Saturday, December 12, 2009

Indigenous Puerto Rico: DNA evidence upsets established history By Rick Kearns

Posted: October 06, 2003 - 1:34pm EST
by: Rick Kearns / Correspondent / Indian Country Today

History is written by the conquerors. The Native peoples of North America know this all too well, as they are still trying to bring the truth to light. Now, their long-lost Caribbean cousins are beginning the same process.

It’s an uphill battle.

Most Puerto Ricans know, or think they know, their ethnic and racial history: a blending of Taino (Indian), Spanish and African. Students of the islands’ past have read the same account for over 300 years; that the Native people, and their societies, were killed off by the Spanish invaders by the 1600s. It was always noted though, how many of the original colonists married Taino women or had Taino concubines, producing the original mestizaje (mixture) that, when blended with African, would produce Puerto Ricans.

Those first unions, according to the conventional wisdom, explain why some Puerto Ricans have "a little bit" of Native heritage. Mainly we are Spanish, we are told, with a little African blood and far-away Taino ancestry.

But the order of that sequence will have to change.

Dr. Juan Martinez Cruzado, a geneticist from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez who designed an island-wide DNA survey, has just released the final numbers and analysis of the project, and these results tell a different story.

According to the study funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, 61 percent of all Puerto Ricans have Amerindian mitochondrial DNA, 27 percent have African and 12 percent Caucasian. (Nuclear DNA, or the genetic material present in a gene’s nucleus, is inherited in equal parts from one’s father and mother. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from one’s mother and does not change or blend with other materials over time.)

In other words a majority of Puerto Ricans have Native blood.

"Our study showed there was assimilation," Martinez Cruzado explained, "but the people were not extinguished. Their political and social structure was but the genes were not.

"The people were assimilated into a new colonial order and became mixed … but that’s what Puerto Ricans are: Indians mixed with Africans and Spaniards," he asserted.

"There has been an under-estimation of the Amerindian heritage of Puerto Rico, much larger than most historians will admit," he said.

Martinez Cruzado cited the historical descriptions of life in Puerto Rico during the 17th and 18th centuries as an example.

"These accounts describe many aspects that are totally derived from Taino modus vivendi, not just the hammocks but the way they fished, their methods of farming, etc.," he related. "It is clear that the influence of Taino culture was very strong up to about 200 years ago. If we could conduct this same study on the Puerto Ricans from those times, the figure would show that 80 percent of the people had Indian heritage."

Another historical moment that should receive more attention involves the story of a group of Tainos who, after 200 years of absence from official head-counts, appeared in a military census from the 1790s. In this episode, a colonial military census noted that all of a sudden there were 2,000 Indians living in a northwestern mountain region. "These were Indians who the Spanish had placed on the tiny island of Mona (just off the western coast of Puerto Rico) who survived in isolation and then were brought over," Martinez Cruzado said. "They became mixed but there were many Indians who survived but eventually mixed with the Africans and Spaniards. These Mona Tainos must have had a further influence as well".

Martinez Cruzado noted how many customs and history were handed down through oral tradition. To this day on the island, there are many people who use medicinal plants and farming methods that come directly from the Tainos.

This is especially true of the areas once known as Indieras, or Indian Zones.

He also pointed out that most of these Native traditions probably do come from the Tainos, the Native people who appeared on the island circa 700 AD. But there were other waves of migrations to Puerto Rico and the entire Caribbean area.

Through the extensive study of the Puerto Rican samples, Martinez Cruzado and his team have found connections between island residents and Native peoples who arrived before and after the Tainos. He pointed out how a few of the samples can be traced back 9,000 years from ancient migrations, while others correspond to the genetic makeup of Native peoples of the Yucatan, Hispaniola, Margarita Island and Brazil among others. These latter genetic trails point to the presence of other Native peoples who were probably brought to the island as slaves from other Spanish or Portuguese colonies after the 1600s.

While island scholars will have much work to do to catch up with these "new" facts, the genetic detective work for Martinez Cruzado is also far from finished. As word spread of the remarkable survey, other scholars from the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela began to invite the Puerto Rican scientist to present his findings. They also want him to assist in similar projects in their respective countries.

