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What are your thoughts on federal recognition for the Taino people?

Why is this important or unimportant? What do you expect it to add to the Taino Nation as a whole?

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Thank you Ramon, for your response. The passion of your convictions comes through loud and clear. There are a couple of points you make that I would like to discuss...

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.

To me these are really interesting points you bring up and I would love to hear what you have to say about them in this other forum discussion.

With regards to federal recognition my question is related mostly to the political and social expectations that would come from being recognized as a sovereign nation by the United States.

I am still a proud Taino Woman and neither myself nor my family have any shame in stating it. The beauty of the matriarchs of my family is undeniable, wether we are federally recognized or not. My questions are:

Why is federal recognition important? How do you expect it to benefit us all as a people?

I look forward to further discussion... :)
Taino Ti

I would like federal recognition of the Taino people. Its what most Indian Nations strive for however I don't think we meet the criteria they have setup also The Taino people are not ready for it. We have to walk before we can run.
You can count on us, but who can count on you?

This year; 2010, every Taino Boriqua household had an opportunity to be recognized officially by the US Census.
Just as in 2000 (and past decades), every Taino household living within the US had a duty to recognize themselves within the US Census as "Taino".

The UCTP has established; as a principal declaration, an active Taino Census Registration Project.
If you have not already done your part in having your household recognized officially in a federal manner, than who do you expect to do this for you?

If we dont count on ourselves, who will count us?
Hello Roger... :)

This is the same comment you posted on the main page of the Progressive Movement for Taino Unity group. In the context of that group, your comment was a little confusing, it definitely makes more sense here. But my question is the same.

What does the UCTP Census Registration Project have to do with the 2010 US Census?

Fact is that the UCTP charges you $20.00 to participate in their census whereas the US Census Bureau doesn't charge for you to self-identify. As a matter of a fact, this self identification is a constitutional requirement, like you said "a duty"; It's the law.

If you have not already done your part in having your household recognized officially in a federal manner, than who do you expect to do this for you?

Neither the US Census nor the UCTP's name list are official recognition of a Taino person. The names the UCTP has listed, just like the information provided in the US Cesnus, are people self-identifying as Taino. Federal recognition and self-identification is not the same thing.

Thank you, Roger.
Takahi Ms. Pagan:

In response to your question, “What does the UCTP Census Registration Project have to do with the 2010 US Census?,” I offer the following.

The UCTP Taino Population Census and Inter-Tribal Registry is an indigenous initiative and necessary follow-up to the U.S. Census.

The U.S. Census is based on self-identification. The UCTP Registry, being notarized, is a legal affidavit. The two processes compliment each other and are important tools in promoting the recognition of Taino People.

I staunchly disagree with your assessment that U.S. Census is not official recognition of a Taino person.

While I am sure you can offer opinions to the contrary, ultimately it will be a matter for the courts to decide.

Good day,
Thank you Roger, for such a vehement response, however your definitions don't quite answer the question.

Yes, the UCTP's Census, it's list of notarized names, is an indigenous initiative.
The US Census is based on self-identification, yes. But so does the documentation notarized and collected by the UCTP. I might also add that a paper, once stamped and mailed via the Federal Offices of the US Postal Service, also becomes a legal affidavit. So these are two legal documents that basically say the same thing.

Although, as you say, ultimately the courts will be the ones to decide upon the matter of Taino federal recognition, we can still debate opinions. :) More often than not, my opinions are based on research, looking stuff up and finding out for myself as opposed to accepting what I'm being told. I'll be happy to provide references :)

The US Census is an official recognition of the self-identification of a person, this is true. However, an individual's self-identification does not supersede legal definitions. And unfortunately for us, the federal government has over 30 different definitions regarding the ethnic terms "Indian or American Indian" (Sharon O'Brien "Tribes and Indians: With Whom Does the United States Maintain a Relationship?" Notre Dame Law Review 66 (1991):1481) These definitions vary so much that a person could be tribally enrolled and even State recognized, but not qualify for a CDIB card nor any federal benefits and protections. Go figure!

Additionally, the Census works from definitions regulated by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the Executive Branch of government. In 1977, the US Census definition of "American Indian" was "A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America..." This limited identification to those Indians North of the border.

According to the last review I could find, (Oct 1997) the term "American Indian" was "modified to include the original peoples from Central and South America" as well.

