John Robles Interview GeoPolitika
Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning
The Pilgrims of Plymouth, The Original Scalpers
Contrary to popular mythology the Pilgrims were no friends to the local Indians. They were engaged in a ruthless war of extermination against their hosts, even as they falsely posed as friends.
Just days before the alleged Thanksgiving love-fest, a company of Pilgrims led by Myles Standish actively sought to chop off the head of a local chief. They deliberately caused a rivalry between two friendly Indians, pitting one against the other in an attempt to obtain "better intelligence and make them both more diligent."
An 11-foot-high wall was erected around the entire settlement for the purpose of keeping the Indians out. Any Indian who came within the vicinity of the Pilgrim settlement was subject to robbery, enslavement, or even murder.
The Pilgrims further advertised their evil intentions and white racial hostility, when they mounted five cannons on a hill around their settlement, constructed a platform for artillery, and then organized their soldiers into four companies-all in preparation for the military destruction of their friends the Indians.
Pilgrim Myles Standish eventually got his bloody prize. He went to the Indians, pretended to be a trader, then beheaded an Indian man named Wituwamat. He brought the head to Plymouth, where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years, according to Gary B. Nash, "as a symbol of white power."
Standish had the Indian man's young brother hanged from the rafters for good measure.
From that time on, the whites were known to the Indians of Massachusetts by the name "Wotowquenange," which in their tongue meant cutthroats and stabbers.
The Real Thanskgiving
Quoted from: The Hidden History of Massachusetts
Much of America's understanding of the early relationship between the Indian and the European is conveyed through the story of Thanksgiving. Proclaimed a holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, this fairy tale of a feast was allowed to exist in the American imagination pretty much untouched until 1970, the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims. That is when Frank B. James, president of the Federated Eastern Indian League, prepared a speech for a Plymouth banquet that exposed the Pilgrims for having committed, among other crimes, the robbery of the graves of the Wampanoags. He wrote:
"We welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people."
But white Massachusetts officials told him he could not deliver such a speech and offered to write him another. Instead, James declined to speak, and on Thanksgiving Day hundreds of Indians from around the country came to protest. It was the first National Day of Mourning, a day to mark the losses Native Americans suffered as the early settlers prospered. This true story of "Thanksgiving" is what whites did not want Mr. James to tell.
What Really Happened in Plymouth in 1621?
According to a single-paragraph account in the writings of one Pilgrim, a harvest feast did take place in Plymouth in 1621, probably in mid-October, but the Indians who attended were not even invited. Though it later became known as "Thanksgiving," the Pilgrims never called it that. And amidst the imagery of a picnic of interracial harmony is some of the most terrifying bloodshed in New World history.
The Pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural expertise of the Indians had produced twenty acres of corn, without which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. The Indians often brought food to the Pilgrims, who came from England ridiculously unprepared to survive and hence relied almost exclusively on handouts from the overly generous Indians-thus making the Pilgrims the western hemisphere's first class of welfare recipients. The Pilgrims invited the Indian sachem Massasoit to their feast, and it was Massasoit, engaging in the tribal tradition of equal sharing, who then invited ninety or more of his Indian brothers and sisters-to the annoyance of the 50 or so ungrateful Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie was served; they likely ate duck or geese and the venison from the 5 deer brought by Massasoit. In fact, most, if notall, of the food was most likely brought and prepared by the Indians, whose 10,000-year familiarity with the cuisine of the region had kept the whites alive up to that point.
The Pilgrims wore no black hats or buckled shoes-these were the silly inventions of artists hundreds of years since that time. These lower-class Englishmen wore brightly colored clothing, with one of their church leaders recording among his possessions "1 paire of greene drawers." Contrary to the fabricated lore of storytellers generations since, no Pilgrims prayed at the meal, and the supposed good cheer and fellowship must have dissipated quickly once the Pilgrims brandished their weaponry in a primitive display of intimidation. What's more, the Pilgrims consumed a good deal of home brew. In fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford, to comment on his people's "notorious sin," which included their "drunkenness and uncleanliness" and rampant "sodomy"...
The Pilgrims of Plymouth, The Original Scalpers
Contrary to popular mythology the Pilgrims were no friends to the local Indians. They were engaged in a ruthless war of extermination against their hosts, even as they falsely posed as friends. Just days before the alleged Thanksgiving love-fest, a company of Pilgrims led by Myles Standish actively sought to chop off the head of a local chief. They deliberately caused a rivalry between two friendly Indians, pitting one against the other in an attempt to obtain "better intelligence and make them both more diligent." An 11-foot-high wall was erected around the entire settlement for the purpose of keeping the Indians out.
Any Indian who came within the vicinity of the Pilgrim settlement was subject to robbery, enslavement, or even murder. The Pilgrims further advertised their evil intentions and white racial hostility, when they mounted five cannons on a hill around their settlement, constructed a platform for artillery, and then organized their soldiers into four companies-all in preparation for the military destruction of their friends the Indians.
Pilgrim Myles Standish eventually got his bloody prize. He went to the Indians, pretended to be a trader, then beheaded an Indian man named Wituwamat. He brought the head to Plymouth, where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years, according to Gary B. Nash, "as a symbol of white power." Standish had the Indian man's young brother hanged from the rafters for good measure. From that time on, the whites were known to the Indians of Massachusetts by the name "Wotowquenange," which in their tongue meant cutthroats and stabbers.
Who Were the "Savages"?
The myth of the fierce, ruthless Indian savage lusting after the blood of innocent Europeans must be vigorously dispelled at this point. In actuality, the historical record shows that the very opposite was true.
