Jose Barreiro (Taino), Assistant Director of Research/Director of the Office for Latin America, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.- Cuba
- Roberto Borrero (Taino) , Community scholar and organizer, United Confederation of Taíno People, Puerto Rican Scholar, New York,
New York Puerto Rico
- Juan Manuel Delgado Colón, Historian, Centro de Estudios
Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe, University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
- Jorge Estévez, (Taino) Museum Program Specialist, National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center, Smithsonian Institution, New York, New York- Dominican Republic- Co-founder of Guabancex: Wind and Rain Society and founder of Grupos Higuayagua
Osvaldo García Goyco, Anthropologist/Archaeologist, University of Puerto Rico--Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Director Center for Anthropological Research, Jardín
Botánico y Cultural William Miranda Marín, Caguas, Puerto Rico
- Alejandro Hartmann Matos, Historian and Director of the Museo Matachín, Baracoa, Cuba
- Glenis Tavárez Maria, Archaeologist, Sub Director of the Museo del Hombre Dominicano, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Juan Carlos Martínez Cruzado, Biologist, University of Puerto Rico,
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
- Cynthia L. Vidaurri, Folklorist, National Museum of the
American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
- Jose Pedro Vega- Centro Leon- Dominican Republic
- Rachel Dominique Bouvois- Anthropologist, Voodoo Specialist- Haiti
- Lesley Gail Atkins- Anthropologist/Archaeology from Jamaica
- Joseph Palacio- Garifuna Scholar, Linguist and Archaeologist-
- Jose Antonio Garcia Molia- Historian- Cuba
- Dr. Lynne Guitar- Historian/ Anthropologist- United States/Dominican Republic
- Victor Siladi- Photographer-
Taino Art Collector- Peru/Dominican Republic
- Frank Moya Pons- Historian, Dominican Republic
- Soraya Serra-Collazo-Estudiante doctoral del CEAPRC
- Raphael Bido- Linguista- Republica Dominicana
SUMMARY OF WORKSHOP DISCUSSIONS
Gathering Knowledge Currents
on the Subject
Cuban indígenous, Caridad de los Indios
The history and overarching narrative of indigenous people extinction in the Caribbean, its meanings and definitions, assumed for the region by a wide range of scholarship, particularly
over the Twentieth Century, were analyzed in a roundtable discussion over two days. Methodological orientations and assumptions, as well as academic pressures, emerging from the now foundational nature of the extinction narrative, were explored. Conceptualizations
of the themes and topics of indigeneity in the Caribbean (and sometimes global and/or American hemispheric) were discussed in light of what Max Forte calls the "trope of extinction." The intent was to begin
with a discussion of indigeneity in the Greater Antilles, "beyond" the assertion of extinction, in order to survey and consider the contemporary manifestations of research that indicate continuities of indigeneity in the Caribbean. The group expands on scholarly
disciplines with Native epistemological frameworks for defining the processes of identity.
Indigeneity as Prism
Indigeneity: in the Americas, the quotient in the culture of a people that grounds contemporary thought and practice in the residual and sustaining knowledge demonstrated in behaviors and transmitted orally from the pre-Columbian
indigenous ancestors through the generations.
Indigeneity is defined here as identifying descriptor of that which survives of indigenous use and practice, thought and/or belief in the general population of
the Caribbean. It seeks to untangle the braid of "Taino Consciousness" as detectable in people and cultural trends and manifestations. Seeking clearly to perceive the inheritance from the pre-contact Taino (indigenous) ancestor culture, Indigeneity also recognizes
and intends to understand the adaptations of new and colonial practices by the early Taino-informed generations, which transfer into and inform the proto-guajiro or proto-jibaro mountain people. In this conceptualization indigeneity becomes the prism for study
of persistence of natural world uses and adaptations by indigenous peoples and other land-based peoples with particular attention to the thoughts and spiritual connotations inherent in those practices and accommodating the adaptations of cultural change and
influences from other peoples. It suggests the concept of indigeneity as a workable methodology in the approach to the study of continuities of indigenous thought and practice among American populations today.
Consciousness of Taíno
Participants also strongly endorsed the "consciousness of Taíno" approach to the topic. This is an important conceptual
consensus for a project that would contemporize an indigeneity quotient for the Caribbean world. We propose to perceive Taíno and indigenous survivals in the Caribbean through variety of prisms within the concept of "consciousness of Taíno."
Rather than focus centrality on "Taíno identity," which can translate as membership in a particular, exclusionary group, the theme and the message is about a "Consciousness of Taíno." As primary concept, this concept helps us purposely
avoid the focus of an "either-or," "indio/no-indio" dichotomy that often collapses this potentially transformative dialogue. "Consciousness of Taíno" is meant as a precise phrase in a conceptualization toward a space -- a meeting ground -- of
encompassing discussion on this long-avoided yet widely and deeply-attended subject.
Start with Hispanophone Countries
Participants reaffirmed the approach of initiating the work with scholars and materials specifically from among the three Spanish speaking countries -- Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba -- which have similar histories,
ethnic and linguistic origins. They all share the strongly institutionalized Spanish-African binary in the conceptualization of their national identities. Taíno inheritance in the Anglophone and Francophone countries of Jamaica and Haiti will be incorporated
in the second phase of the project. The initial comparatives on material and immaterial culture among scholars from the three countries had been long anticipated and yielded obvious but often "unseen" convergences. One discussion limited by last-minute cancellation
was on legacies of Taíno vocabulary in Caribbean Spanish. This is crucial work to conduct in phase two.
*Framing Early History
Conquest as coup d’état. In discussing what happened to Taíno at contact, the greatly aggressive dimension and speed of Spanish war tactics was focused. Conquest as coup d'état describes Spanish strategy
of decapitating the Taíno leadership and appropriating via inter-marriage and violence the lesser chieftainships and scattered caseríos. An understanding emerged that Spanish conquest resulted in the destruction of the large cacicazgos,
while smaller communities and camps survived. As historian Lynn Guitar has remarked, "If eighty to ninety percent died, what of the remaining ten to twenty percent?" Some of these surviving indigenous populations were gathered in townships (as prescribed by
Lascasian policy) at the end of the conquest period, in particular valleys and mountain ranges (this is true for the three countries represented). Other populations continued into monte adentro (deep forest) to avoid much direct contact for decades,
perhaps a century, more. Increasingly, historians are pointing to this long period of formative mestizaje that informed the daily living (vida cotidiana) of the blended families about the eco-systemic culture of place. One important large and well-preserved
village site at the new archeological site of Los Buchillones, Ciego de Avila, Cuba, gives direct evidence of 200 year Taíno adaptation to Spanish presence.
Taíno (in representation of Caribbean indigenousness) emerges from a civilizational common culture, very deep and abiding, with substantial natural world adaptation and
knowledge, productive agriculture, and a sophisticated cosmological thinking. This is increasingly studied and represented.
