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Events


Tau My Relatives
We are probably all familiar with the fact that President Obama attended the O.A.S. (Organization of American States) sponsored Summit of The Americas gathering of leaders of countries from all over this continent last week in Trinidad. The most attention-grabbing news surfacing from this event seems to have been 1.)the fact that President Obama announced a loosening in the restrictions on travel by Cuban-Americans back to my homeland of Cuba for visits to relatives, and 2.)the now much photographed warm greeting betweent President Obama and the progressive leader of the nation of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez . What most of you don't know is the role that our own Taino leadership played in that international phenomenon.

The fact that President Obama is pledging a change of attitude toward the nations of Latin America, many of whom have huge Indigenous populations and many of whom have been, over the years, victims of the most rapacious type of imperialism originating in the U.S. is a remarkable step forward for this country. Our Indigenous brothers and sisters stand to gain much from this important change of attitude. And yet this new attitude is not just a change in the U.S. It represents a much broader process of evolution of attitude among people all over the Americas. The change in attitude is only possible because of the hard work of self- determination carried out mostly behind the scenes within the last several decades by Indigenous peoples such as the communities that comprise Mr. Chavez's large Native constituency in Venezuela, and the Indigenous constituency of other progressive new Latin American leaders such as President Evo Morales of Bolivia (who is himself a full-blooded Aymara), and President Alvaro Colom of Guatemala (who trained to be a traditional Maya Calendar oracle reader from a Quiche Maya spiritual teacher).
It is the untiring labor of these long-disenfranchised Native people that is now finally bearing fruit in tangible terms in spite of prodigious opposition. That work is the work led by determined leaders of these Native communities in the last couple of decades through international bodies such as the Indigenous NGO's of the United Nations and similar organizations associated to the Organization of American States.

The Taino people have long had a voice in these proceedings. Sometimes that voice has featured very prominently. This past week the O.A.S. was furnished with a document outlining the important demands that Indigenous peoples of the Americas expected to be seriously dealt with by the national leaders at the Summit of the Americas conference. This document had been formulated in a special previous summit of Indigenous leaders held in Panama City, and our own Roberto Mukaro Borrero of the United Confederation of Taino Peoples, along with several other Indigenous Caribbean leaders participated in that conference and were instrumental in the formulation of that document. See attachments for a copy of the document and the accompanying Plan of Action.

More recently Kasike Mukaro was given the honor of playing the guamo shell trumpet at the opening of another important conference that he participated in right here in New York. In the United Nations General Assembley, Bolivia's current Indigenous president, Evo Morales instituted a move to designate April 22 (commonly celebrated in many countries as Earth Day) as a specially dedicated official UN observance day to be called "Mother Earth Day" . The formulation of this proclamation is a concensus process that took time and effort and that Kasike Mukaro participated in fully. This proclamation establishes a set of requirements before national leaders of member nations of the UN which make very clear what we the Indigenous peoples of the world demand for them to do to correct the terrible environmental pressures that have been imposed on our global environment. Without the hard work of Indigenous leaders such as our own Taino Kasike these important initiatives would not be possible and we would have no voice in these global developments.

Whether at the O.A.S. or at the U.N. the voice of the Taino is becoming more and more prominent, and we owe a dept of gratitude to our Taino leaders for making that possible.

Taino Ti
Miguel

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Tau familia,
It has been said that the day of the Condor and the Eagle would meet and join. The ancestors have chosen the American President, a man of color similar to ours, a non-anglo name ,to earnestly and deligently open his heart to our struggles. For centuries, American interests have taken a primary seat in the affairs of our indigenous family. Families have been broken, ending with decimated indigenous populations. It is time to gather in prayer, with a firm committment to break the bondage of apathy towards our families, cities, ancestors, our yukayekes, our spirits-our souls. Our Kacike Mukaro, has entered the realm of sacrificing his time, heart, and energy for the Taino people. We need to join him in our collective struggle throughout our ancestral lands and help our brothers and sisters. However, let us not forget our urgent need to be centered-not for political reasons(though a reality).But, for the strength of our mission, to enrich the Taino resurgence and pray for our Native brothers and sisters.

Oma'bahari and Taino'ti. Xochitl Ana O Quinones delValle
Every Taino has the responsibility to support the important work that is being carried out by these Taino leaders. We show up and enjoy the events that they organize or are partially instrumental in organizing. Then we leave with our families and these leaders are left there hours after our departure to clean up after the event. We enjoy the fruits of their hard work which they carry out tirelessly, at their own expense and often with no hope of any kind of payment. We benefit from the important strides of improvement in the conditions that we experience as Indigenous people that result from their work.

The status of Indigenous peoples in the Americas has definitely improved within the last three decades. That is a provable fact. Ask the thousands of Guatemalan Maya farmers that have trickled back to their homes and farmlands from the bitter exile caused by the USA-inspired bloody military extermination campaigns of the 1980's. They have been able to return and take back their rightfully owned lands that had been taken from them by the forces of imperialism only through the undefatigable hard work of courageous Indigenous leaders such as Quiche Maya woman, Rigoberta Menchu. Indigenous people in Bolivia were led by their organizers in the difficult national election campaign that brought Aymara native tribesman Evo Morales to power in that country, a fearless foe of USA imperialism in South America who has bravely stood up to Bush's arrogance over and over again in spite of repeated threats on his life since his election in 2005. Yes my brothers and sisters the people are very important in bringing about necessary change in their lives but this change comes about through the guidance of brave and selfless leaders.