Once the European settlements stabilized, the whites turned on their hosts in a brutal way. The once amicable relationship was breeched again and again by the whites, who lusted over the riches of Indian land. A combination of the Pilgrims' demonization of the Indians, the concocted mythology of Eurocentric historians, and standard Hollywood propaganda has served to paint the gentle Indian as a tomahawk-swinging savage endlessly on the warpath, lusting for the blood of the God-fearing whites.
But the Pilgrims' own testimony obliterates that fallacy. The Indians engaged each other in military contests from time to time, but the causes of "war," the methods, and the resulting damage differed profoundly from the European variety:
o A major Indian "war" might end with less than a dozen casualties on both sides. Often, when the arrows had been expended the "war" would be halted. The European practice of wiping out whole nations in bloody massacres was incomprehensible to the Indian.
According to one scholar, "The most notable feature of Indian warfare was its relative innocuity." European observers of Indian wars often expressed surprise at how little harm they actually inflicted. "Their wars are far less bloody and devouring than the cruel wars of Europe," commented settler Roger Williams in 1643. Even Puritan warmonger and professional soldier Capt. John Mason scoffed at Indian warfare: "[Their] feeble manner...did hardly deserve the name of fighting." Fellow warmonger John Underhill spoke of the Narragansetts, after having spent a day "burning and spoiling" their country: "no Indians would come near us, but run from us, as the deer from the dogs." He concluded that the Indians might fight seven years and not kill seven men. Their fighting style, he wrote, "is more for pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies."
All this describes a people for whom war is a deeply regrettable last resort. An agrarian people, the American Indians had devised a civilization that provided dozens of options all designed to avoid conflict--the very opposite of Europeans, for whom all-out war, a ferocious bloodlust, and systematic genocide are their apparent life force. Thomas Jefferson--who himself advocated the physical extermination of the American Indian--said of Europe, "They [Europeans] are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of labor, property and lives of their people."
By the mid 1630s, a new group of 700 even holier Europeans calling themselves Puritans had arrived on 11 ships and settled in Boston-which only served to accelerate the brutality against the Indians.
In one incident around 1637, a force of whites trapped some seven hundred Pequot Indians, mostly women, children, and the elderly, near the mouth of the Mystic River. Englishman John Mason attacked the Indian camp with "fire, sword, blunderbuss, and tomahawk." Only a handful escaped and few prisoners were taken-to the apparent delight of the Europeans:
To see them frying in the fire, and the streams of their blood quenching the same, and the stench was horrible; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave praise thereof to God.
This event marked the first actual Thanksgiving. In just 10 years 12,000 whites had invaded New England, and as their numbers grew they pressed for all-out extermination of the Indian. Euro-diseases had reduced the population of the Massachusetts nation from over 24,000 to less than 750; meanwhile, the number of European settlers in Massachusetts rose to more than 20,000 by 1646.
By 1675, the Massachusetts Englishmen were in a full-scale war with the great Indian chief of the Wampanoags, Metacomet. Renamed "King Philip" by the white man, Metacomet watched the steady erosion of the lifestyle and culture of his people as European-imposed laws and values engulfed them.
In 1671, the white man had ordered Metacomet to come to Plymouth to enforce upon him a new treaty, which included the humiliating rule that he could no longer sell his own land without prior approval from whites. They also demanded that he turn in his community's firearms. Marked for extermination by the merciless power of a distant king and his ruthless subjects, Metacomet retaliated in 1675 with raids on several isolated frontier towns. Eventually, the Indians attacked 52 of the 90 New England towns, destroying 13 of them. The Englishmen ultimately regrouped, and after much bloodletting defeated the great Indian nation, just half a century after their arrival on Massachusetts soil. Historian Douglas Edward Leach describes the bitter end:
The ruthless executions, the cruel sentences...were all aimed at the same goal-unchallengeable white supremacy in southern New England. That the program succeeded is convincingly demonstrated by the almost complete docility of the local native ever since.
When Captain Benjamin Church tracked down and murdered Metacomet in 1676, his body was quartered and parts were "left for the wolves." The great Indian chief's hands were cut off and sent to Boston and his head went to Plymouth, where it was set upon a pole on the real first "day of public Thanksgiving for the beginning of revenge upon the enemy." Metacomet's nine-year-old son was destined for execution because, the whites reasoned, the offspring of the devil must pay for the sins of their father. The child was instead shipped to the Caribbean to spend his life in slavery.
As the Holocaust continued, several official Thanksgiving Days were proclaimed. Governor Joseph Dudley declared in 1704 a "General Thanksgiving"-not in celebration of the brotherhood of man-but for [God's] infinite Goodness to extend His Favors...In defeating and disappointing... the Expeditions of the Enemy [Indians] against us, And the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them into our hands...
Just two years later one could reap a ££50 reward in Massachusetts for the scalp of an Indian-demonstrating that the practice of scalping was a European tradition. According to one scholar, "Hunting redskins became...a popular sport in New England, especially since prisoners were worth good money..."