This common culture survived despite the decapitation and disarticulation of the
cacicazgos. In large part, though not exclusively, it survives among women's lines, from intermarriage (mestizaje), strong in the early years and through today. At places such as Caridad de los Indios, Cuba, this ethnic blending process continues.
In the three countries, the survival of discernable and place-identified indigenous populations lasted much longer than previously conceptualized, giving much more time for an extensive mestizaje -- biological
and even more so culturally -- to fix into the foundational culture of the three countries.
Historical accounts and contemporary ethnography point to this early intermarriage process, over two
centuries, as forming the proto-guajiro and proto-jibaro cultural base of the campesino sector of the Greater Antilles. This transformation time wherein indigenous consciousness of nature and place transcultured into a growing Iberian
and African population underwent a long period of relative isolation. It was not an overnight process but extended perhaps over two centuries and in some places of the islands (mountains, the eastern regions) to the present. As linguist Sergio Valdez Bernal
points out, that the indigenous transculturation period lasted over such a long period is evident in the large number of Taino words that transferred to the Caribbean Spanish. Independent (fronterizo) Iberians (Isleños Canarios, Andaluces and
Gallegos in particular) married Taíno women; Africans escaped to Taíno palenques; there was a culture and there is still a populational inheritance of this early blending among isolated caseríos and small communities
of the sierras. There are still isolated areas, communities, families in all three of the islands, studied and documented, who sustained strong elements of indigenous (indio) identity and an in-situ, mostly eco-systemic way of life. Both
the Iberian campesino and the African nation person brought depth of cultural and practical knowledge adaptable to eco-systemic domestic and plantation modes of production.
There were also many indios
who adapted and incorporated into colonial society. "Indian as worker" - in the mines, in the cattle, in the agriculture, as house servants, as "doctor," as piano teacher -- also interwove the aboriginal ethnicity into early Caribbean society.
Important terms (and signifiers) such as "guajiro," "jibaro," "cimarron," "maroon," "creole," and others will be investigated and delineated. There was agreement that particularly "guajiro
and jibaro" were significant historical and cultural identity markers for Cuba and Puerto Rico, deeply rooted in the human-land primary nexus. Both of these terms describe the independent campesino or land-based peasant as well as a type of cultural and racial
blending in natural world eco-systemic (country homestead) practices and in the popular imagination. Las Casas reports the etymology of "guajiro" in "guaoxoerí," used by Taino to denote an honorific title of a class among the people. This origin is
also suggested by linguists and oral tradition. Guajiro as associated with "primitive" naturales on the land remained in popular use through the 19th Century.
In a historically important book, first published in 1844 after an extended trip through the island of Cuba, Condesa de Merlin noted the existence of the Cuban guajiro people (Condesa de Merlin, “Viaje
a la Habana,” La Habana, 1922, p. 201.). Writes Merlin, “el guajiro prefiere vivir con poco con tal de vivir con libertad.” Y “[El guajiro] conserva algunas de las inclinaciones de la Antigua raza India; planta sus penates en
el sitio que mas le agrada, como el pajaro su nido en los arboles, y su habitacion esta todavia modelada por la cabaña primitiva (bohio) de los indígenas.” Merlin, p. 80-81 Translation: “the guajiro prefers to live with little
as long as he can live in liberty.” And “[the guajiro] conserves still the inclinations of the ancient Indian race; he plants his penates (idols) at the site that most pleases him, as the bird his nest in the trees, and his house is still today
modeled on the primitive cabin (bohio) of the indigenous.”
Jibaro as used in Puerto Rico finds this definition in the online dictionary, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/jibaro
ji·ba·ro n. pl. ji·ba·ros 1. A rural inhabitant of Puerto Rico. 2. The country music of Puerto Rico. [American Spanish jíbaro, possibly from Taino siba, stone.]
The term is deeply rooted and a strong marker of identification with the island as motherland. The countryman yeoman or mestizo farmer mountains culture necessarily holds interesting blended elements
of indigeneity that are worthy of new study.
Another such term, Cimarrón, in the Greater Antilles and throughout the Caribbean, has roots in the palenques or rebel communities
that blended Indians and Africans in the late conquest and early colonial period. Descendant populations from situations and areas of cimarronaje, as well as Marroons in Jamaica, Suriname and elsewhere sustain links to Taino rootedness and a strong quotient
of indigeneity. Arrom proposes a Taino origin to the word Cimarrón. (Arrom 2005, De Donde Crecen las Palmas, La Habana)
*Economic Forces Played a
Central Role, Indians Adapted
Mercantile society, one with all the strong centralizing tendencies inherent in capital production, was imposed on the Taíno world and on the rest of the Americas.
It was a complex process. Gold mining, a particularly brutal activity, is perhaps overstated in the history. There was also a long period of Indians in agriculture, particularly highly lucrative yucca (Manihot esculenta) production. In Puerto Rico, the majority
of Taíno worked in yucca production. Taíno were pressed for service, labor, horribly overworked, resulting in decimation but also continued survival up to the time of emancipation granted by the 1542 "New Laws
of the Indies for the Good Treatment and Preservation of the Indians." The "pueblos de indios," scattered guajiro homesteads, the frontier movement to more in-monte camps, ensured long periods of isolation - in mountains and remote coastal
areas, wide plains areas. The isolation was greatly disrupted during the independence wars and civil wars, and by the modernization and ex-humanization of agricultural production and intense urbanization in the 20th Century. Still today, yucca consumption,
including the Taíno tort, casabe, is prevalent in the three countries.
While no claim to "full-bloodedness" or so-called purity of blood is inferred in the new reading of the history, the sense of much longer sustained indigenous cultural foundationality merits closer attention. The context of public identification with
indigenous, indio, or Taíno aboriginality is more understandable as the study of this phenomenon in the Greater Antilles incorporates more actualized research prisms on tribal identity and ethnic continuities.
• One prism seeks indigeneity in the nexus of humankind and the land. This is an important avenue of exploration in this topic. The generosity of agricultural and forested
lands, the success and persistence of the early "conuco" agriculture. The great connection to the land of the Caribbean small agriculturalists and the persistence of indigeneity among "guajiro," "jibaro" o "indio" campesino populations is a recommended and
encouraged subject of ethnographic study.
The early chronicles give us the tale of Guarionex and his spurned offer to the Columbus brothers, to plant a "big plantation, 20 leagues by
80 leagues, to feed all the Castillians and even all of Castille." Guarionex only wanted in return that the Spanish quit torturing and killing his people over their lust for gold. They did not.
The person of the "behique," or medicine man/shaman and the great and surviving repertoire of medicinal plant use, is of great interest. Plants in use by indigenous Caribbean with sustained use to the present are of particular importance. The practice
of curanderismo, with attention to the custom of requesting "permission" from the spirit of the medicimal plant, is of great interest.
