When you let go of a pendulum it will swing to both extremes before achieving balance. Could the re-enactments be a reflection of this? Could this be the best that those people can do at this moment? Could it be they don't know another way? Could it be that another way is not something they can comprehend at this time?
Because we are a "resurgence", we are having to find our way back with little to no guidance. In some aspects, we are recreating our identities as Taino people, we are creating the traditions of tomorrow, today.
On the other hand, we know something about the tribal hierarchy of the Taino and because it is something indubitably ours, we latch on to it and refuse to let go. We know what a tribe is in a social context (as opposed to political) and I believe this is a union we are hungry for, so people will take on the cacike, bohike and nitaino titles. I don't see this as anything wrong- the people are trying to grow.
Where I have issues with the "title" thing is when a person takes on the position of cacike, for example, and then doesn't put in the effort to grow personally and spiritually. Any position of leadership is one where you will be the example of the ideal, a leader in word and deed, a servant to the people. Those who take up these titles and forget to include this fact in their attitudes work from ego and those are the ones that get stuck in my craw; those are the ones who I consider "playing indian".
My brother met a woman who was extremely knowledgable about all things Taino. He treated her as an elder and brought her to meet our mother, another elder. Yet this woman belittled him for not knowing as much about Tainos as she did, she literally patted him on the head! My family was trying to reorganize as a tribe and was seeking union with others, as equals. Instead they were offered a monthly fee for joining her group, and having their names on a list so as to be recognized as Taino.
So I guess, we aren't Taino now? LOL!
I think that we need to be patient, not everyone will grow at the same time nor in the same ways that we will. I think the desire is there but we are too young to do much more than what we are doing so far. We need a lot of learning and a lot of maturing! We need to get egos out of the way and realize that when it comes down to it, we are doing the best we can- even the folks that are doing what we wouldn't do are doing the best they know how at this time.
I think that you have given the perfect answer. As a Boricua Taino and Cherokee I see the same thing happening in both cultures and I agree if someone takes on a position they should develop and grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically so that they can be balanced. I loved your response.
I agree, I am not a religous person. But if you asked people about the second coming of Jesus. They still think of jesus with the beard, robe, sandels etc. Whats not to say that he will come back cleaned shaven and with a suit on. Or t-shirt and jeans. With that said I dont belive in anything biblical. I was just using it as an example.
From what I seen on youtube. I think people are applying the above to the taino movement. I mean, I seen a few dress up as indian and it look ok, even though I am not inersted in doing that type of thing myself. But it's sad when you see a clip on youtube of some taino's praying to rocks. But to me the worst is saying they are cacikes. From my understand cacikes were royal families. How do they know they are cacikes. Are they saying they are deccendants of these royal families. Or are they just labeling themselves that. For all we know some of us can actually be deccendants of these royal families and not know it. Sadly because we have lost so much of our tribal identy, that is one of the things that we might never know.
I saw a clip were a guys said he was cacike. He kinda laughed himself when he said it. I think he must have been thinking I am talking shit.
Even though I have been aware of my indigenous heritage. I am new to the movement. I have been very luck that the first person that I met was Jorge Estevez. He is the one that asked me to join this site.
By the way what a Bojitis? I have never heard that word.
Hey thanx compai, I head the other taino term but bojiti was a new one for me.
My dad grandmother was a healer who was so known that she was requested threw the cibao region of kiskeya (dominican rep). ON my mom side there where a few healers too. But I dont know if they were called that. One time in DR when I was 8 yo old I got very sick and my grandmother put two huge leave on my chest and back. She also made some type of herbal medicne. I swear the next day I was 100%. So I am a beliver of natural remedies. What I am not a beliver of is people jumping around talking talking in tounges. Taino rock praying is the equivalent.
Thank you TainoRay for opening this discussion. I too have been involved in the “Resurgence” as well as with other indigenous issues for many years. As we grow, stumble, work and challenge ourselves to reclaim what was belittled and lost over the years, there have been and are many bumps in the road. Yes, I have stories to tell both good and bad.
My perspective is that we are all part of a puzzle and don’t know who holds which pieces or how the pieces will eventually fit together. There are those of us who have always known we were Indios and Caribeños before the word “Taino” became associated with the movement. Some of us were looking for other like-minded individuals to share whatever it is we can.
There are many lost souls out in the diaspora (yes, there is a Caribbean diaspora) who are searching for roots and meaning in their lives. They may find their way to a reenactment group that gives a taste of something that speaks to their souls. Maybe it is just a dance, tattoo or jewelry that is enough for them to quench that thirst. For some, the quest for something deeper usually makes that individual look further into his/her own family traditions and other routes.