References in The Hidden History of Massachusetts: A Guide for Black Folks ©© DR. TINGBA APIDTA, ; ISBN 0-9714462-0-2
El Padre Nuestro en Taino Our Father in Taino
Guakia Baba, turey toca, Guami-ke-ni, Guami-caraya-guey guarico, guakia, tayno-ti, bo-matun; busica, guakia, aje-cazabi; Juracan-ua, Maboya-ua, Jukiyu-jan, Diosa, nabori daca Jan-jan catu (So be it). (indigenous language of Puerto Rico) (idioma de los indigenas de Puerto Rico) Guakia Baba (Nuestro padre), turey toca (cielo estar), Guami-ke-ni (Seсor (de) tierra (y) agua), Guami-caraya-guey (Seсor (de) luna (y) sol), guarico (ven (a), guakнб (nosotros), tayno-ti (bueno, alto), bo-matъn; (grande, generoso), busicб (da (a), guakiб (nosotros), para yucubia (lluvia, planta), aje-casabi; (boniato, pan), Juracбn-uб (espнritu malo no), Maboya-uб (fantasma no), Jukiyъ-jan; (espнritu bueno sн), Diosб (de Dios), nabori daca (siervo yo), Jan-jan catъ (Asн sea). Recurso: Pre-Historia de Puerto Rico 1493: Dr. Cayetano Coll y Toste
Guakia Baba (Our Father), turey toca (is in sky), Guami-ke-ni (Lord of land and water), Guami-caraya-guey (Lord of moon and sun) guarico (come to), guakia (us), tayno-ti (good,tall), bo-matun; (big,generous), busica (give to), guakia (us), aje-cazabi; (tubercles,bread), Juracan-ua (bad spirit no), Maboya-ua (ghost no), Jukiyu-jan; (good spirit yes), Diosa (of God), nabori daca (servant am I), Jan-jan catu (So be it). (indigenous language of Puerto Rico) (idioma de los indigenas de Puerto Rico) Guakia Baba (Nuestro padre), turey toca (cielo estar), Guami-ke-ni (Seсor (de) tierra (y) agua), Guami-caraya-guey (Seсor (de) luna (y) sol), guarico (ven (a), guakнб (nosotros), tayno-ti (bueno, alto), bo-matъn; (grande, generoso), busicб (da (a), guakiб (nosotros), para yucubia (lluvia, planta), aje-casabi; (boniato, pan), Juracбn-uб (espнritu malo no), Maboya-uб (fantasma no), Jukiyъ-jan; (espнritu bueno sн), Diosб (de Dios), nabori daca (siervo yo), Jan-jan catъ (Asн sea). Recurso: Pre-Historia de Puerto Rico 1493: Dr. Cayetano Coll y Toste
The Flag of The Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation The Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation Home Page Public Announcements
My great-grandmother was the last full blooded Taino Indian in the world, according to family records. This page is for her.
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is believed that the seafaring Taínos were relatives of the Arawakan people of South America. Their language is a member of the Maipurean linguistic family, which ranges from South America across the Caribbean.
At the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492, there were five Taíno kingdoms and territories on Hispaniola (modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic), each led by a principal Cacique (chieftain), to whom tribute was paid. As the hereditary head chief of Taíno tribes, the cacique was paid significant tribute. Caciques enjoyed the privilege of wearing golden pendants called guani, living in square bohíos instead of the round ones the villagers inhabited, and sat on wooden stools when receiving guests. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the largest Taíno population centers may have contained over 3,000 people each. The Taínos were historical neighbors and enemies of the fierce Carib tribes, another group with origins in South America who lived principally in the Lesser Antilles. The relationship between the two groups has been the subject of much study.
For much of the 15th century, the Taíno tribe was being driven to the Northeast in the Caribbean (out of what is now South America) because of raids by fierce Caribs (Many Carib women spoke Taíno because of the large number of female Taíno captives among them).
By the 18th century, Taíno society had been devastated by introduced diseases such as smallpox, as well as other problems like intermarriages and forced assimilation into the plantation economy that Spain imposed in its Caribbean colonies, with its subsequent importation of African slave workers. The first recorded smallpox outbreak in Hispaniola occurred in 1507. It is argued that there was substantial mestizaje as well as several Indian pueblos that survived into the 19th century in Cuba. The Spaniards who first arrived in the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola in 1492, and later in Puerto Rico, did not bring women. They took Taíno women for their wives, which resulted in mestizo children.
The word "Taíno" comes directly from Columbus. The indigenous people he encountered in his first voyage called themselves "Taíno", meaning "good" or "noble", to differentiate themselves from Island-Caribs. This name applied to all the Island Taínos including those in the Lesser Antilles. Locally, the Taínos referred to themselves by the name of their location. For example, those in Puerto Rico called themselves Boricua (which means people from the island of the valiant noble lords) their island was called Borike'n (Great land of the valiant noble lord) and those occupying the Bahamas called themselves Lucayo (small islands).
Some ethnohistorians, such as Daniel Garrison Brinton, called the same culture of people "Island Arawak" from the Arawakan word for cassava flour, a staple of the race. From this, the language and the people were eventually called "Arawak". However, modern scholars consider this a mistake. The people who called themselves Arawak lived only in the Guianas and Trinidad and their language and culture differ from those of the Taíno.
Throughout time these terms have been used interchangeably by writers, travellers, historians, linguists, and anthropologists. Taíno has been used to mean the Greater Antillean tribes only, those plus the Bahamas tribes, those and the Leeward Islands tribes or all those excluding the Puerto Rican tribes and Leeward tribes. Island Taíno has been used to refer to those living in the Windward Islands only, those in the northern Caribbean only or those living in any of the islands. Modern historians, linguists and anthropologists now hold that the term Taíno should refer to all the Taíno/Arawak tribes except for the Caribs. The Caribs are not seen by anthropologists nor historians as being the same people although linguists are still debating whether the Carib language is an Arawakan dialect or creole language — or perhaps a distinct language, with an Arawakan pidgin often used in communication.
Rouse classifies all inhabitants of the Greater Antilles (except the western tip of Cuba), the Bahamian archipelago, and the northern Lesser Antilles as Taínos. The Taínos are subdivided into three main groups: Classic Taíno, from Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, Western Taíno or sub-Taíno, from Jamaica, Cuba (except for the western tip) and the Bahamian archipelago, and Eastern Taíno, from the Virgin Islands to Montserrat.