The Ceremony of the Cohoba, its accoutrements
and relevance to the reading of iconography, is an early rituality of communications with cemi (deities) including ancestors. A path to higher consciousness among Taino behiques included the ceremony of the hallucinogenic plant, cohoba (Anadenanthera colubrina).
Our exhibition in an important sense is a call to communicate with (to comprehend) the Taino ancestors, millinery progenitors of humanity in the islands.
Linkage of present-day agricultural practice and the deity
of Yucahuguama Bagua Maorocoti is possible. Represented by the tri-cornered stone cemis found throughout the Caribbean and identifiable with eternity, the sea and most importantly, with renewal in agriculture, he is intimately associated with the unifying
food crop of the Greater Antilles, which is the manioc, or yucca (Manihot esculenta). Yucca or manioc is one of the three great food gifts of the Native Americas to the world (others are corn and potato). Its elaboration as casabe, the Taino tort
that greeted Columbus, has persisted and is a marker of culinary identity for many caribeños. This major gift of American Indian agriculture feeds 500 million people globally and has multiple industrial and commercial uses. Extended material
culture in collections provides instruments such as the guayo, buren, the batea, etc. Ethnographically, oral testimony shows persistence of custom to bury tri-cornered small stones or "shark's teeth" in planted fields for more fecund yield.
• Tobacco is a plant element so important that it is in fact a complex to itself. A path to ceremony and connection to the
Creator was and is considered opened by the smoke of the "tobacco," and this too has great exhibit potential because of the deep traditions of this crop in the three countries. There is contemporary ceremony. There is archeological material in our collections
reflecting tobacco. There is intriguing and revelatory iconography and archeological material throughout the centuries connecting consciousness of Taino with tobacco.
important value of the workshop involved the initial sharing of ethnographic work done by guest scholars among mountain and plains guajiro populations in Cuba with decades of similar original ethnographic work in Puerto Rico's Indieras districts of Maricao
municipality, and with survey presentations of indigenous material and Taíno-derived/connected intangible and tangible culture in the Dominican Republic. In particular, these presentations provided the core of what is perhaps the most concentrated information
gathered on the intent to detect and discern indigeneity in the oral and nature-practical living traditions and activities of contemporary populations in the three countries targeted to initiate the discussion of Taíno consciousness.
Scholars confirmed that in Cuba, there is one significant, well-documented, "in-situ" indo-descendant community and several others less documented. This main community is subject of consistent historical
and ethnographic comment and research. It is a sui-generis population that sustains many agricultural and herbal practices, traditional World-alive (so-called animistic) spiritual lifeways and orations, music and social organizational frameworks of substantial
autochthonous quality. Additional study has been undertaken on practices, beliefs and adaptations of the "guajiro" -- small farmer, peasant or yeoman -- of the Cuban countryside and mountains. Nevertheless, as the study of Cuban indigenous people has been
largely limited to theorizing from archeological research, this material has been sparingly if at all seen from the context of an applied gauge or quotient of indigeneity. It is suggested here that intense research in Cuba, particularly in the eastern
plains and mountains of Camagüey and old Oriente, is turning up and will continue to reveal most interesting persistence and adaptability of indigenous knowledge, not only among actual and recognized descendants of the indigenous population of the region,
but more expansively among "guajiro" families and even among urban folks, who may or may not be biological inheritors but who are at least in part cultural inheritors from the indigenous originals. For most of Cuba, this aboriginal root would be the traceable
to the indigenous peoples commonly referred to as Taino, linguistic and cultural relatives of tribal nations throughout the Greater Antilles.
Participating scholars initiated a correlation of practices as
found throughout other monte or campo (forest-countryside) populations in Cuba, Quisqueya (Dominican Republic) and Borinquén (Puerto Rico). Significantly, the foundational similarities among the three countries -- including many agricultural
and herbal practices, housing styles, language markers and important currents of both popular imagination and social polemic -- are found in their common indigeneity, with some practices actually linkable to early-described Taíno cosmological complex.
In the next research phase of the Caribbean Indigenous Legacies project comparative studies need to be gathered and generated across the Caribbean islands on the heritage of Taino in the:
1. Sustenance of
the agricultural complex of the yucca (manioc or mandioca), particularly as part of the elaboration, processing and production of the Taino tort, casabe. Places, methods and intensity of production, identity of the people and their consciousness of the Taino,
indigenous past. Manifestations of Caribbean indigeneity in the related populations (legends of jigue or other such tales), nature spiritism, sense of reciprocity with "el mundo."
study of natural world uses and adaptations and the thoughts and spiritual connotations inherent in those practices should be more intensely re-examined through the prism of indigeneity. A workable methodology suggested in the approach to the study of continuities
of indigenous thought and practice among Caribbean populations today is found in the concept indigeneity. We suggest indigeneity for extending the restrictive anthropological definitions of what constitutes an "indigenous people," to a potential measure in
all populations that sustain its practice, despite biological origins.
2. Sustenance of herbal practice and the continuation of use of endemic herbals linkable with literature and biological studies on Taino
medicinal knowledge and use. This is most important and potentially rich area of study. It needs a dedicated area expert. Ethnographic work parallels on manifestations of "world alive" or so-called animistic concept, particularly adaptations of connective
ceremony to Sun, Moon, Earth, Wind, Four Directions, Plant life, Indio-Cave complex, ancestor spirits.
3. Taino and/or Indio commissions of healing spirits and other connective fields of respect within Afro-Caribbean
Religious manifestations throughout the whole Caribbean. This is an extremely rich area of study. In Cuba, author Jose Antonio Garcia has documented the blended traditions among Afro-descendants and Indio-descendants in the Sierra oriental. This is an area
requiring very intense attention as we expand into areas of Haiti and Jamaica, and also Dominica Carib and Garifuna populations.
4. The sustaining of Taino vernacular architecture in the rural "bohio" or house
of palm tree and palm thatch, particularly as primary residence or home. This is appreciable throughout the Caribbean. Ritualistic, cultural and practical knowledge on its construction and eco-systemic nature of its material elements make the still highly
appreciated bohio a focus of research for comparative purposes.
5. A major survey with comparative elements of Smithsonian and related collections of Taino archeological material, focus on message-bearing
iconography, particularly that projecting cosmological / ideological concept or story. Metaphoric discernment of Taino narratives in the material trail.
6. A place names map of Taino toponymy over the
Greater Antilles. This is a task for a senior linguist and two or three linguists in training and to compile. Similarly, detail flora and fauna primarily known by their Taino-derived names. Finally incorporate the largest language recovery file available.
*Ancestral Mind of the Taíno Caciques: Messages in Elements
The messaging in the Taíno archeological
and iconographic record is of high interest and importantly undergirds the exhibition. This messaging speaks to cosmological origins and ancestral consciousness. This discussion benefited greatly from the participation of Dra. Glenis Tavárez Maria
(Museo del Hombre Dominicano, Dominican Republic), who provided a clear overview of Taino in the archeology and the popular culture. Dr. Osvaldo Garcia Goyco, whose interpretive work on Taíno iconography focuses archeological pieces as well as contemporary
arts and crafts. Garcia Goyco has traced the migrational legacy of the iconography from South America to the Caribbean and further identifies cosmologies and personalities of the Taíno pantheon.
