labels- there are whole histories on that. The assumption that we "easily allowed" ourselves to be labeled as anything other than Taino overlooks our whole history and denies the horrors that were perpetuated to make our ancestors deny all they ever were. It also denies the fact that we are a people with mixed ethnicities. Shame may not have anything to do with the label folks choose to adopt.

So, is being a Taino indian based on genetic inheritance?
Can a Taino also call themselves American, Dominican, Puerto Rican, etc?

Yes:::there has been an extensive cross ethnic procreation also: who can ask in both the America's, she or he is a full blood? And even the whites have to think about this question twice. So this is our reality now as indigenous people!

To be a Native Indian is not so much a proof of the right skin, birth place or characteristics etc., but I think of having some reawaken DNA traces and your personal CHOICE which DNA trace you want to give priority in your Life. If you want to remember your Arawak or Taino or even African or Celtic history in your DNA history and feel alive in your Spirit by the choice you make, then that is what you long as this Feeling is connected with the Spirit of the Land that you are part of in that moment.

We are moving towards 2012 and that means we are transforming from materialistic to spiritual people.

In Spirit we are all connected to each other and to mother Earth.. so where we ARE with the Land in certain moments will connect us to certain DNA histories in our cells and we can choose to live some of this Remembering for a certain time... Native Indian and Chinese have some same DNA histories...Dutch, German and Celtic DNA histories in Arawak Taino blood...more possibilities, more choices...also those of our past Life!....what an open space of possibilities and choices...

So being indigenous helps us to step out of the administrational and cultural boundaries we are forced to live as a society and as a spiritual Being we have all the Freedom of choices we want to be...whatever we live..whenever we be.

But the fun is to Remember:interpret, interchange, interweave, revive, renew all the indigenous traces of histories we choose to live as authentic parts of our Spirit Self.

So why think in boxes?

hm im mockd,ALOT,for being brown and looking black but being puerto rican.i personally know very little about any of my ancestry but i know history.
and for me being indigenous means knowing you are part of a people that has been wronged,and continue to be wronged.
to me being indigenous means wanting to learn about that missing part of means figting to keep alive that which everyone wants to means fending off racism and eliteism just like the elders befor you or means being native to a land that people will often visit and like our elders,meet these ppl with hospitality-NOT with hostility less thats how they meet you or your land.
it means learning from one another what you will.

Thank you for your comment Xieticinex

Jan jan katu my relative there are so many of us who are in agreement with you

It is not the word or title that makes anyone anything, the action and practice. The title does not make the person the person makes the title. Every human at one time came from indigenous back round. Living in harmony with the natural world, making use of the gifts yaya has given, the healing medicines, the songs, dance and spreading love among our relatives and all people.

Yea we can take it further and add the dance, fast and sacrifice in several methods, all people regardless of skin color can do this and do it well.

Some mention DNA, well, what about our soul and spirit this also has content regardless of DNA - Blood, Thats a small part of anything, if you get a blood transfusion are you now the content of that blood? No!

Its in the practice, How much indigenous are you? Matters how much you get involved and what your practice is.

Akitchitay UrayoEl

Thank you brother
You make some excellent points here.

are you a chief?

Greetings Xochi...if this question is directed to me, no I am not a chief and I wonder what would move you to ask me such a question. Did i say something that would suggest that I consider myself a chief?

Jan Jan, tiao.

An excellent point, I tell my students that cultural competence rests on where the client lies. It's not the imposition of the dominant culture or one's values,rather the person who espouses theirs.

Having over 70% Native genetics.

Greetings Xochi....I see that you are responding to very old discussions, many of which have actually been abandoned by those who were originally carrying them out. I am glad to see that you are interested in participating. I invite you to search for more recent discussions and give your opinions.

Many blessings



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