Two schools of thought have emerged regarding the origin of the indigenous people of the West Indies. One group contends that the ancestors of the Taínos came from the center of the Amazon Basin, subsequently moving to the Orinoco valley. From there they reached the West Indies by way of what is now Guyana and Venezuela into Trinidad, proceeding along the Lesser Antilles all the way to Cuba and the Bahamian archipelago. Evidence that supports this theory includes the tracing of the ancestral cultures of these people to the Orinoco Valley and their languages to the Amazon Basin.
The alternate theory, known as the circum-Caribbean theory, contends that the ancestors of the Taínos diffused from the Colombian Andes. Julian H. Steward, the theory's originator, suggested a radiation from the Andes to the West Indies and a parallel radiation into Central America and into the Guianas, Venezuela and the Amazon Basin.
Taíno culture is believed to have developed in the West Indies.
Culture and lifestyle
Taíno society was divided into two classes: " naborias" (commoners) and " nitaínos" (nobles). These were governed by chiefs known as "caciques" (who were either male or female) which were advised by priests/healers known as "bohiques". Bohiques were extolled for their healing powers and ability to speak with gods and as a result, they granted Taínos permission to engage in important tasks.
Taínos lived in a matrilineal society. When a male heir was not present the inheritance or succession would go to the eldest child (son or daughter) of the deceased’s sister. Taínos practised a mainly agrarian lifestyle but also fished and hunted. A frequently worn hair style featured bangs in front and longer hair in back. They sometimes wore gold jewelry, paint, and/or shells. Taíno men sometimes wore short skirts. Taíno women wore a similar garment ("nagua") after marriage. Some Taíno practiced polygamy. Men, and sometimes women, might have 2 or 3 spouses, and it was noted that some caciques would even marry as many 30 wives.
Taínos lived in metropolises (called "yucayeques") which varied in size depending on the location; those in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico being the largest and those in the Bahamas being the smallest. In the center of a typical village was a plaza used for various social activities such as games, festivals, religious rituals, and public ceremonies. These plazas had many shapes including oval, rectangular, or narrow and elongated. Ceremonies where the deeds of the ancestors were celebrated, called "areitos", were performed here. Often, the general population lived in large circular buildings ("bohio"), constructed with wooden poles, woven straw, and palm leaves. These houses would surround the central plaza and could hold 10-15 families. The cacique and his family would live in rectangular buildings ("caney") of similar construction, with wooden porches. Taíno home furnishings included cotton hammocks ("hamaca"), mats made of palms, wooden chairs ("dujo") with woven seats, platforms, and cradles for children.
The Taínos played a ceremonial ball game called "batey". The game was played between opposing teams consisting of 10 to 30 players per team using a solid rubber ball. Normally, the teams were composed of only men, but occasionally women played the game as well. The Classic Taínos played in the village's center plaza or on especially designed rectangular ball courts also called "batey". "Batey" is believed to have been used for conflict resolution between communities; the most elaborate ball courts are found in chiefdoms' boundaries. Often, chiefs made wagers on the possible outcome of a game.
Taínos spoke a Maipurean language but lacked a written language. Some of the words used by them such as "barbacoa" ("barbecue"), "hamaca" ("hammock"), "canoa" ("canoe"), "tabaco" ("tobacco"), "yuca", and "Huracan" ("hurricane") "Tatuaje"(tattoo) have been incorporated into the Spanish and English languages.
Food and agriculture
The Taíno diet centered around vegetables and fruits, meat, and fish. Large animals were absent from the fauna of the West Indies, but small animals such as hutias, earthworms, lizards, turtles, birds, and other mammals were consumed. Manatees were speared and fish were caught in nets, speared, poisoned, trapped in weirs, or caught with hook and line. Wild parrots were decoyed with domesticated birds and iguanas were extracted from trees and other vegetation. Taínos stored live animals until they were ready to be consumed—fish and turtles were stored in weirs, and hutias and dogs were stored in corrals.
Taíno groups in the more developed islands, such as Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica, relied more on agriculture. For important crops they used a sophisticated procedure in which they "heaped up mounds of soil", called "conucos", which improved drainage, delayed erosion, and allowed for a longer storage of crops in the ground; for less important crops such as corn they used the more common and rudimentary slash and burn technique. "Conucos" were 3 feet high and 9 feet in circumference and were arranged in rows. The primary root crop was cassava, a woody shrub cultivated for its edible starchy tuberous root. It was planted using a "coa", an early kind of hoe made completely out of wood. Women squeezed cassava to extract its poisonous juice and ground the roots into flour from which they baked bread. "Batata" (Sweet potato) was the Taínos' secondary crop; it was consumed as a vegetable.
Contrary to mainland practices, corn was not ground into flour and baked into bread. Instead, it was eaten off the cob. A possible explanation for this is that corn bread becomes moldy faster than cassava bread in the high humidity of the West Indies. Taínos grew squash, beans, peppers, peanuts, and pineapples. Tobacco, calabashes (West Indian pumpkins) and cotton were grown around the houses. Other fruits and vegetables, such as palm nuts, guavas, and "Zamia" roots, were collected from the wild.
Taínos used cotton, hemp and palm extensively for fishing nets and ropes. Their dugout canoes (Kanoa) were made in various sizes, which could hold from 2 to 150 people. An average sized Kanoa would hold about 15 - 20 people. They used bows and arrows, and sometimes put various poisons on their arrowheads. For warfare, they employed the use of a wooden war club, which they called a macana, that was about one inch thick and was similar to the cocomacaque.