Taíno creation stories, recorded by Friar Ramon Pané (1495-96), were astutely deciphered by Dr. José Juan Arrom (1975) in correspondence with important Caribbean pieces in Smithsonian and other museums. This deciphering continues as the
material record is interpreted by the new generation of archeologists and artists. The Taíno Creation, in large measure, is thus presentable through excellent archeological pieces. The National Museum of the American Indian has a substantial and
yet not quite complete collection of Antillean pieces for the purposes of this exhibition. National Museum of Natural History can complement nicely and collections in the Caribbean and France are worth contemplating.
Garcia Goyco is also among a group of archeologists also deciphering phosphenes in the iconography, of which eleven have been identified for the Taíno record. Of particular interest
in our exhibition project is the phosphene identified as an “impregnated uterus" (útero fecundado), which has ample representation in ceramics and petroplyphs associated with Taíno, and which Garcia Goyco has analyzed gracefully.
This archeological work on collections, which expands significantly in phase two, informs the messages and personalities of the Taíno mythological world as well as the uniquely anticipated exhibition thematic,
"The Taíno Grandmothers," which describes the incidence of intense early biological and cultural mestizaje identified in the historical record and also reflected in ongoing genetics research.
*Taíno DNA Trails
The Taíno Grandmothers thematic dovetails finely with the message inherent in the genetic research of Dr. Juan Martínez Cruzado. Martínez
Cruzado has opened a new field of interpretation of Caribbean indigenous biological survivals, as his work surfaces a range of new information on women's lines in many locales of the islands.
In his study of Puerto
Rican genetics, Dr. Martínez sought primarily to understand the pre- Columbian migrations to the Antilles that gave rise to the Taínos. His work used Mitochondrial DNA technology (mtDNA) to determine ancient migrations behind contemporary populations.
Martínez's study determined that a representative sample of the Puerto Rican population marked 61.1% had mtDNA of indigenous origin, 26.4% had mtDNA of African origin south of the Sahara, and 12.5% had mtDNA of Caucasian origin."
Dr. Martínez' Taíno genome work speaks to an incontrovertible fact-pattern of intense early intermarriage, research that underlies a section of
the exhibit on the topic of "OUR TAÍNO GRANDMOTHERS ..." The exhibition will tell this very instructive story about the intriguing and dependable research on the genome of the Caribbean islands -- with creative graphic storytelling. In poetic
conception the DNA trail is the language of the blood and the record of the Caribbean population's biological connection with the indigenous ancestors.
"Using the population information from the 1990 Census as well as a computer model, we randomly chose 1,067 residences in order to match the population density across Puerto Rico; therefore, these
residences constituted a genuine representative sample of all of Puerto Rico’s residences. Equally, one adult within each one of these residences that was inhabited was randomly chosen to guarantee the representation of our sample. Of those 1,067 residences,
985 were inhabited. Of the 985 inhabited residences, we could contact a selected adult in 875 of them. In exactly 800 of these 875 cases, the adults agreed to give us some samples of their hair roots in order to study their mtDNA. That is to say, 800 of the
985 selected adults (81.2%) participated in the study, and we could be satisfied that the 800 participants constituted a representative sample of the Puerto Rican population. Of the 800 participants, 489 (61.1%) had mtDNA of indigenous origin, 211 (26.4%)
had mtDNA of African origin south of the Sahara, and exactly 100 (12.5%) had mtDNA of Caucasian origin."
Martínez Cruzado, Juan C. (2002). The Use of Mitochondrial DNA to Discover
Pre- Columbian Migrations to the Caribbean: Results for Puerto Rico and Expectations for the Dominican Republic. KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology [On-line Journal], Special Issue, Lynne Guitar, Ed. Available at:
* Argumentation of Extinction
general sense in the Academy that Indigenous extinction is the sole historical reality has been the point of departure for nearly all research on Caribbean indigenous topics. Often-cited example is Fernando Ortiz, the Cuban erudite, signaled as the model
proponent of the extinction thesis as unquestionable in all its parts. Ortiz is paramount social scientist of Cuban culture, including indigenous cultural studies. Ortiz represents, with great influence, the metropolitan nature of Cuban and other Caribbean
letters in the mid 20th Century. Ortiz is essential in Cuban letters and keen in his positioning of national identity revitalization. Still, his anthropological positioning is rooted in the best of the discipline nearly a century ago. Popular mythology, cultural
identity and social glue evolves and new manifestations of culture challenge earlier conceptions and suggest other prisms of study. As genial as it was, the research reach of the era suffered distance from some living populations, particularly of the deep
Eastern monte. As well, it applied a rigid set of markers that perhaps limit the study of indigeneity in a population to an unnecessarily strict definition. The implication for the academy, generally, is immediate denial of "authentic indigenousness" if any
African or European derived aspects are interwoven. The "One drop" criteria that disqualifies Indian identity upon any adaptation or intermarriage is evident.
markers for this type of study are now evolving. The intent of Indigenous Legacy and "Consciousness of Taíno" is to bring a more acute discernment to the study of indigeneity in the Caribbean and generally. The core working group agrees to work from
a deep commitment to understanding the phenomenon in all its manifestations. The research direction at Workshop One posits away from the limited assumptions of the "Bell Jar" theory, which sees too rapid a loss of "authenticity" with any grafting or
new manifestations coming into an indigenous culture, whether biologically or technologically. This limiting notion, which has carried the day, feeds the assumption of extinction; the workshop explores instead how the sustaining notion of rooted cultures,
indigenous woven among them, is stronger and more adaptable than has been assumed, clinging in diverse ways in the minds and bodies of subsequent populations, no matter how changed by history and trans-culturation.
