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On Thursday, November, 13, 2008 a great woman, mother, housewife and above all an incredible human being crossed over. To say she will be missed by her family and friends is an understatement. I write these few words to express the pain I feel and to shed light not so much on how she died, but on how she lived, her strength, her struggle and her love.

I met Sonia Migdalia Rosa 8 years ago when I received an email from a total stranger. Asking me countless questions, I was amazed at how her hunger, that hunger, that we in the Taino world know and understand. She like most of us was interested in the truth and had that burning desire that we have all felt at some point in our lives, to connect to with our ancestors and lift that veil of ignorance imposed upon us.

Sonia was ever soi curios. Asking countless questions, and then coming to her own startling conclusions, she dove deep into the consciousness of our ancestors and reported faithfully on what she observed and felt. At one point in time she became aware of the fact that I held documents regarding the Carlisle 62. These were 62 children of Boricua extraction who were placed in the Carlisle Indian School from 1898 to 1912. She became obsessed and harassed me until I gave up my documents to her. She took the information I provided to another level and in a short time made her own startling discoveries about the subject.

Unlike others who were aware of the story, she was not as concerned as to whether or not the Boricua children who attended the school were Indian or not. She was more interested in the very real human aspect of this story. Like me, she asked herself, how did they sleep at night? Were they afraid? Were they mistreated? What became of them? After tracking down some of their descendants, she reported on what she had learned. Later when she was asked if the children were Taino or not she would answer “ according to DNA studies at least 62 percent of them were.” She was also a poet and wrote poems that I will carry with me forever. Her insights were honest and sincere. She never took a step backward. Striving ever forward, relentlessly, towards the truth.

What I admired most of all was her love for her son Alex and her husband Eliud. She could not stop talking about them and expressing her pride in them. She loved them more than life itself.

Only creator knows why, but she developed breast cancer. Instead of succumbing to it she fought it tooth and nail. I was in awe of her strength and courage. She called her struggle “fighting the good fight.” I believe that she beat it in the sense that she went down fighting like a warrior. Eyes wide open and ready to take up the challenge. I can only wish to be half as powerful and brave as she was.

I miss you Sonia. You were truly a special human being. I miss you will ever know. You were there for me when I needed you most. You taught me to not look at others faults but to look at my own and work at these so that I could become a better human being. I cannot believe that I will never hear your sweet voice again. You were and always will be a special part of my life. I will never forget you and will love you always. I know that you will always be an arms length away from your son. He was your jewel and I cannot begin to imagine the pain that he must feel right now. I promise to be there for him as you were there for me.

I was fortunate to have known you and called you my friend.

I will end this by quoting you:

Understand that this fascination with investigating, preserving, educating, and recognizing the truth about our Taino past has only just begun. This wonderful obsession has governed our lives for so many years. We hope that it converts itself into a slogan of a life transformed by the past. Sonia Migdalia Diaz (Taino) from the island of Boriken.

Please visit her site at:

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Comment by Iris Antongiorgi Concepcion on February 20, 2009 at 1:06pm
Comment by Eliud on December 24, 2008 at 12:59pm
Jorge and friends,
Thank you so much for your kind words about Sonia. She was a very special woman.

Eliud (Sonia's husband)
Comment by Jorge Baracutei Estevez on December 15, 2008 at 2:05pm
Gracias Carmen. I look forward to corresponding with you more. Que te digo, la vida es tan corta...
Comment by Juan Almonte on November 26, 2008 at 9:41pm
Compai, I havent login in a while so I didnt reply sooner.

I think very highly of you my brother and your words say alot about this woman who I never had the honor to meet.

Just wanted to say sorry for your loss.
Comment by Jorge Baracutei Estevez on November 25, 2008 at 11:56am
Thank you all for your kind words. Yeah, Sonia was indeed Special. It hurts deeply to think how much she suffered. But at the same time her courage was something to behold. I learned a lot from her. And I have learned a lot from all of you. Max, thank you for everything you have ever done for me, my people, and all those you come in contact with. I say this, because everytime I lose a friend or family member I end up kicking myself in the head for not telling them what is truly in my heart. At least in my mind I sense that you could never tell people enough how much you appreciate them.
Thank you Ruben, My brother Tainoray and thank you Max, you are and always will be one of the best teachers I have ever had.
Comment by Caracoli on November 25, 2008 at 9:46am
I feel your pain Brother

She sounded like a remarkable lady, Your words show how wonderful it is to have friends. Sonia showed that if you have love for culture you can contribute to our resurgance from your home and even teach us a thing or two. She is now with our people and having a wonderfull time with her family. Que dios la bendiga.

Comment by Maximilian Forte on November 25, 2008 at 8:34am
Jorge, this is terrible...we had been in touch through Facebook, she sounded like she had a powerful grasp of herself and the situation, I said I would pray for her and I did, we continued to exchange emails as if nothing were, and then this. It's too much--I know too many people, close family, close friends, who have died from breast cancer, it really makes you give up hope some times.

Sonia struck me as every bit of what you described above, thanks so much for writing this Jorge. You should also feel free to reproduce this on the Review of the ICC blog so more people can know. She produced that great article in KACIKE, that has been read and admired by so many, found to be very useful by a great many readers. Just up to about three weeks ago I was still sending her email feedback from readers (I was acting as a human spam filter since that time you might remember when some nut started stalking her online).

I am going to miss her, and I am sorry I have been away for two weeks and did not see this sooner.

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