"We started a very similar survey in the Dominican Republic last year," he stated. "And archaeologists from Venezuela and Cuba have invited me to do the same and I intend to go … I hope to have a proposal ready to collect samples in both of those countries and do a Caribbean-wide study. They already have evidence of migrations from both sides, north and south."

In the meantime, while Martinez Cruzado and his colleagues will focus on the history of Pre-Columbian migrations, people in the current Taino restoration movement (such as Nacion Taina, The Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation of Boriken, Taino Timucua Tribal Council, the United Confederation of Taino People, and others) are hoping that many of their compatriots reflect on the following quote: "The DNA story shows that the official story was wrong," Martinez Cruzado said. "This means a much larger Amerindian inheritance for Puerto Ricans."

And if some folks in the Dominican Republic and Cuba are right, the same will hold true for their histories.
Issues in Caribbean Amerindian Studies
(Occasional Papers of the Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink)
Vol. V, No. 2, Jun 2003 - Jun 2004.

Article found at Centrelink

First Annual Taino Naboria Society ArtShow

We would like to thank D637 in providing such a lovely space for Puerto Rican Heritage Week to exhibit Taino Art. It was a beautiful evening of song, dance, food, and pertinent issues concerning both island and state side Puerto Rican people. An of course, we must with honor acknowledge the artist and their dedication to the preservation of this culture. No one can love or preserve our culture as much as we can. I am honored to have been apart of the creative process of putting this show together along side Kacian Calderon, Ramon River "Taino Ray", the DC37 crew, and all the Taino Artist. Blessings to everyone for their support and looking forward to the first or many exhibitions with you all.

Keiahani Rodriguez

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Taino CD by Enrique Cardenas

Batey Cemi Yocahu is now available at CD baby for 12.95.

New Taino Album By Irka Mateo

Irka's new CD Anacaona is now available for download and as CD with a beautiful 16 page booklet at:

Monday, March 16, 2009

The New Taino Naboria Society Banner

Taino Ti

I think I speak for all of us in extending an enourmous Bomatum (Thank You) to Doc Sunshine for contributing this Masterpiece for Taino Naborias. Doc has been doing this for Taino people for the Past 20 years. He unselfishly gives to the Community all the time and is a Naboria that is a shining example to us all.

Thank you Doc Sunshine

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Alfareria Kanari - Taino Pottery

NAME: Luis Kacian Calderon Vega

BUSINESS: Alfareria Kanari

ADDRESS: 2805 Calle amazona, Urb.Rio Canas

CITY: Ponce


ZIP CODE: 00728

TELEPHONE: 787-813-9379



SERVICES: Specializing in Taino pottery, traditional and

Taino Creation Myths

The Cave of the Jagua

The Island has a section called Caonao
in which there is a mountain called Cauta
and it has two caves,
Cacibajagua, Cave of the Jagua,
and Amayuana, Without Importance
From Cacibajagua came most of the people who inhabit the island.
While still in the caves, these people kept watch at night
and they put in charge someone called Macocael
He of The Eyes Which Do Not Blink,
who was carried off by the sun
because he returned to the door late one day
Since the sun had carried him off on account of his poor
vigilance, they shut the door
Thus he was turned into stone near the door.
The reason that Macocael stayed awake and kept watch
was to see whence he would send away and divide the people
and it seems his delay was a great mistake.
Afterward others went out to fish
and they were made prisoners by the sun
and they were turned into trees called jobos
It came to pass that one man named Guahayona, Our Pride,
said to another named Cahubaba, The Ancient One,
that they said go harvest digo
Cahubaba went out before daybreak
and the sun set over him on the road
and he was turned into the bird that sings in the morning,
and he is called Cahubabael, Son of The Ancient One,
When he saw that the one sent to gather digo did not return,
Guahayona decided to leave the cave called Cacibajagua.