*The question of land and ownership
In considering the restrictive definitions of indigenous identity for Caribbean populations, political forces and agendas over time merit
attention. Indians achieved emancipation in the mid-1550s and had a degree of recognition over particular lands through the 17th and 18th Century. Identifiable caciques appear in land claims documents before audiencias in eastern Cuba through the
early 19th Century. As recently as the mid-1940s, a Cuban cacique was recorded "running off" a land surveyor pretending to measure their lands. (Antonio Nuñez Jimenez, 1945). Writes Núñez, on his expedition along the Toa River, in 1945,
"For the 3000 Indians from Yateras that survived, the refuge of these mountain is all they have left...it is a curious thing that they all have the same last names: Rojas and Ramírez...” Núñez relates an interview with the cacique,
Celestino Rojas, who had recently scared off from the mountains an engineer attempting to survey lands in Indian territory. In, "El Pico Turquino, Exploración y Estudio," Sociedad Espeleológica de Cuba, Habana, 1945, p 37, Núñez
writes on the foothills running along the coasts of the Turquino Peak that "these are almost all inhabited by the descendants of Cuban Indians, from which they still keep part of their primitivism.”
agenda through the colony was to diminish the Indian legitimacy in relation to land ownership. Pure-bloodedness, rather than lineage, predominated in defining the indio identity. Still, evidence of sustained existence can be found in church records
into the late 19th century. In other cases, Indio-African mestizaje could result in declaring any degree of African lineage (blood) as susceptible to enslavement. These "diminishment" mentalities persisted over centuries in the face of realities on
the ground but came to dominate the discourse. The complex and rich history of ethnic and cultural blending, from the early turbulent times through the long periods of isolated existence, the very transculturation process, forged "becoming" and also continuing
identities -- of various degrees of indigeneity. Early on in palenques of cimarrones, and through centuries of proximity, Taino-African intermarriage was substantial. The discernable respect and appreciation for the "Indian presence" in Caribbean African identifications
will be pursued. Vodún, Palo Alto, Santeria, Danza del Cordon, also daily adoration ceremonies to the Sun and monthly to the Moon, are practices manifested among Afro-Cuban families from Oriente. These are among the important continuities of Indian
identity and sits clearly in the Afro-Caribbean bases.
While realistically the original Amerindian Caribbean genome diffused over waves of new migrations, nevertheless, demonstrably, a "trunk," foundational
social construct (with corresponding DNA trail) is evidenced to have remained.
As well a historically evolving indio or guajiro or jibaro homestead lifestyle is identifiable in the three
countries, as the bohio, batey or caserio characteristic of the Caribbean sierra communities. Good documentation, to be tabled beyond the range of this report, starts to gather.
Always the question of indigeneity persists. Can and does indigeneity survive in the
social-cultural context, even if certain practices or beliefs overlap and transcend specificity to the pre-Columbian Taíno, say with interwoven roots in African or Hispano traditions or technologies, rather than Taíno-specific? Is research
limited to outmoded expectations of physiognomic standard, or the expectation of "primitivistic" cultural appearance, or to be dismissed if engaging a linguistically altered population? Expectations of "the feathered primitive" often obscure the more
properly anticipated campesino or domestic homestead culture. This blended (cruzao) campesino culture remounts back to the early history of Indian/Spanish/African homestead adaptation to the long term and changing environment of the conquest, colony
and early independence times. The thrust is not simply to "identify" or "certify" indigenous people, or even Taíno. Intent is to deepen exploration to "consciousness of..." Taíno or indigenous -- again, indigeneity -- as its can
be seen to not only sprinkle a few drops of remembrance in the national psyches but in fact it is an indigeneity that can be seen to weave into and through a whole culture, from its most deeply driven roots in the land, through a period of cultural and nature-derived,
woman-mother derived indianización of the newcomer settlers (initially and substantially from Spain and Europe and from Africa). (See analogously, Felix Cohen, "Americanizing the White Man.")
Indigeneity: in the Americas, the quotient in the culture of a people that grounds contemporary thought and practice in the residual and sustaining knowledge demonstrated in behaviors and transmitted orally from the pre-Columbian
indigenous ancestors through the generations.
Many questions remain unanswered on the presence of cultural expressions in contemporary populations: Where tobacco? Where four-directionality? Where jigue
stories? Where yuca, casabe, boniato? Where the use of palm? Where bohio? Where the ceremony to Sun and Moon? Where the cult of Mother Earth? Where the legends of Hatuey or Enriquillo? Where Itiba Cohubaba in the Cult of the Virgin
of Copper? Where Agueybanax? Where Anacaona? Where the Luz de Yara? Where the cueva del indio (Indian caves) in the regional mythologies? Where the "commissions" of Indian healing spirits that inhabit the ceremonies of babalaos and
santeros? Where World Alive?
Indigenous legacies are culturally interlaced, so how is indigenous identifiable? By what markers is indigeneity identifiable?
*Invisibility and Integration
Invisibility and Integration into larger cultural identities, assimilation, trans-culturation,
and acculturation limit easy accessible viewing of cultures and identities. One must look for the sustaining sense of identity hidden from view. Taíno descendant (Patana), Pedro Cobas describes this phenomenon, "As indios, we are as with
fish in a cooler, eyes wide open without seeing."
When exploring Caribbean indigenous presence and identity, examining the layers of culture is useful. Not only blended and not so much divisible, we look
for detectable layers of indigenous identity in varieties groups or ancestral linkages of families of long-term inhabitation. These layerings can be seen in old Camagüey or Guantanamo-Santiago families, with roots in early colony and subsequent centuries,
and in communities that played distinguishable roles at various points of Cuban history. Likewise, these direct linkages can be seen in the stories of the Hatuey Regiment, fighting in the Cuban War of Independence (Spanish-American War) of 1895-98.
This particular story of the Hatuey Regiment, (Ladislao Ramirez) a fighting troop made up principally by Indios de Yateras, operating as a discernible player in the highly interesting Cuban War of Independence (prequel
to the Spanish American War) figures among highly suggested narratives of fresh and tantalizing historical interest, for which interesting ethnographic material can be gathered. The Hatuey Regiment story gathers several primordial elements of a major Cuban
(and Haitian) foundational story that sustains to the present day. Hatuey, the sacrificed Caribbean consciousness, is central icon continually renewed in the population, in civic and ceremonial and oral remembrance, as well as widespread representation in
the popular culture. Commensurate examples of Taino or indigenous historical and culture heroes are identifiable for Dominican Republic-Haiti and from Puerto Rico. (Ie., Enriquillo, Anacaona, Agueybanax; the Guarionex story, others).
* Continuity of Identity and Resurgence
Much of the performed and suggested research encompasses work with participants
and cultural currents in the Taino resurgence movement, which emerges about 30 years ago in both the diaspora and the islands. This widespread and surprisingly grounded movement has high visibility in media and international arena.
UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES AND METHODOLOGICAL STRATEGIES THAT INFORM THE PROJECT
discussions revealed a shared, if not previously expressed, body of underlying principles that have guided individual research and highlighted methodological strategies that serve the research objectives.
"Being Indian is not being PART something; it’s being part OF something.” Culture over blood; ethnicity and personal identity over physiognomy or race.
- Respect and consider as a valid assertion the self-ascription of community members as indigenous or Taíno. Pursue the work to determine field of documentation that can correspond oral narrative.
- Recognize that "Consciousness of Taíno" is found in a wide variety of degrees, forms, expressions, and regional reflections. Of high interest is the incidence if in-situ agricultural families, where farming and medicinal herbal practices are
always worth documenting. Primary interaction with gardens and other natural or domestic mode of production from the earth. Mountain guajiro and jibaro pobladores in selected communities.
- Contemporary presence
of indigeneity is expressed in continuity and resurgence of extended family, group-based cultural network; also widely expressed in the popular culture.