My philosophy has been to live and let the chips fall where they may. Only if there are clear signs that there is an agenda (hidden or clear) that can cause damage to the movement or individuals, then I have advised/warned others to be careful. Notice I didn’t say not to get involved, we each make those decisions on our own.
Over the years, I have met so many great individuals both within and outside the “resurgence”, sometimes the stuff of legends. I have been blessed that other native peoples have recognized me as indigenous without me having to show my “enrollment” card. The puzzle is becoming a wonderful tapestry that grows daily. I hope to see it in its full glory.
You know I have alway been aware of my idiginous ancestory. But never mentioned it. Unless some one would ask me if I was from south america. Or if I was half chinese. Then I would bring it up. You know thats why I respect puerto ricans alot. Cause you guys been in the movement for a long time. Even when poeple would accuse you guys of being crazy. The only dominican that I know that has been in the movement for many years too is Jorge Estevez. He is the only one that I know. I am sure there are more. But compare to PR's not that many.
I too have met North american indians. Who actually considered me one of there own. In person and on line. I think I posted a story of a pawhee indian who told me I looked exactly like his son. I was like what ever. Cause this indian and his wife were fool blooded indians. But when he pooled out his wallet and showed me the picture. I was stuned. It was like looking in a miror. Except the guy was a shade darker than me. I told them some taino history or the little that I knew. I told them I considered myself a mestizo. They told me I am indian and not to call myself that. I even had a mehica email me on a youtube account I have, who was very proud to see a person from the caribbean acknowlege his indigenous ancestory he to told me to stop calling myself mestizo. He told me mestizo and sambos are racist terms. We are indians.
You tell a indigenous person from north american, central and south america. Your indian they will accept it. You even tell white america your of indigenous deccent they too will accept. But it take more stenght to tell a a domincan, PR and cuban that you are taino. Regardless if they are indigenous or not they will laugh at you. So its still hard now. So I can imagine how hard it was in the begining.
I told the indian that I was not to crazy about the catholic religion. He told me dont worry about that. The great spirit runs in the veins of all indigenous people. I like that saying. So that is how I actually refer to god. As the great spirt. Regardless if is cheasy indian talk it just sounds better.
Hello Juan, I rarely get to write anything to you these days, even if I think I have kept pace with your messages on the network.
Your comment about mestizo above is really good, and it's one of those things that has me quite lost here in Canada where they have an official category of "aboriginal" called Metis, which as anyone might guess is the French equivalent of mestizo.
Many of these Metis people in northern Manitoba and elsewhere speak an aboriginal language -- Cree -- and still practice hunting and gathering. Their neighbours, that carry the label "First Nations" include a large number of mixed people, even white people who married into the reserve, and who might not speak any aboriginal language, and who might not practice old ways of subsistence. You see the irony.
I am sure your a busy man. Thanx for posting. Very intersting post.
Ironic indeed. But you know mestizo or zambo might be better for our movement than using the USA fabricated hispanic label. It would be a start.
You know the more I see north indians. I am starting to think that the so called mestizo may be more indian that mestizo. You know more than half. I dont want to make this into a looking indian thing. But I have a friend who had me do a self test. To check what type of skull I have. It end up my skull is of the mongloid race. My friend said if god forbid I died. My body decomposed beyond recongizition. Forensic would consider me a mongloid. Which native american is obviously a subtype of this true race. He did the self test and it was compleatly diffrent. He is of the caucasoid race. Which make sence since he is of german and irish decent.
Max question. So I take it that native americans from certain parts of canada also speak french?
One day when I was at work, I was speaking with a white Colombian woman in spanish who asked me what I was. I answered that I am Native. She asked me where my last name came from and I told her that my Great-Grandfather was a white man from Spain. She then told me, "You are no longer Indian, you're mixed". Annoyed as I was, I replied with something she didn't expect; Common Sense. I asked her "You know the cars known as Chevy and Ford?" to which she replied "Of course!". I told her "They are American cars, correct?". She said "I know". I said "Ford and Chevy are American cars, right?". She said "Yes". I said "You're sure???", she said "Of course!!!". I told her, "Guess what: Many parts for these cars come from as far as Germany and Japan, but yet you still define them as American, just like everyone else. Guess what: I am a Native American, or 'Indio', but part of my bloodline came from somewhere else." To that, she had no response. I hope this can help those people that wrestle with the "Indian" or "Mestizo" or the "Mixed-blood" identities. It can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be.