Taino youth shined bright this past Saturday and Sunday Oct 22 and 23, 2011 at the Taino Intergenerational Conference held at the Yippie Cafe in New York City. The event was sponsored by the Bohio Ata Bey and Kasike Guaraguaorix of Maisiti Yukayeke Taino.
We were struck by the comitment and dedication of several of the Taino young people who participated in the event, several of whom are participants in the Caribbean portion of the Peace and Dignity Journeys.
Some of these young people offered impressive presentations including one by the young sister Yari of Boriken who shared with us her experiences as an activist in her home island where she participated in a successful protest in behalf of a natural region where the drug super conglomerate Walgreen was proposing to erect one of their box stores and in the process destroy the area's delicate natural environment. The group called its protest stand "Camp Saman" in honor of one of the species of trees that was being threatened by the project.
We were treated to the talent of several wonderful artists including our own great Taino percussionist, Edwin Cedeno who gave a great presentation on his self-crafted drums.
We also enjoyed the performance of a poem written by Inaru herself that was dedicated to the three ancestral grandmothers that most Caribbean people share; the Taino, the African and the European. Inaru recited the poem and was assisted by our sister Koaiku who presented a beautiful dance interpretation to accompany it.
Among the many presentations was a talk presented by Kasike Roberto Mucaro Agueybana Borrero, president of the United Confederation Of Taino People and kasike of Yukayeke Guainia. He informed the group about (among other things) the various elements of Taino and Caribbean connections in the greater region of North, Central and South America.
Aside from the many Taino presenters, the organizers of the event treated us to a talk by Russian fashion supermodel and actress Irina Pantaeva, a sister who belongs to the Siberian Indigenous culture of the Buryats of the Altai country. She was there to make a presentation on the imminent environmental threats to her ancient homeland around region of Lake Baikal and the extraordinary experience that she had upon meeting elders from the Colombian Cogi Indigenous people on the day that she met Taino sister Inarunikia.
I was honored to be asked to perform the opening ceremony of the October 24 gathering and I felt a great sense of the sacredness of this ocasion of linking the aspirations of our youth with the aspirations of our elders.
I thank the organizers of this event and look forward to many more like it.