Please realize that portions of this post were taken from another Network I am affiliated with and thus it may seem familiar to some. I have edited the appropriate portions for clarity's sake.
In browsing about through the internet and in speaking with certain individuals, it seems that the Taino Heritage Movement is for the most part limited to members of the Spanish speaking Caribbean. It is not as if we don't all share the same/similar history/ies. Why then are members from these Islands (Haiti and Jamaica) rarely if at all considered Taino ? Is it because they don't look Taino (if that's the case then most of us shouldn't either unless we're pure bloods.), because they use the term Arawak or is it because in some way shape or form we've adopted some strain of the Spanish casta mentality ?
Here is a website of a self identified Haitian Arawak : http://www.haitianarawak.com/main.php
Below is an image that if I recall correctly was listed as a Jamaican Arawak/Taino Woman:
(The direct link to the image does not allow for remote linking, so I posted the address for the full page.)
What about individuals in the Dominican Republic living in the southern portion of the Island who are Afro Taino ? Why don't many of us identify with them ? Why are they so under represented ? Why are Afro Indigenous people as a whole under represented ?
Just my 2 cents is all.
Here are some of my other random musings as related to the subject. ( I ask that people read through the whole text and not draw out through mental gymnastics supposed attacks on a given group.)
I believe that some having been exposed to this and or that influence somewhat display the casta mentality without realizing it. Sort of like, we're this kind of people and you lot are this kind of people. I've heard people within the movement make distinctions between Boricua and Taino. Yeah it sounds ironic, but people like that are out there. It is that whole Pureza de Sangre mess with a Taino spin.
I've noticed that when speaking about Taino Heritage movements, most groups circle out three main Islands, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic and Cuba. Interestingly some aren't inclusive of Jamaica and Haiti (who both share Indigenous names (although the name Haiti only came to be applied after the western portion of Quisqueya gained its independence. Interesting given the fact that if there had been no interaction between the African slaves and Taino, where did they learn the term haiti from ? Just something to ponder.
Given that this is a network directed at Taino Heritage, I figured it would be a good place to hear people's opinion on the subject.
Another thing that somewhat bugs me, and maybe this is the perfect medium to get it off my chest is the following. While I am cool with having feelings of brotherhood between members of other First Nation groups etc., it bothers me when we begin to appropriate histories that are foreign to us. In the sense that I am a Taino Africano Espanol,(I identify as a Noahite (and I have every right to do so, at least I believe I am entitled to believe as such) but in terms of Indigenous heritage I am Taino. I am not Hopi, I am not Maya I am not (take your pick), I am proud of the accomplishments of our people the Taino of Borinquen. I realize we had interaction with other groups, but at the end of the day when all was said and done my ancestors like every other Taino sat up in their hamaca while drinking Mabi (and probably scarfing down some Mamey (I'm the only one in my family who actually likes it, lol)). They were lulled to sleep by the sounds of coquis and mucaros and the sweet aroma of Dama de Noche (Cestrum nocturnum). Not to mention I am not taking into account Inter and Intra group variances among the Taino.
That is not to say that certain things may not be interchangeable to an extent (ie. a Teponaztli and a Mayohabao, similar head dresses,etc.), but not to the point where it feeds into the outsiders stereotype that all First Nation people are all the same.
On another note, I believe I should explain what I mean by Noahite.
I am not referring to the Noahide Laws.
I consider myself a Noahite in the sense that I am descended from the 3 sons of Noah. Perhaps I should rethink the term (given how confusing it can be in relation to the Noahide Laws), but it is more inclusive than Latino/Hispanic and rolls off the tongue faster than Taino Africano Espanol (hhhmmm... maybe Taifricanol or Noahitian).
Shem: Gave rise to the peoples of Asia and by extension the Americas (Asian sub group.).
Ham: Gave rise to the peoples of Africa.
Japheth: Gave rise to the peoples of Europe.
I'm not sure about the people of Australia, but I believe they might be of Shem.
While some don't accept my rendering of it within the movement (I'm considered a sell out for being Catholic (not sure how many people realize their are Byzantine and Oriental/Eastern Traditions within The Catholic Church that are not Latin Rite Catholicism.), I liken the fact that the family from which all nations are descended from (post flood) looked just like my own. I could see Noah's family being like a Puerto Rican family, different hair types, skin tones, etc. . Sure it doesn't hold much weight outside of my own world view, but I'm all about harmonizing all three parts of my identity.
Some people would be surprised to see that there are unsyncretized forms of First Nation Catholicism, but sadly with the Anglo Americanizing of North American culture in the 1800s (Just about the time of The Carlisle Indian Schools and The Sioux Ghost Dance movement), these were surpressed. I have a black and white photo of a Prayer Wampum used by some Catholic Algonquian and Iroquois in Canada. Its really interesting seeing something like that. Sadly we weren't as fortunate, but interestingly most if not all accounts we have about The Ancient Ones come from the accounts of Priests.
Not sure how many realize this, but the two brothers (Juan and Rodrigo de Hoyos) along with the African slave (Juan Moreno) who found the statue of La Caridad (de los Desamparados) del Cobre floating in the sea, were indigenous. So in all likelihood, they were either Taino, Ciboney or Guahanatabey. I only became cognizant of the fact when rereading the origin of how she arrived to Cuba. I've recently set about looking for an explanation as to why the two brothers are never depicted as Natives, but have yet to get an answer. I have a statue in my home of La Caridad del Cobre that my grandmother (may she RIP) salvaged. I am in the process of restoring the image (I've been doing so for a while) and perhaps will take it upon myself to restore their Indigenous faces.
Not sure how many realize this as well but Our Lady te Coatlaxopeuh (Who crushes the Serpent) (For all those who would think otherwise The Divine Icon of te Coatlaxopeuh is not Tonantzin.) and St.Cuauhtlatoatzin (Juan Diego) are both indigenous Saints along with Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and a host of other unmentioned Blesseds from North America.
Lastly how could I forget Puerto Rico's own Beato Charlie, who more than likely had Taino blood coursing through his veins.
Lastly, I'm not sure of the appearance of el campesino from La Virgen de Monserrate (the one of Hormigueros), but these are some of the big miracles that took place on our "little" Island.
Please realize that the portion explaining my use of the term Noahite was solely for clarification and is not the focus of my post. If anyone wishes to discuss its contents in an intelligent manner and one conducive to learning, I will gladly do so.