Now, we know that federal recognition of indigenous people is limited to those within the jurisdiction of the United States of America. The US will not give federal recognition to a Mapuche or Guarani tribes from South America because those tribes are not within their borders. However, if a Mapuche or a Guarani are living in the US at the time of Census and self-identify as American Indian, they can fill the form out as such. Thus having a federal document stating their self-identification as American Indian while not having the federal recognition of their indigenous ethnic identity.

So, although I can only wonder about what will happen with federal recognition of Taino people, again I state, federal recognition and self-identification are not the same thing.

But getting back to the original topic, Roger, what is your opinion on federal recognition? Why is it important? What do you expect it to add to the Taino Nation as a whole?

This is a very old post,but a very important one still! I totally agree with Roger Guayakan, WE have the duty to put ourselves on the Census as"Taino"!  -WE have to PROMOTE it withing our own communities,or more if we can) We each need to educate those around us,and encourage them to consider themselves officially as"Taino",even if"primarilly Taino"! I fully accept my Spanish side,and I have studied a great deal about the ancient history of Iberia-it's quite a story indeed!---but I choose to IDENTIFY as "Taino",because I love it,and,the Taino side NEEDS TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED and ACCEPTED as a REALITY---we are NOT extinct,and our CULTURE has never been stamped out completely! So much has survived in countless ways,in our language,our customs,sayings,manners,objects,foods,personal and place (topographical)name,setc,etc

I think that Federal recogition should not only be for a particular Indigenous group but all the groups of the Americas because of the fact that we are the Aboriginal Peoples of the land/s.

Respectfully, the federal government only recognizes those Nations with whom they have signed treaties. It does not matter how large the Indigenous nation is, how organized it is. If at some point in the tribes past, the government wanted something from the Nation (like land) they recognized them and made treaties. 

This is why it is very rare that any nation gains federal recognition now, the government already has the land - they don't need anything from us.

Interestingly, the US government through the War Dept upon continuing the Spanish occupation under the guise of another flag, sent Taino men and women to the Carlisle indian School in Pennsylvania. Was that a mistake or recognition that there were "living and breathing Indians" on the island needing "civilizing!". My response to the actual topic, Does it matter what the conquerer defines of the people? It is flawed, to say the least, the conquerer gets to determine others' fate by controlling the minds of the conquered. The government edict writers know the extent of genocide comitted and to whom by which parties. The government doesn't want to recognize all the groups simply because it would have to reconsider the arbitrary border in the south, where relatives in the north have family across the border. This is ancestral lands. The same way Tainos are in Florida, traded in VA and northern  people like the Ojibwe traded with the Tainos. The US govt procured the lands of Boriken without the permission of its people and by the Jones Act kept those people from continuing with it's independence!  And there are those who claim to be Native and are recognized. Did you know there is a color code for recognition, not just quantum? Omabahari.

There were other immigrants that were sent to Carlisle Indian School - not because they were considered by the government to be "Indian" but because they did not know English, some of them were sent for an introduction to the language and culture. Attending Carlisle in no way implies that the government is recognizing someone as "Indian" There were non Indian immigrants that were sent there too.

Recognizing Tainos would not cause any change in the border of this country any more that Canada recognizing the Lakota people would change the southern Canadian border- that's not even a factor.

My point is, who needs the government to tell them who they are, and why spend such time chasing an elusive piece of paper? Federal recognition seems to me to be somewhat overrated anyway, and if your nation does not have a treaty with the gov, then you're not going to get recognition. But who cares if the Government knows who you are, it's more important that YOU know who you are.

I am of the same mind that I do not need to be told who I am, but here is my reasoning behind needing federal recognition.  Even today it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a non-recognized tribe to have the religious freedoms that most people take for granted.  Here is a prime example: this California tribe had their recognition stripped from them without even being at the table.  So now they want to perform a sacred coming of age ceremony for one of their women, are being ingnore because they no longer have that recognition.  Or the blocking of the Taino people access to the sacred ceremonial grounds of Caguana.  Is this a guarantee?  Nope, but the tribe has a little (and I mean a little) more clout.  Otherwise, unless an apocolypse happens, I doubt we will ever see recognition.  Especially since most people really do think we are extinct.  JMHO. 


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