Taíno religion centered on the worship of "zemís" or "cemís". "Cemís" were either gods, spirits, or ancestors. There were two supreme gods: Yúcahu, [The Taínos of Quisqueya (Dominican Republic) called him "Yucahú Bagua Maorocotí", which means "White Yuca, great and powerful as the sea and the mountains".] which means spirit of cassava, was the god of cassava (the Taínos main crop) and the sea and Atabey, [Other names for this goddess include "Guabancex", "Atabei", "Atabeyra", "Atabex", and "Guimazoa".] mother of Yúcahu, was the goddess of fresh waters and fertility. [Rouse, p.13.] Other minor gods existed in Taíno religion; some of them related to the growing of cassava while others were related to the process of life, creation and death. Baibrama was a god worshiped for his assistance in growing cassava and curing people from its poisonous juice. Boinayel and his twin brother Márohu were the gods of rain and fair weather respectively.Guabancex was the goddess of storms (hurricanes). Popular belief names Juracán as the god of storms but "juracán" was only the word for hurricane in the Taíno language. Guabancex had two assistants: Guataubá, a messenger who created hurricane winds, and Coatrisquie, who created floodwaters. [Rouse, p.121.] Maquetaurie Guayaba or Maketaori Guayaba was god of Coaybay, the land of the dead. Opiyelguabirán, a dog-shaped god, watched over the dead. Deminán Caracaracol, a male cultural hero from which the Taíno believed to descend, was worshipped as a "cemí".
"Cemí" was also the name of the physical representations of the gods. These representations came in many forms and materials and could be found in a variety of settings. The majority of "cemís" were crafted from wood but stone, bone, shell, pottery, and cotton were also used."Cemí" petroglyphs were carved on rocks in streams, ball courts, and on stalagmites in caves. "Cemí" pictographs were found on secular objects such as pottery, and on tattoos. Yucahú, the god of cassava, was represented with a three-pointed "cemí" which could be found in "conucos" to increase the yield of cassava. Wood and stone "cemís" have been found in caves in Hispaniola and Jamaica.
"Cemís" are sometimes represented by toads, turtles, snakes, and various abstract and human-like faces. Some of the carved "Cemís" include a small table or tray which is believed to be a receptacle for hallucinogenic snuff called cohoba prepared from the beans of a species of "Piptadenia" tree. These trays have been found with ornately carved snuff tubes.
Before certain ceremonies, Taínos would purify either by inducing vomiting with a swallowing stick or by fasting. After the serving of communal bread, first to the Cemi, then to the cacique, and then to the common people; the village epic would be sung and accompanied by maraca and other instruments. Tainos also used body modification in order to express their faith. The higher the piercing or tattoo on the body signified their closeness to their gods. Men usually wore decorative 'tatuajes' and the women wore mainly piercings.
Taíno oral tradition explains that the sun and moon come out of caves. Another story tells that people once lived in caves and only came out at night, because it was believed that the Sun would transform them. The Taíno believed to be descended from the union of Deminaán Caracaracol and a female turtle. The origin of the oceans is described in the story of a huge flood which occurred when a father murdered his son (who was about to murder the father), and then put his bones into a gourd or calabash. These bones then turned to fish and the gourd broke and all the water of the world came pouring out. Taínos believed that the souls of the dead go to Coaybay, the underworld, and there they rest by day, and when night comes they assume the form of bats and eat the fruit "guayaba".
Spaniards and Taínos
Columbus and his crew, landing on an island in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492 were the first Europeans to encounter the Taíno people. Columbus wrote:
"They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will..they took great delight in pleasing us..They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal..Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people ..They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing."
At this time, the neighbors of the Taínos were the Guanahatabeys in the western tip of Cuba, and the Island-Caribs in the Lesser Antilles from Guadaloupe to Grenada. The Taínos called the island Guanahaní which Columbus renamed as "San Salvador" (Spanish for "Holy Savior"). It was Columbus who called the Taíno "Indians", an identification that has grown to encompass all the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. A group of Taíno people accompanied Columbus on his return voyage back to Spain.
Early population estimates of Hispaniola, probably the most populous island inhabited by Taínos, range from 100,000 to 1,000,000 people. The maximum estimates for Jamaica and Puerto Rico, the most densely populated islands after Hispaniola, are 600,000 people. The Dominican priest Bartolomé de Las Casas wrote (1561) in his multivolume "History of the Indies"
"There were 60,000 people living on this island [when I arrived in 1508] , including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this?"
Researchers today doubt Las Casas's figures for the pre-contact levels of the Taíno population, considering them an exaggeration. For example, Anderson Córdova estimates a maximum of 500,000 people inhabiting the island. [cite book |author=Karen Anderson Córdova |title=Hispaniola and Puerto Rico: Indian Acculturation and Heterogeinity, 1492-1550 |year=1990 |publisher=University Microfilms International |location=Ann Arbor, Michigan |format=PhD dissertation|id= ] The Taíno population estimates range all over, from a few hundred thousand up to 8,000,000. They were not immune to Old World diseases, notably smallpox.Many of them were worked to death in the mines and fields, put to death in harsh put-downs of revolts or committed suicide (throwing themselves out of the cliffs or consuming manioc leaves) to escape their cruel new masters. La Casas wrote that the
"made bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his head at one blow; or they opened up his bowels. They tore the babes from their mothers breast by their feet, and dashed their heads against the rocks...they spitted the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers and all who were before them, on their swords....and by thirteens, in honor and reverance for our Redeemer and the twelve Apostles they put wood underneath and, with fire, they burned the Indians alive"
Some academics have suggested that the numbers the population had shrunk to 60,000 and by 1531 to 3,000 in Hispanola. In thirty years, between 80% and 90% of the population died. Because of the increased number of people (Spanish) on the island, there was a higher demand for food from the Taino method of plantation which was being converted to Spanish methods. Because so many Taino were put into slavery, they had little time for community affairs, and the supply of food became so low in 1495 and 1496 that famine occurred and combined with diseases like smallpox to which the Taino had no immunity to. This took a staggering death toll. By 1507 their numbers had shrunk to 60,000. By 1531 the number was down to 600. [Tinker, T. & Freeland, M. (2008). Thief, Slave Trader, Murderer: Christopher Columbus and Caribbean Population Decline. Retrieved September 23, 2008, from [Academic Search Premier Database Scholars now believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic disease was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American natives.