The Flight of the Gueyo Women

He Said to the woman, "leave behind your husbands and let us go
to other lands and carry off much gueyo.
Leave your children and let us take only the herb with us and
later on we shall return for them."
Guahayona, Our Pride, Left with all the women and he went
searching for lands
He came to Matinino, No Fathers,
where he soon left the women behind,
and he went off to another region called Guanin.
He had left the small children near a brook.
Later, when they began to suffer from hunger pains,
they wept and cried out for their mothers who had gone off.
The fathers were not able to help their children who cried out in
hunger for their mothers, saying "mama", trying to speak but
really asking for the breast
Thus they cried out, saying "toa, toa" asking to be nursed,
and while they behaved as someone asking for things with deep
desire and in great voice, they were transformed into
small, frog like animals called "tona" becuase they had
cried out for nursing.
The children were turned into frogs,
and from that time on the frog was held to be
the voice of springtime.
In this way all the men were left without women.

The Betrayal of Anacacuya

When Guahayona departed, he took with him all the women,
In the same way,he took the women of his cacique, named
Anacacuya, Light of the Center, fooling him
just as he fooled the others.
Moreover, Anacacuya was the brother-in-law of Guahayona,
and he went with him, setting upon the sea.
Guahayona said to his brother-in-law when they were in the canoe:
"Look at that beautiful cobo that is in the water."
And when Anacacuya looked down at the water to see the cobo,
his brother-in-law Guahayona took him by the feet and threw
him into the sea.
And thus he took all the women for himself and left them in
Matinino, where there is today nothing but women.
And he himself went to another island named Guanin,
so named on account of
what he took from there upon leaving.

The Healing by Guabonito

While Guahayona was in the land to which he had
gone, he saw that he had left a woman in the sea.
He went down to fetch this beautiful woman he saw at the
bottom of the sea.
He then returned to Cauta the mountain from
which he had taken the women.
He was greatly please with her and immediately sought the
purification to wash himself, for he was full of sores,
She put him in a guanara, a place apart.
Thus while he was there, he was cured of his sores.
Afterward she asked him for permission to continue her journey
and he granted it to her.
This woman is named Guabonito.
Guahayona changed his name, calling himself from thence forward,
"Albeborael Guahayona."
The woman Guabonito gave Albeborael Guahayona
many guanines and many cibas,
so that he might wear them attached to his arms.
In these lands, the cibas are rocks, which are very much
like marble and they were them attached to the arms and neck. The
guanines they wear on the ears, making openings when they are young
with tiny needles made of metal like florin.
It is said that the origins of these guanines was Guabonito,
Albeborael Guahayona and his father Albeborael.
Guahayona stayed in that land with his father, Hiauna, He Who Was Made Brilliant.
His son by his father was named Hiaunael Guanin, "Son of Hiauna."
Ever since, he was called Guanin, and so named today.

The Tale of Inriri

One day the men went to bathe and while they
were in the water, it rained a great deal.
They were very, anxious to have women, and on many occasions while
it rained, they had sought to find traces of their women, but
they were not able to find any news of them.
But that day when they washed, they saw fall
from some tress, coming down through the branches a certain
kind of persons, who were neither men nor women, nor had the
sexual parts of either male or female.
When the men could not catch them, they called
two or three men under orders from their cacique, so that
they would see how many there were, and should seek for
each one a man who was caracaracol, because
they had rough hands and could thus hold them fast.
They told the cacique that there were four creatures, and so they
brought four men who were caracaracol.
After they had captured the creatures, they took counsel about
how they could make them women, since they did not have the
sexual parts of male or female.
They sought a song bird whose name is Inriri, and which in ancient
times was called Inriri Cahubabayael, The Son of the
Ancient One.
This bird bores holes in trees,
Likewise they took the women without sexual parts of male or
female and they tied their hand and feet.
Then they took this bird and tied it to the bodies.
Thinking that the creatures were logs, the bird began to do the
work to which it was accustomed, boring open and pecking away
at the place where the female's privates is usually found.
In this way, the Taino had women.

The Banishment of Yayael

There was a man called Yaya, Spirit of Spirit,
and no one knew his name.
His son was named Yayael, "Son of Yaya."
This Yayael was banished for wanting to kill his father.
Thus he was banished for four months.
Afterward his father killed him, put his bones in a gourd
and hung it from the roof of his house
where it hung for some time.
It came to pass that one day, desiring to see his son,
Yaya said to his wife, "I want to see our son Yayael."
This made her happy, and taking down the gourd, she turned
it over to see the bones of their son.
From it gushed many fish, big and small.
Seeing that these bones had been turned into fishes,
they decided to eat them.