- Recognize that contemporary Taino activism is not simply
circumstantial; it rises from the human need to be recognized in one’s own terms; it is conducting an appreciable networking (re-tribalization) process coupled to savvy international projection.
and self-awareness is a pedagogical process—people are liberated when they are educated/enlightened. There is work on cofusion, shame and self-blame among Dominican and Puerto Rica youth seeking to understand their identity
- Our work’s primary philosophical goal goes beyond the act of preservation of Caribbean Indigenous culture; it is openly intended to stimulate its exploration and endurance.
A combination of disciplines is needed to tell this story including history, indigenous studies, anthropology, archaeology, folklore, popular culture studies, and sociology
- The work must be done in significant partnership with in-situ communities and their members
- The work must build from community-grounded
definitions as corresponded by rigorous research and documentation
- We must be prepared for a significant re-evaluation of historical documents and other accepted evidence on which
myth of extinction has been built
- As a process of the exhibition, we must demonstrate recuperation of culture but also show cultural losses as these have been in part ignored
- Hold on to abundances more than scarcities
- As part of the project’s work, we must reflect on the process of how the intellectual framework
The Caribbean Indigenous Legacies Project research has implications beyond the creation of
museum products. The project and research methodologies create and offer alternative optics that appear to contrast with paradigms that have historically framed research on this topic. This is perhaps not as posited as it is assumed. As the proposed
paradigm of approach to the subject is widely encompassing, a considerable base of academic support is more likely. Understanding the implications of countering an Academy-accepted posture, serious discussions were had about research objectives. Workshop
participants said CILP research should:
Break concepts, particularly
racialist, that have historically been utilized in the academy, public education, and national / nationalistic agendas
- Define what can be understood about extinction. This is
an ongoing exercise
- Create research approaches that allow for each community to have its own history within the research conceptual framework
- Seed a larger discussion on how to approach the removal of stigma associated with indigenous identity in Latin America
- Reflect on how
this work can impact the understanding of Latin American mestizaje
- Redefine what it means to be indigenous in the Caribbean
- Evolve the concept of indigeneity to more comprehensively frame the issue.
SUGGESTED NEEDED RESEARCH
Workshop discussions helped identify significant areas of research to be considered for new or additional research, or for further discussion sessions. Beyond the topics identified in comparative
form above, these research areas are suggested as helpful in the development of the final exhibition.
1. Documentation of agricultural practice of the conuco and of practices of medicinal herbal use, including the Ceremony of Tobacco and the Ceremony of Permission for Gathering Plants (Caridad de los Indios, Cuba)
2. Comparative analysis between three islands on several research topics (as per above)
3. Study and collection of contemporary ethnographic materials on all three islands
4. Study of the actual effects and affects on the creation of the islands' foundational culture in the increasingly recognized longer period of primary contact and
mestizaje with substantial Indian populations
5. Deepening the documentation of reflections
in contemporary Taíno art, and the imaging of Taíno thematics in public communication fields
6. Study of Taíno and Indio presence in Afro-Caribbean religious traditions
Study Indio legacy in contemporary mestizo religious practice of the Danza del Cordón, spiritist tradition in Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico;
8. Study of Taíno themes in tourism development; study of pictographic (arte rupestre) record as pictorial literature and reporting of the ancestral Taíno mind and scenes of the
encounter with Spanish
9. Full workshop session with several linguists studying Taíno legacy in
contemporary Caribbean languages
10. Further research on Taíno in the diasporas, manifestations
and implications of international presence and of other indigenous peoples into the Caribbean islands (Pow Wow in St. Vincent, for instance)
11. Study on constant projection of the indio or Taíno or Ciboney or Carib, etc. in political and literary discourse, its historicity, new research on its 19th century exponents, its contemporary reflections
12. Study of identity formation relative to indigeneity.
In addition to the exhibition, related ancillary products were proposed. These
include but are not limited to:
The catalog will be a serious and reasonably hefty publication that follows themes and sections projected for the exhibition. "Consciousness of Taino: A Caribbean Indigeneity," will project excellent photography and visual arts. The present group of
scholars and others will be asked for essays that coalesce around the themes of the exhibition
Edited volume of articles.
"Caribbean Indigenous: A Reader" on the present themes will be compiled this year, composed of some 16 articles, including the classical and often-cited pieces from the 19th and 20th Centuries. This volume is to be
edited for Web site and/or print publication. It will be the first of its kind volume for the Caribbean.
Edited book of ethno-biographical narrative.
"Cuban Cacique: Mountain Indigenous Orality," is a first of its kind book and already a foundational document after the exhaustion of its limited, Cuban edition.
- Public programs that include presentations by Taíno and Arahuaco groups.
- Symposiums, brown bags, guest lectures, etc.
- Educational materials that bridge the early encounter citations with contemporary identity theme.
- Family activities
- Publication and sound recording of oral histories, events and ceremonial gatherings.
- Docent training materials
- Web products
EXHIBITION CONCEPT AND MESSAGING
Already with the first workshop, the exhibition picks up pertinent concepts and messaging. This is a work in progress
through this year. The quote from Caribbeanist maestro, Jose Juan Arrom, is key: "The Taíno is in us, amongst us and around us." It brings to the fore the many elements that provide evidence of that continuity, from the
archeological and historical and ethnocultural, to the popular arts and practice, and the popular imagination. The exhibition asks the questions: If Taino was extinct so early in our process, why does it persist so? What about it calls us? What about it defines
us? Who Were the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean? What was important in their world? How did they see and interact with the world?
Simply put, the exhibition looks at who the Caribbean indigenous
peoples were and are; and what ways persist in the legacy of the Caribbean's Taíno ancestors.
THE EXHIBITION EXPERIENCE
The Caribbean Indigenous Legacies project not only seeks to create an exhibit that relatively unknown topic; it seeks to develop new interpretive strategies and devices. The exhibition
Present original ideas and research
Create an immersive experience for the visitor
- Provide text in easily accessible language; with minimal use of academic jargon
- Provide emotive testimonials
- Utilize lighting to create dynamic perceptions and experiences in
the exhibition spaces
- Utilize senses of sound and smell to evoke spaces
Create a sense of a geographic space
- Interpret key spaces such as sacred caves or mountains through exhibition builds, photomurals, and video clips
so that exhibition viewers feel like they’ve entered these spaces
- Interpret the natural environment as sacred and spiritual
- Highlight sacred spaces and not rely exclusively on objects
- Interpretive thematic areas will reflect the ancestral and contemporary
in ways that play with the concept of time.
- Replace conventional cases with other modes of exhibiting or installations
PRELIMINARY EXHIBITION TREATMENT
This preliminary treatment begins to flesh out possible thematic
areas and how they will be applied in the exhibition. Not all sections of the treatment have been completed for each thematic area. Further fleshing out of these items will come from subsequent workshops and consultations.