On Columbus' second voyage, he began to require tribute from the Taínos in Hispaniola. Each adult over 14 years of age was expected to deliver a hawks bell full of gold every three months, or when this was lacking twenty five pounds of spun cotton. If this tribute was not observed, the Taínos had their hands cut off and were left to bleed to death. [Kirkpatrick Sale, "The Conquest of Paradise",p155, ISBN 0-333-57479-6] This also gave way to a service requirement called "encomienda". Under this system, Taínos were required to work for a Spanish land owner for most of the year, which left little time to tend to their own community affairs.
In 1511, several caciques in Puerto Rico, such as Agüeybaná, Urayoán, Guarionex, and Orocobix, allied with the Caribs and tried to oust the Spaniards. The revolt was pacified by the forces of Governor Juan Ponce de León. Hatuey, a Taíno chieftain who had fled Hispaniola to Cuba with 400 natives in order to unite the Cuban natives, was burned at the stake on February 2, 1512. In Hispaiola, a Taíno chieftain named Enriquillo mobilized over 3,000 remaining Taíno in a successful rebellion in the 1530s. These Taíno were accorded land and a charter from the royal administration.
"Las Casas wrote in his will the following prophecy:
"I believe that because these impious, criminal and ignominious acts, perpetrated unjustly, tyrannously, and barbarously upon them God will visit His wrath and His ire upon Spain for her share, great or small, in the blood stained riches, obtained by theft and usurpation, accompanied by such slaughter and annihilation of these people -- unless she does much penance".
Taíno heritage in modern times
Many people still identify themselves as descendants of the Taínos, and most notably among some Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, both on the island and on the United States mainland. People claiming to be Taíno descendants have been active in trying to assert a call for recognition of their tribe. A recent study conducted in Puerto Rico suggests that over 61% of the population possess Taíno mtDNA.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. Recently, a few Taíno organizations, such as the Jatibonicù Taíno Tribal Nation of Boriken (1970), the Taíno Nation of the Antilles (1993) and the United Confederation of Taíno People(1998), have been established to put forth these claims. What some refer to as the Taíno revival movement can be seen as an integral part of the wider resurgence in Caribbean indigenous self-identification and cultural restoration.The Jatibonicu Tribal Nation of Borikén was reaffirmed in Puerto Rico on November 18th 1970, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, a Latino Fraternity, adapted the Taíno Indian as their mascot symbol in 1980.dd
Native American Tribes and Languages
A A'ananin (Aane), Abenaki (Abnaki, Abanaki, Abenaqui), Absaalooke (Absaroke), Achumawi (Achomawi), Acjachemen, Acoma, Agua Caliente, Adai, Ahtna (Atna), Ajachemen, Akimel O'odham, Akwaala (Akwala), Alabama-Coushatta, Aleut, Alutiiq, Algonquians (Algonkians), Algonquin (Algonkin), Alliklik, Alnobak (Alnôbak, Alnombak), Alsea (Älsé, Alseya), Andaste, Anishinaabe (Anishinabemowin, Anishnabay), Aniyunwiya, Antoniaño, Apache, Apalachee, Applegate, Apsaalooke (Apsaroke), Arapaho (Arapahoe), Arawak, Arikara, Assiniboine, Atakapa, Atikamekw, Atsina, Atsugewi (Atsuke), Araucano (Araucanian), Avoyel (Avoyelles), Ayisiyiniwok, Aymara, Aztec