The status of the Sacred Hoop of the people is indeed in a state of new and magnificent repair, and nobody can take away the credit that is due to those powerful Indigenous people who have repaired it and continue to repair it even more and more every day. That repair comes as a result of direct and selfless action in behalf of the people as a whole, not the activities of self-subsistance of a specific family working on its own behalf for its own benefit proving to the world that it can be done. That activity is a commendable endeavor and to be applauded, but hardly something that will touch the lives of our Taino community in any significant manner. The work must be done with and among the people. shoulder to shoulder with the people, It is a sacrifice. It is hard work done in the light of the day in full view, not from the shadows of anonymity. That is the work our leaders do and we owe them gratitude and co-operation. That is the true realization of the prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor.
Taino Ti
Miguel
Taino Ti Sobaoko

I have something to add to what you speak of

Its tuesday and Drums along the Hudson is over but I had a little time to reflect on the days activities.

The people who rent out table space arrive hours before the event officially opens, spend days even weeks preparing for said events. They act as cultural ambassadors for their particular Nation. People count on them being there and they are a major component to these cultural activities.

After everybody has left they are still there cleaning up their space and arrive home late at night. They pay exhorbitant fees for the right to do this so they could make a little money for themselves. They have to brave the weather RAIN OR SHINE. They do it because it is in their blood, to be there among the people and provide a space that the community will benefit from. Every one of these spaces is like a Bohio where people meet up with old friends and make new ones.

Its hard work providing these spaces and some times the visitors distract the exhibitors from the work they are doing or try to devalue them by making foolish negative comments labeling their craft as "trinkets" "pontificating behind computer keyboards" mean't to detract what is a positive endeavor

Its all about being with your brothers and sisters in fellowship

It all pays off at the end when you see the people communing with each other and building relationships that will last a lifetime.

When I see pics like the one you posted about Drums along the Hudson and see people with big smiles on their faces, volunteers getting their fingers dirty while others lead ceremonial blessings, people stationed at interactive tables that showcase our ancestors contribution to the foods that are rooted to America's culture and that the people of the world eat every day, wearing their ancestral regalias, dancing with their indigenous family, insuring that our traditions will not die.



I realize that a valuable service has been done .

I realize that people will take that good energy home with them

That people will leave inspired and rejuvenated

I realize that it was all worth the effort.

nabori daca Taino

Caracoli
Jan Jan Katu This is exactly what I mean!
Saludos Familia! :)

Hope all is well with you and yours...

Like you all, the resurgence, the rebirth and reinstatement of our Taino people on the map is a deep passion of mine. I’m happy for all the progress made so far. I remember how schools taught that the Taino were extinct. Yet today I can show the children of my family images of other Taino from different parts of the world, doing similar activities to ours. We run into Taino at powwows and even in the local supermarket! The children can experience the presence of other Taino people out there and see that we have local and even International representation! These things, these attitudes, didn’t exist when I was a kid and I am well aware that these changes didn’t happen on their own.

These are exciting times to live in- ennit?! :)

However

There is a proverb that goes “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I have noticed (and experienced) how the very same proclamations and declarations that these organizations support are either ignored or stepped all over when there is a disagreement in value judgements or opinions, with either individuals or groups. The attitude seems like “it’s my club, so it’s my rules”, “if you are their friend, you can’t be ours” type of schoolyard bullying, and the people (constituency) are coerced to assimilate to the organization’s leadership’s idea of what a Taino should be and do or suffer ostracism and even exile. Sadly, when it comes down to these ideas of “Taino-hood”, it seems that the constituencies wants or desires are not necessarily taken into account.

Perfect example is the whole drama surrounding the use of the word “Tau”, a word that has been used in the Taino community, the very people these organizations claim to represent, for over 8 years. Now, regardless of which “side” anyone is on, the fact is that the whole argument is over a greeting! This expression of welcome, camaraderie and friendship has been perverted into an angry, divisive issue; an issue that has justified inappropriate behavior on both sides. Although I do not agree with inappropriate behavior, I believe there is a very big difference between an individual and an organization. My understanding is that an individual answers to themselves only, whereas an organization is bound to the commitments set forth in it’s declaration, mission or vision and answers to those it has committed itself to.

Now, does all the good these organizations do justify the questionable? Who keeps an eye on Orwell’s Big Brother? Although it is the responsibility of every Taino “to support the important work that is being carried out by these Taino leaders”, is it not also our responsibility to question these same leaders when we notice discrepancies or when we disagree?

As per the UN, it is not only our responsibility, but our right! (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 19 & 21)

Yet, when questioned, as respectfully as one can provide such difficult observations, these same organization representatives will block, ban and belittle those who do.

I agree that we are each responsible for our actions and behavior. I agree that this, too, is part of the healing mentioned in the Prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor. We each need to come to center, to balance, with ourselves, with Nature and with each other.

It’s not easy work, I am well aware of this. But it’s my understanding that our leaders need to lead us in this healing, too.

How can we encourage them to do this?

oma'bahari, nabori'daka
Nanu
Han Han Catu.

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