* Thematic Area 1: COSMOLOGY & SYMBOLS
A cohesive story can be told about the Taíno cosmology found in
the classic pieces among the various collections available. The Taíno deities, including Deminan, Itiba Cahubaba, Boinayel, Iguanaboina, Guabancex, others, are interestingly identifiable in the archeological record particularly as noted by Ramón
Pané, in his "Antiquities of the Indians," commissioned by Christopher Columbus in 1493-94. José Juan Arrom deciphered clues in these pieces with keen ethnological observation and identified who they were. We thus can actually come to know the
cosmological ancestors of Taíno, and we can see their faces. We can know their meaning, their consciousness, their specific story, their representation of natural forces. This section features the work of Dr. Arrom. Consciousness of these entities and
representations of these and other Taíno identifiers (mounted "Taíno villages") can be found as well in popular culture and are particularly in evidence in the promotion and shaping of cultural tourism. More recent scholarship begins now to challenge
Arrom's well-established reading of the pieces, and this only makes things more interesting. (A celebratory session on Arrom's legacy in Caribbean studies is recommended.) New work by Jose R. Oliver, Caciques and Cemí Idols, traces symbol, gift,
web and memory in the iconography. This topic is thoroughly informed by the work of Dr. Garcia Goyco. The intent is to illustrate elegantly the Taíno and Caribbean Creation Story. In the known mythology: From Where Come the People? The living
personality of the artistic representation of the cosmology. Face, profile, identity of name and function, territory.
Food and sacredness
- Navigation through space and time
(horticulture) and the CEMI spirits
- A home in the earth and in the universe
- Dreams, duality of day and night
- Rites of passage related to mythologies
- Body modification
- Gender roles in cosmology
or social explanations of Taíno myths
- Resistance of Taíno to recognize spiritual superiority of Spanish
- Several of these entities in the cosmological context depict or speak to relationships to the elements of nature, including the land,
the sea, primordial foods, wind, water (rain) and places.
Narrate through spiritual aspects of Taíno culture
- Focus on the subject of spirit connection to agriculture, weather; huracan; navigation.
- Stories that tie together the Taíno cosmology.
- Depictions of sacred foods, fruits, deities.
Exhibit some fifty superlative archeological
and ethnographic pieces. Approach the story around pieces that represent the Taíno cosmology narrative and other structural material
one signature piece from NMAI collections such as Boinayel or the Idol of Patana. It should be a relatively large piece with very significant collection history and cosmological meaning.
Highlighted Break-Out Story
Mother waters of the ocean. Navigation. Canoe. Fishing. Conch. Coastal
cave. Cave of the Water in Cuba or the Cave of Patana, home of Iguanaboina. The lost twin, Boynayel, very important, is the narrative around the Idol of Patana piece.
Thematic Area 2: Consciousness of Taíno-- Survival in the Land
The nexus of humankind and the land is the main exploration in this theme. The generosity of agricultural land, the success and persistence of the early conuco (land parcels) agriculture sustains in reduced sectors in the islands.
Yet, the persistence of indigeneity among certain guajiro, jibaro or indio campesino populations is a subject of ethnographic study. This indigeneity is evidenced in the housing style of many country people, or bohio, and in the
planting of a wide range of tubers and other crops that were domesticated by Taíno.
Bagua Maorocoti is pivotal. Represented by the tri-cornered stone cemis found throughout the Caribbean, he is associated with eternity, the sea and most importantly, renewal in agriculture, and he is intimately associated with the unifying food crop
of the Greater Antilles-- the manioc or yuca (Manihot esculenta). Yuca or manioc is one of the three great food gifts of the Native Americas to the world along with corn and potato. Its elaboration as casabe, the Taíno
tort that greeted Columbus, has persisted and is a marker of culinary identity for many caribeños. Associated material culture in collections provides instruments such as the guayo, buren, the batea, etc.
The person of the behique, or medicine man/shaman and the great medicinal plant knowledge held was noted
early by chroniclers. The extensive continuing repertoire of medicinal plant use is of high interest. Tobacco is another important element. A path to ceremony and connection to the Creator was and is opened by the smoke of the tobacco and this
too has great exhibit potential because of the deep traditions of this crop in the three countries.
The early chronicles give us the tale of Guarionex and his spurned offer to the Columbus brothers, to plant a "big plantation, 20 leagues by 80 leagues, to feed all the Castillians and even all of Castille." Guarionex only wanted in return that the Spanish
quit torturing and killing his people over their lust for gold. They did not.
· Human/Environment nexus
- · Environmental knowledge/ Ecology· Water, mountains,
- o Hurricanes
- o Reading the stars
- · Fauna
- o Animals as food sources
- o Relationship
- · Agriculture
Signature plants—yucca, corn guayaba
- o La
cultura/complejo de la yuca
- · Foodways·
- o Culinary traditions -- ajiaco, casabes, tamal
- o Sea products
- o Influence on colonial era foodways
- o Change in foodways due to travel and exchanges (new consumption
of casaba in Puerto Rico)
- · The Built Environment
- o Bohío and bohío ritual
- o Hammock
- o Batey (circular and rectangular)
- o Piers
- o Canoes—colgar
la canoa celestial
· Ilustrations of cosmovision and ball games, explaining the gods/lords and the universe
· Ethnographic materials are excellent potential exhibition items. The catauro and the cutara, the many culinary adaptations of yuca; the variety of medicinal products, wrapping and storage methods and materials, agricultural
implements and tools.
· Ceremony over medicinal plants; story of Mariana Nava, Santiago; story of balsamo of guayacan industry in Hispaniola
by 1510; story of work with contemporary medicine women, the two Reinas. Section on contemporary use of Taíno herbal medicines. The scoop on sobar (traditional massage). The Cura del Rastro tradition. The early trade in Taíno
goods. Balsamo story from DR curandera medica de Santiago; behiques; medicines today.
Love of the ballgame. Beyond the scope of this Workshop report, this is a major topic of work for this exhibition and the overall Caribbean Indigenous Legacies project. It is widespread and growing and deserves thorough documentation. This can present
excellent section for the exhibition, as it has a lot of historical and chronicle evidence as well as very active contemporary leagues that have revitalized the game. The archeology of the ball game is rich.
* Thematic Area 3: A Taíno Linguistic Geography:
Consciousness of the Language Around Us
Speaking Taíno: Hablando Taíno - the language in our consciousness. Taíno and insular Arawak language, its prevalence
in the Spanish of the Greater Antilles. Some four hundred terms in common usage in Cuban Spanish. There is more of this identification of the Taíno language throughout the islands. Emphasize language around land and place, flora and fauna. This is extensive.