C Caddo (Caddoe), Cahita, Cahto, Cahuilla, Calapooya (Calapuya, Calapooia), Calusa (Caloosa), Carib, Carquin, Carrier, Caska, Catawba, Cathlamet, Cayuga, Cayuse, Celilo, Central Pomo, Chahta, Chalaque, Chappaquiddick (Chappaquiddic, Chappiquidic), Chawchila (Chawchilla), Chehalis, Chelan, Chemehuevi, Cheraw, Cheroenhaka (Cheroenkhaka, Cherokhaka), Cherokee, Chetco, Cheyenne (Cheyanne), Chickamaugan, Chickasaw, Chilcotin, Chilula-Wilkut, Chimariko, Chinook, Chinook Jargon, Chipewyan (Chipewyin), Chippewa, Chitimacha (Chitamacha), Chocheno, Choctaw, Cholon, Chontal de Tabasco (Chontal Maya), Choynimni (Choinimni), Chukchansi, Chumash, Clackamas (Clackama), Clallam, Clatskanie (Clatskanai), Clatsop, Cmique, Coastal Cree, Cochimi, Cochiti, Cocopa (Cocopah), Coeur d'Alene, Cofan, Columbia (Columbian), Colville, Comanche, Comcaac, Comox, Conestoga, Coos (Coosan), Copper River Athabaskan, Coquille, Cora, Coso, Costanoan, Coushatta, Cowichan, Cowlitz, Cree, Creek, Croatan (Croatoan), Crow, Cruzeño, Cuna, Cucupa (Cucapa), Cupeño (Cupa), Cupik (Cu'pik, Cuit)
D Dakelh, Dakota, Dakubetede, Dawson, Deg Xinag (Deg Hit'an), Delaware, Dena'ina (Denaina), Dene, Dene Suline (Denesuline), Dene Tha, Diegueno, Dine (Dineh), Dogrib, Dohema (Dohma), Dumna, Dunne-za (Dane-zaa, Dunneza),
H Haida, Haisla, Halkomelem (Halqomeylem), Hän (Han Hwech'in), Hanis, Hare, Hatteras, Haudenosaunee, Havasupai, Hawaiian, Heiltsuk, Heve, Hiaki, Hichiti (Hitchiti), Hidatsa, Hocak (Ho-Chunk, Hochunk), Holikachuk, Homalco, Hoopa, Hopi, Hopland Pomo, Hualapai, Huelel, Huichol, Huichun, Hupa, Huron
I Illini (Illiniwek, Illinois), Inca, Ineseño (Inezeño), Ingalik (Ingalit), Innoko, Innu, Inuktitut (Inupiat, Inupiaq, Inupiatun), Iowa-Oto (Ioway), Iroquois Confederacy, Ishak, Isleño, Isleta, Itza Maya (Itzah), Iviatim, Iynu
K Kabinapek, Kainai (Kainaiwa), Kalapuya (Kalapuyan, Kalapooya), Kalina (Kaliña), Kanenavish, Kanien'kehaka (Kanienkehaka), Kalispel, Kansa (Kanza, Kanze), Karankawa, Karkin, Karok (Karuk), Kashaya, Kaska, Kaskaskia, Kathlamet, Kato, Kaw, Kenaitze (Kenai), Keres (Keresan), Kichai, Kickapoo (Kikapu), Kiliwa (Kiliwi), Kiowa, Kiowa Apache, Kitanemuk, Kitsai, Klahoose, Klallam, Klamath-Modoc, Klatskanie (Klatskanai), Klatsop, Klickitat, Koasati, Kolchan, Konkow (Konkau), Konomihu, Kootenai (Ktunaxa, Kutenai), Koso, Koyukon, Kuitsh, Kulanapo (Kulanapan, Kulanapa), Kumeyaay (Kumiai), Kuna, Kupa, Kusan, Kuskokwim, Kutchin (Kootchin), Kwaiailk, Kwakiutl (Kwakwala), Kwalhioqua, Kwantlen, Kwapa (Kwapaw), Kwinault (Kwinayl)
L Laguna, Lakhota (Lakota), Lakmiak (Lakmayut), Lassik, Laurentian (Lawrencian), Lecesem, Lenape (Lenni Lenape), Lillooet, Lipan Apache, Listiguj (Listuguj), Lnuk (L'nuk, L'nu'k, Lnu), Lokono, Loucheux (Loucheaux), Loup, Lower Chehalis, Lower Coquille, Lower Cowlitz, Lower Tanana, Lower Umpqua, Luckiamute (Lukiamute), Luiseño, Lumbee, Lummi, Lushootseed, Lutuamian
M Macushi (Macusi), Mahican, Maidu, Maina (Mayna), Makah, Makushi, Maliseet (Maliceet, Malisit, Malisset), Mandan, Mapuche (Mapudungun, Mapudugan), Maricopa, Massachusett (Massachusetts), Massasoit (Massassoit, Mashpee), Mattabesic Mattole, Maumee, Matlatzinca, Mayan, Mayo, Mengwe, Menominee (Menomini), Mescalero-Chiricahua, Meskwaki (Mesquakie), Metis Creole, Miami-Illinois, Miccosukee, Michif, Micmac (Mi'gmaq), Migueleño, Mikasuki, Mi'kmaq (Mikmawisimk), Mingo, Minqua, Minsi, Minto, Miskito (Mosquito), Missouria, Miwok (Miwuk), Mixe, Mixtec (Mixteco, Mixteca), Mobilian Trade Jargon, Modoc, Mohave, Mohawk, Mohegan, Mohican, Mojave, Molale (Molalla, Molala), Monache (Mono), Montagnais, Montauk, Moosehide, Multnomah, Munsee (Munsie, Muncey, Muncie), Muskogee (Muscogee, Mvskoke), Musqueam, Mutsun
N Nabesna, Nadot'en (Natoot'en, Natut'en), Nahane (Nahani, Nahanne), Nahuat, Nahuatl, Nakoda (Nakota), Nambe, Nanticoke, Nantucket, Narragansett, Naskapi, Nass-Gitxsan, Natchez, Natick, Naugutuck, Navajo (Navaho), Nawat, Nayhiyuwayin, Nde, Nee-me-poo, Nehiyaw (Nehiyawok), Netela, New Blackfoot, Newe, Nez Perce, Niantic, Nicola, Niitsipussin (Niitsitapi), Nimiipuu (Nimi'ipu), Nipmuc, Nisenan (Nishinam), Nisga'a (Nisgaa, Nishga), Nlaka'pamux (Nlakapamux), Nomlaki, Nooksack (Nooksak), Nootka (Nutka), Nootsak, Northeastern Pomo, Northern Carrier, Northern Cheyenne, Nottoway, Nuu-chaa-nulth (Nuuchahnulth), Nuxalk