Deminan and the Great Flood

One day, when Yaya had gone to his conucos,
"The Lands That Were His Inheritance",
four sons came forth from one woman,
who is named Itiba Cahubaba, The Bleeding Ancient One.
All came from the one womb and all were twins.
After dying in childbirth, the woman was cut open
and they took out these four children.
The first taken out was caracaracol,
"The Scabby One".
Caracaracol had "Deminan" for his name;
the others did not have a name.
And while they were eating, they sensed that Yaya
was returning from his lands.
While trying in their haste to hang up the gourd,
they did not put it up securely,
so that it fell to the ground and broke apart.
So much water came from the gourd that it
covered the whole earth and from it came many fish.
This is how the sea took its origin.

Conel, The Mute Listener

Later on they left there and came upon a man named Conel,
Son of The Listener,
who was mute.

Gifts of Bread and Herbs

As soon as they came to the door of Bayamanaco, The Old Man,
and saw that he carried cazabe,
they said "Ahiacabo guarocoel!",
which mean "We Know our Grandfather!"
In the same way, Deminan Caracaracol, seeing his brothers ahead
of him, entered in to see if he would be able
to get some cazabe.
Upon entering the house of Bayamanaco
Caracaracol asked for cazabe,
He put his hand to his nose
and threw upon Deminan's back a guanguayo, Spittle.
This guanguayo was filled with cohoba which had just been made
that day.
Thus were given the this guanguayo, Spittle, instead of the
bread they make.
Bayamanaco left there very indignant becuase they had asked for it.

The Wondrous Guanguayo-Made Female

After all this, Caracaracol returned to join his brothers
and he told them what had happened with Bayamanaco
and of the blow that had been delivered to him by the guanguayo
upon his back, which hurt terribly.
Then his brothers looked at his back and they saw it was
seriously swollen.
This swelling grew so much that he was at the point of dying.
They then sought to cut if off but were unable.
Taking a stone axe, they opened it
and out came a live female turtle.
Thus they built their house and took care of the turtle.
All of the brothers made with her in turn
and from there there sons and daughters were

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Part Indian"

"Part" Indian?

Half-breed quarter breed one sixteen.... what do fractions really mean?

Could you imagine having to carry a card to 'prove' you are
white? Or imagine that, in order to truly be acknowledged
as an African American, you had to be an 'enrolled member'!
This having to carry a white and/or blue CDIB (Certificate of
Degree of Indian Blood) card is, in my understanding, the very
definition of institutionalized racism. Good people frequently
share with me that they are 'part Indian', or 'only a precentage
Indian'. This is a sad testament to the legacy of their beautiful
Indian ancestors. You see, the U.S. government is responsible
for the invention of the 'Indian blood quantum' lie. It turns out
that this is quite a convenient way to 'kill Indians on paper'.
And what saddens me, is that most of our Tribal governments
have bought into the 'blood quantum' system which so divides
and separates us from who we are and has deeply damaged
the integrity of our ancient cultures. We are people, not
fractions. To those of you reading this who are of Indian
ancestry, I offer you some interesting thoughts...............

In Lakota tradition, we have a ceremony called Hunkapi, or,
the Making of Relatives. In this ceremony, a person who is
not Lakota is brought in. After the ceremony is complete it
was fully understood that this person was 100% completely
Lakota. This was, and still is, the power of this ancient rite.
Somehow, many of us have forgotten the truth and wisdom
of this ceremony. Many Indians today think the 'amount' of
Indian blood is what matters, when according to our own
sacred rites, it is clear that it is not only blood, but Spirit
which defines the essence of a human being.................

So.... to those of you with distant Indian ancestry who do
not quite know how to define it.... you need not identify
yourself as 'part-Indian'. Know that you are 'of Indian
ancestry', or that you are 'descended from the (insert
tribe name here)'. You are 100% descendant of all your
ancestors. Learn all you can, become who you are.

You are beautiful! You are Indian..............................

by John 2 Hawks

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Great Serpent Mound

Notice the similarity with the Taino design andThe Great Serpent Mound In Ohio,

Food for thought...