The Myth of Taíno survival in the Spanish speaking Caribbean

In recent years, a small but growing number of Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Dominicans have adopted an exclusive indigenous or Taíno ethnicity. They have done so despite evidence showing that pure blooded Native Americans became extinct in the western Caribbean by the early decades of the seventeenth century, if not earlier, Gabriel Haslip-Viera argues in this article from The Venture.

These individuals have also played fast and loose with concepts of race and ethnicity. They have done so with words and phrases such as “extinction” and “indigenous survival” to justify their claims.

In the early part of the last decade, Puerto Rico’s news media made a big deal of studies that showed that 61% of Puerto Ricans had a trace or a small amount of indigenous DNA dating back to the sixteenth century, passed exclusively through a single female line of ancestry in an individual’s family tree (the mother’s line). This finding was used and abused in an exaggerated, self-serving manner by would-be later day Taínos and their advocates as evidence supporting their claims for an exclusive indigenous pedigree.

However, another study was largely ignored at the time (and since). It that showed that 70% of Puerto Ricans had European DNA, along with 20% who had African DNA and only 10% who had Amerindian DA – this time passed through a single male line in the individual’s family tree (the father’s line).

As it turned out, these studies, when considered together in a sober manner, provide actual evidence for what had been concluded all along by scientists, social scientists and historians – Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Cubans have been and are persons of genetically mixed backgrounds. Eventually, these studies were also criticized for their very limited utility because of two characteristics. First is their focus on distant ancestry. Second, their focus on single male and female lineages that ignore thousands of other males and females who contributed genetic material to an individual’s family tree during the past 500 years.

Ongoing research since the last decade undercuts claims for an exclusive indigenous pedigree by would-be later day Taínos and their supporters. So called “autosomal” or “admixture tests” show that Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Cubans are persons of mixed ethnic background – mostly European and African. with significantly smaller percentages of the indigenous and others. These studies have also been criticized for their limited utility, but they have also been judged to be more reliable than studies that focus on distant ancestry and on single male and female lines of ancestry (See table and sources below).

Claims have been made by would-be Taínos and their supporters that substantial numbers of Taínos fled into the mountainous interior regions of Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo and Cuba in the sixteenth century and remained biologically pure in isolation of Spanish colonial society in the centuries that followed. These claims have not been demonstrated. On the contrary, the genetic and historical evidence shows that surviving Taínos were joined by impoverished Europeans, runaway African slaves and others to form the mixed Jibaro, Guajiro, and Cibaeño peasant populations of rural interior Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo and Cuba in the centuries after 1550 or 1600. The claim by Anthony Castanha (as reported in a previous NiLP Network posting) that the Puerto Rican Jibaro is Native American is, therefore, patently absurd.

It also needs to be said that the genetic make-up of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans has little or no connection to the way race and ethnicity are socially constructed at the present time in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and its Diaspora. The traditionally crude and simplistic Eurocentric concepts of race and ethnicity and their connected patterns of prejudice and discrimination, aimed mostly at persons defined as black or mulatto, continue to prevail among Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Dominicans. This has occurred despite efforts to promote a “rainbow” model of race mixture.

These concepts have also been adopted by the later day Taínos to justify their claims for a pure indigenous pedigree. This is, in part, an attempt to separate them from persons of African background and from Europeans – especially Spaniards – who they see as colonial oppressors whose contributions to society and culture is to be ignored or rejected in the articulation of their identity.

Commentary from National Institute for Latino Policy

For the original report go to http://www.theventureonline.com/2011/12/the-myth-of-taino-survival-in-the-spanish-speaking-caribbean/

15 thoughts on “The Myth of Taíno survival in the Spanish speaking Caribbean

  1. Read Sherina Feliciano-Santos’s extremely insightful PhD dissertation (Linguistic Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) for a much more nuanced discussion of what people who claim Taino heritage actually say (which does not coincide with the portrayal in this article).

    An Inconceivable Indigeneity? The Historical, Cultural, and Interactional Dimensions of Puerto Rican Taíno Activism

    http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/84542

    This dissertation examines the historical, institutional, and interactional dimensions of Taíno activism in Puerto Rico. Particularly, I consider how the presumed extinction of the Taíno in Puerto Rico has served to limit their claims to indigeneity as well as the role that they can play in public policy debates concerning the management of indigenous human remains and sacred sites. Drawing on two years of ethnographic research in Puerto Rico, I argue that Taíno activists address and reconfigure widespread historical narratives within everyday interactions. I propose that Taíno activists seek to reposition the histories that erase them by focusing particularly on three factors: (1) the incongruity between the life stories and documents that inform prevalent historical narratives premised on the Taíno extinction and the personal and filial trajectories that inform current claims to being Taíno, (2) the ensuing discrepant interpretations of ambiguous terms in historical documents, and (3) the repair of Taíno erasure through the active reclamation of Taíno identity in cultural and linguistic terms. I examine how these incongruities, ambiguities and repairs materialize at various levels of social action: within discursive and interactional realignments, through recruitment encounters, in the socialization of novices, in the course of creating a Taíno script, throughout the manufacture of Taíno speech forms, and in bureaucratic encounters. The dissertation shows how these social dimensions have been involved in the recent public emergence of Taíno as an increasingly visible social identification in Puerto Rico.