O Obispeño, Ocuilteco, Odawa, Ofo, Ogahpah (Ogaxpa), Ohlone, Ojibwa (Ojibway, Ojibwe, Ojibwemowin), Oji-Cree, Okanagan (Okanogan), Okwanuchu, Old Blackfoot, Omaha-Ponca, Oneida, Onondaga, O'ob No'ok (O:b No'ok), O'odham (Oodham), Opata, Osage, Otchipwe, Otoe, Ottawa
P Pai, Paipai, Paiute, Palaihnihan (Palaihnih, Palahinihan), Palewyami, Palouse, Pamlico, Panamint, Papago-Pima, Pascua Yaqui, Passamaquoddy, Patuxet, Patwin, Paugussett (Paugusset), Pawnee, Peigan, Pend D'Oreille, Penobscot (Pentagoet), Pentlatch (Pentlach), Peoria, Pequot, Picuris, Piegan (Piikani), Pima, Pima Bajo, Pipil, Pit River, Plains Indian Sign Language, Pojoaque, Pomo (Pomoan), Ponca, Poospatuck (Poosepatuk, Poospatuk, Poosepatuck), Popoluca (Popoloca), Potawatomi (Pottawatomie, Potawatomie), Powhatan, Pueblo, Puget Sound Salish, Purisimeño, Putún
S Saanich, Sac, Sahaptin, Salhulhtxw, Salinan, Salish, Samish, Sandia, Sanish (Sahnish), San Felipe, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Sanpoil, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santiam, Santo Domingo, Saponi, Sarcee (Sarsi), Sastean (Sasta), Satsop, Savannah, Sauk, Saulteaux, Schaghticoke (Scaticook), Sechelt, Secwepemc (Secwepmectsin), Sekani, Selkirk, Seminoles, Seneca, Seri, Serrano, Seshelt, Severn Ojibwe, Shanel, Shasta (Shastan), Shawnee (Shawano), Shinnecock, Shoshone (Shoshoni), Shuar, Shuswap, Siksika (Siksikawa), Siletz, Similkameen, Sinkiuse (Sincayuse), Sinkyone, Sioux, Siuslaw, Skagit, Skicin, S'Klallam, Skokomish, Skraeling, Skwamish, Slavey (Slave, Slavi), Sliammon (Sliamon), Sm'algyax, Snichim, Snohomish, Songish, Sooke, Souriquois (Sourquois), Southeastern Pomo, Southern Paiute, Spokane (Spokan), Squamish, Sqwxwu7mesh, Stadaconan, St'at'imcets (St'at'imc), Stockbridge, Sto:lo, Stoney, Straits Salish, Sugpiaq, Suquamish, Susquehannock, Suwal, Swampy Cree, Swinomish
T Tabasco Chontal, Tachi (Tache), Taensa, Tahltan, Tagish, Tahcully, Taino, Takelma (Takilma), Takla, Taltushtuntude, Tamyen, Tanacross, Tanaina, Tanana, Tano, Taos, Tarahumara, Tataviam, Tauira (Tawira), Teguime, Tehachapi, Ten'a, Tenino, Tepehuano (Tepecano), Tequistlateco (Tequistlatec), Tesuque, Tetes-de-Boules, Tewa, Thompson, Tigua, Tillamook, Timbisha (Timbasha), Timucua, Tinde, Tinneh, Tiwa, Tjekan, Tlahuica (Tlahura), Tlatskanie (Tlatskanai), Tlatsop, Tlicho Dinne, Tlingit, Tohono O'odham, Tolowa, Tongva, Tonkawa, Towa, Tsalagi (Tsa-la-gi), Tsattine, Tsekani (Tsek'ehne), Tsetsehestahese, Tsetsaut, Tsilhqot'in (Tzilkotin), Tsimshian (Tsimpshian), Tsitsistas, Tsooke, Tsoyaha, Tsuu T'ina (Tsuutina), Tualatin, Tubar (Tubare), Tubatulabal, Takudh, Tulalip, Tumpisa (Tümbisha, Tumbisha), Tunica, Tupi, Tuscarora, Tutchone, Tutelo, Tututni, Tuwa'duqutsid, Twana, Twatwa (Twightwee)
W Wailaki (Wailakki), Wailatpu (Waylatpu), Walapai, Walla Walla, Wampano, Wampanoag, Wanapam, Wanki (Wangki), Wappinger, Wappo, Warijio (Warihio, Warijío), Warm Springs, Wasco-Wishram, Washo (Washoe), Wazhazhe, Wea, Wenatchi (Wenatchee), Wendat, Weott, Western Pomo, Whilkut, White Clay People, Wichita (Witchita), Wikchamni, Willapa (Willopah), Winnebago, Wintu (Wintun), Wishram, Witsuwit'en (Witsuwiten), Wiyot (Wi'yot, Wishosk), Wolastoqewi (Wolastoqiyik), Wyandot (Wyandotte)
Y Yakama (Yakima), Yanesha, Yaquina (Yakonan, Yakon), Yavapai, Yawelmani, Yaqui, Yinka Dene, Yneseño (Ynezeño), Yocot'an, Yokaia (Yakaya), Yokuts (Yokut, Yokutsan), Yoncalla (Yonkalla), Yowlumni, Ysleño, Ysleta del Sur, Yucatec Maya (Yucateco, Yucatan), Yuchi (Yuchee) Yuki (Yukian), Yuma, Yupik (Yu'pik, Yuit), Yurok (Yu'rok)
OTHER TAINO RESOURCES:Taino Taino Pride Taino Petroglyphs Taino Image Gallery The Artisans of Boriken The Jatibonicu Caney Longhouse The Little Taino Rainbow Crafts Shop The Dictionary of The Spoken Taino Language The Tekesta Taino Tribal Band of Bimini Florida The Lost Taino Tribe