Nothing less than the formal and popular names of our island nations is conceived in Taino. As classic Caribbeanist scholar, Dr. José Juan Arrom, once put it: "The
Taíno is in us, amongst us and around us." Cuba remained Cuba, it kept its Taino name, despite Columbus' attempt to rename it "la isla Juana," and later Spanish royal efforts (1515) to name it "Fernandina." Both failed to stick. The Taino Cuba has retained
its viability and so when Cubans today say, "Cubano," they are describing themselves in Taino-rooted language.
Dominican Republic is the official nom d'état, but the popular name remains "Quisqueya," term meaning a "large land," or "mother" land. Puerto Rico it is, officially, surviving its increasing anglonization, but the Taino, "Borinquen," it remains,
in the popular usage, and the people most identified with the island's culture say of themselves, "Boricua," speaking, as do the Cubanos and Quisqueyanos, in an evolved form of Taino or insular Arawak. There is even a current to rename the island, Quisqueya,
from the present Hispaniola; Boriquen is as well proposed for Puerto Rico -- both long shots but sentimental favorites in the context of current social identity movements.
the voice, is cited in the early chronicles (Chanca, 1493) and within the term, "ni-taino," throughout the literature over 500 years. In archeological study, "Taino" is a well-ensconced designation for the overarching indigenous Caribbean identity. Consistently
appropriated and projected for the past 150 years, the term is now standard in the identification of the ancestor indigenous people of the islands. The tangible patrimony of the pre-Columbian Caribbean is largely identified with and by the scholarship on Taino
civilization. There is most interesting new archeological, ethnographic and biological work on Taino themes throughout the Greater Antilles.
The term is also standard of the re-constituting indigenous legacy groups, an identity reclamation movement of growing presence since the late 1970s. An intense reawakening to the indigenous roots has been occurring among
varieties of people, families, and communities in the Greater Antilles. It is generating interesting and culturally revealing polemics, influencing the popular cultural arts and the public discourse on culture, history and environment.
· Place Names
- · Food Names
- · Vernacular architecture terminology
Thematic Area 4: DNA Sequencing - the Language of the Blood
New sciences catch up with Caribbean origins as the above-described genetic
studies by Dr. Juan Martínez Cruzado point to extensive Taíno MtDNA in contemporary populations in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. The visualization of the MtDNA provides a written and printed out record of Taino presence in the biology of
contemporary populations. (See above sections on "Taino DNA Trails" and "Taino Grandmothers."). This reading of DNA sequencing is, in a graphic sense, "the language" in the blood. It is a sequencing the can represent the generations or the concept of generations
from the foundational Taino Grandmothers.
At least one population, with a nucleus at Caridad de los Indios, Cuba, combines strong lineage to a continuity of community culture
and assertion of identity. Caridad de los Indios provides an important example of the indio-based mountain mestizaje that has been prevalent in the Greater Antilles into the 20th Century. A count of families among the extended kinship-community
rooted in Caridad de los Indios lists approximately 1300 people.
· Shared Afro-Indigenous heritage
- · Matrimony patterns
This section would feature the concept of “TAÍNO GRANDMOTHERS ...." It would incorporate iconographic work identified by Dr. Garcia
Thematic Area 5: Taíno Consciousness in National/State Narratives
From their beginnings as colonies, to independence movements, to contemporary nations, Caribbean countries have
incorporated indigenous personas, events, even foodways into their national narratives that shape and define them as peoples. These narratives shape how the nation sees itself or wants to see itself. Whether used as evidence of extinction or to exemplify
national virtues, indigenous topics have formed part of national political and economic histories.
· Heroes of contact—Hatuey, Enriquillo, Anacaona, Guama, Agueybanax, Camagueybax
- · Political notions: Major topic of Siboneyismo and other invocations of Indian in nationalism. Most popular poetry through 2 centuries (Cuba)
- · National heroes & their role in nation building
Iconography of the national narratives; persistence in popular iconography
- · Education
- · Music—Preciosa—el indio bravo; the Indio beat of Panchito
- · Definitive national dishes--casaba
· Play songs with these elements; accompany by text panel with lyrics
& point out segments related to indigenous history, culture, etc
Highlighted Break-Out Story
· Hatuey as a model.
Exemplifies rebellious attitude and sovereign mindedness. Hatuey’s speech to his people where he refuses to accept an imposed religion, even on the pyre. Demonstrates Taíno resistance to recognize spiritual superiority. Admonishes Taíno—gold
and heaven are both lies. Well remembered in contemporary popular culture/oral tradition.
³ Thematic Area 6: The Taíno
or “neo-Taíno” resurgence movements
The Taíno or “neo-Taíno” resurgence movements emerging throughout the region and its diasporas are worth
presentation and discussion; current socio-cultural materials, in the arts and crafts, in publications, are emerging as well. This movement has asserted itself in important areas, including the management of cultural patrimony and international indigenous
· History and size of the movements
- · Renaissance of artistic expressions
- · Connections between the different groups
Use of Taíno names for children
· Videos of interviews, events
- · Intranet station to show Taíno organization websites
- · Bumper stickers
Photos of organization events
Highlighted Break-Out Story
· Recognition by United Nations Permanent Forum
Thematic Area 7: Consciousness of Taíno in Spiritual Culture (belief systems)
The consciousness of Taíno in the spiritual culture (belief systems) of the islands has a long history and has come under more intense popular scrutiny in recent years.
There is a great deal to know and explore of the presence of the Indio in most of the important Afro-Caribbean religious traditions of the Caribbean.
· Indigenous/African/European nexus of beliefs
- · The role of the Indian in Afro-Caribbean religions
Recreation of altar space
Thematic Area 8: Consciousness of Taíno in Expressive
Culture and Contemporary Identity
building on historical iconography and design elements, Taíno expressive culture continues to be produced. Over generations, musical groups have named themselves after Taíno people and places and continue to write songs that reference Taíno
heritage. The items are consumed by both external tourist markets as well and local consumers. These items can be found in households, museum exhibitions, and tourist markets. The production of the items signals a variety of consciousness of Taíno
- · Crafts
Music, Instruments, Lyrics
- · Story
- · Musical group names
· Listening stations with different versions of stories
- · Recreation of tourist market stall
· Musical instruments
- · Montage of album covers
· Persistent story of the Jigue or Guije -- the little people guardians of water sources or lagoons. Reconnects
contemporary to ancestral relationship with water, in the caves, of the running rivers. Continues to be a very alive tradition over several regions. In places it becomes a "negrito," no longer an "indito," But tradition is continuous from conquest moment.
Cemi-jigue alliance and connectivity.
* Luz de Yara stories
³ Thematic Area 9:
Taíno Narratives in Tourism
growing construction of Taíno narratives in tourism development is resulting in varieties of representation in "Taíno villages," pageantry and performance, the phenomenon of archeological and pictographic sites presented as museum, all evidencing
Taíno as a growing tourism attraction. This makes for interesting contestation of space and narrative.
· Tourist crafts
· Photo sequence of Panchito at Bairay
- · Photos of Taíno cultural tourism sites
- · Tourism brochures