    1. I am so glad you brought up SHerina’s dissertation. She is a colleague at Vassar College and her work deserves greater attention.

    2. It needs to be said that much has been written on this issue since this item was posted in 2011/2012. Also, several items and articles had already been written prior to these years. Prof. La Fountain did not consult or explore any of my writings on this issue which might have resulted in a different assessment on his part. In the years since 2011/2012, I have published the book “Race, Identity and Indigenous Politics: Puerto Rican Neo-Taínos in the Diaspora and the Island” (2014). This publication cites Sherina Feliciano Santos’ very important dissertation, which however, has yet to be published as a book.

      1. The Fact that La Fountain did not consult or explore any of your writings on this issue, shows that not a lot of People are on board with your racist Views.

  2. PART 4
    6. Conclusion

    Unfortunately, genetics are no panacea for identifying Indian ancestry. Ancestry, although based in our genes through mating practices, migration and evolutionary forces, is also based upon kinship-cultural affiliation that equates “blood” in the purest metaphorical sense. Racial ideology has persisted in genetic methods claiming authenticity in technological rigor. Not unlike the physical anthropologists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, biological determinism and its modern equivalent genetic essentialism are often difficult to move away from. Race, ethnicity, and even identity are social constructs not easily established in human biology. How American Indian identity is defined, then, should not be based on exclusive criteria. However, tempting it may be to use Euro-American definitions of identity to maintain a cultural uniqueness, blood quantum is not the solution. What is needed, as explained by Beckenhauer [16] is to work toward a functional definition of identity, one of how to reconcile cultural affiliation and self-identification with exclusionary definitions based on biology, a necessity to effectively allocate limited federal funds, thus striking a balance between inclusivity and exclusivity. Identity is not something that can be cordoned off with definable, fixed boundaries. It must be in continual process, one that allows a fluid identity fixed in cultural construction, not something inherently and innately fixed in the human genome, defined by blood or any other facet of biology (real or imagined).

    Acknowledgment

    The author would like to thank Gregory Campbell for discussion and implementation of this paper. His remarks greatly clarified numerous issues surrounding American Indian identity and the use of blood quantum in American Indian communities.”

  3. PART 3
    As a consequence of increased interaction, over 60 percent of all American Indians are married to non-Indians, which has certain implications pertaining to group membership (as established by blood quantum), heritage, and identity. For example, Congress has estimated by the year 2080 less than 8 percent of American Indians will have one-half or more Indian “blood” [33]. This raises several interesting identity questions, one important question being how much “racial admixture” can occur before American Indian people cease to be identified as a distinct people? Individuals enrolled in federally recognized tribes receive a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, specifying a certain degree of Indian blood. Each tribe has its own blood quantum requirements. Some, like the Cherokee of Oklahoma, do not have a minimum quantum [34], while others have more restrictive requirements (1/2 or more). What dangers are posed to American Indian sovereignty and continuity if the tribes and the federal government continue to identify “Native American” on a racial instead of a cultural or more explicitly political basis?

    Blood Quantum’s Contemporary: Genetic Testing

    Can an individual’s ethnicity be identified by the genetics of his biology? This question is often investigated through the use of genetic testing that allows individuals to see “where they came from” [16]. A brief Google search on the Internet reveals a number of websites and companies that offer genetic testing that will reveal one’s ancestry and by definition, one’s ethnicity. But ethnicities are fluid cultural constructions that can change multiple times, not something easily identifiable in our genes. This issue has been studied in a legal context by Beckenhauer [16], who discusses contemporary methods of ancestral determinations (through DNA markers) and asks if such an approach is an improvement over the simplistic assumptions of blood quantum. Ultimately, genetic means are still rooted in a biologically determined significance, and not in kinship patterns that are culturally identifiable.

    Biological anthropologists and geneticists have been fascinated by American Indian biology and as such have put forth probing literature into Native American origins, colonization, variation, and identity [36–39]. The majority of these studies use either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or Y-chromosome DNA as the unit of analysis due to uniparental inheritance (maternal for mtDNA and paternal for Y-chromosome). That is, lineages can easily be traced through the mother or father using either of these two methodologies because of the non-recombining nature of their genetic makeup. Unique haplogroups are specific to populations, such as may be found among Native American groups. For example, American Indian mtDNA haplogroup typing has revealed a few “major” haplogroups [37]. These include haplogroups A, B, C, D, and X (although X has also been linked to European groups). Some researchers believe the identification of these haplogroups should be able to facilitate establishing ancestor/descendent relationships between modern and prehistoric groups of Native Americans [37].

    These findings could have significant implications for individuals and tribes alike. TallBear [17] discusses the case of the Western Mohegan tribe, who contracted for genetic testing to “prove” their legal status as a federally recognized tribe in the state of Vermont. The Mohegan tribe had little documentation, supporting ethnographic evidence, and had not signed a treaty, thereby lacking the requisite genealogical information necessary to make a case for tribal recognition. Through genetic testing, members of the tribe were able to genetically relate to an existing tribe, located in Wisconsin. Native American tribes feared this case (and pending legislation) might implement stricter regulatory procedure underlying Indian identity; that is, the requirement of taking a DNA test to prove tribal affiliation. Future legislation, coupled with genetic analyses, coincides with previous attempts to equate culture with biology such that assumptions which continue to be perpetuated in determining a persons’ or peoples’ political rights and cultural identity are biologically determined.

  4. PART 2

    “There’s this ignorance about Native American citizenship,” said Good Fox. “And what are we learning about American Indians grades K-12? It’s all in past-tense, and we don’t get a sense of what an Indian today looks like. That can really be confusing to people.”

    The Above is a north Americans Tribes mens take on the ignorance and stereotypes of Native Americans that were based on Blood Quantum’s imposed by the conquerers.

    But lets take a more Scientific and Legal approach to the Question

    American Indian Identity and Blood Quantum in the 21st Century: A Critical Review

    Abstract

    “Identity in American Indian communities has continually been a subject of contentious debate among legal scholars, federal policy-makers, anthropologists, historians, and even within Native American society itself. As American Indians have a unique relationship with the United States, their identity has continually been redefined and reconstructed over the last century and a half. This has placed a substantial burden on definitions for legal purposes and tribal affiliation and on American Indians trying to self-identify within multiple cultural contexts. Is there an appropriate means to recognize and define just who is an American Indian? One approach has been to define identity through the use of blood quantum, a metaphorical construction for tracing individual and group ancestry. This paper will review the utility of blood quantum by examining the cultural, social, biological, and legal implications inherent in using such group membership and, further, how American Indian identity is being affected.”

    “American Indians have maintained throughout history higher degrees of sociocultural inclusiveness and interaction (i.e., breeding and intermarriage) with other tribes then do non-Indian peoples (Europeans, Africans). Admixed individuals were apparently accepted into Native society with few reservations, though this is most likely a broad generalization not applicable to all groups inhabiting native North America.

    The arrival of Europeans brought changes to group identity. Concerns of Indian identity and how it has been commodified and expropriated through continuing colonial practice have been raised [1]. Europeans not only expropriated land and resources, but also Indian identity. Over the next few centuries, the issue of identity shifted from indigenous social-cultural-territorial-based definitions to legal and frequently race-based definitions arbitrarily articulated in congressional laws, administrative regulations, or court cases. In other words, American Indian identity was commodified through bureaucratic procedure

    Early scientific analysis sought to explain and perpetuate the race concept by applying technological and methodological rigor to the study of innate biological differences among human groups. Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778), considered the founder of scientific taxonomy, established a classificatory system still in use today that denotes all living forms by “genus” and “species.” This taxonomic system was also applied to the human species [6], under the false assumption that humans could be divided into subgroups, such as a subspecies. Group differences and subsequent descriptions indiscriminately mixed physical features with supposed traits for character, disposition, and behavior (all features seen today as external and cultural). Broken up into four “species,” Linnaeus defined predominate geographical human groups (Americanus, Asiaticus, Africanus, and Europeaus) using innate terminology not only for physical characteristics but also qualities of behavior and temperament ascribed to fixed entities.

    The use of “blood” to trace ancestry has historical roots, mainly applied to persons of “mixed” blood. Meyer [2] explores the etymological roots of the term “blood” and notes that its use extends deep into Anglo-Saxon tribal psychology. By 1200, the term blood became increasingly synonymous with lineage, descent, and ancestry in association with royal claims to property and power and “presages modern conceptions of “race.”” Meyer [2] claims that native conceptions of blood were more subtle and nuanced and did not necessarily connote physiological meaning. However, as American Indian and European relations progressed, native peoples began to adopt the strictly physiological meaning of blood, deemphasizing the metaphorical extension of kinship and lineage. In the context of people with admixed blood, Meyer [2] observes

  5. PART 1

    This whole argument boils down to 2 questions
    1) are there Pure blooded Taino? or as he has only recently edited to say “which actually meant the following: The pre-Columbian indigenous were 100% pure indigenous (indigenous genetic mix) ” The answer is NO

    2) Who is Native American?

    Extensive Research has been Done on this Subject as I will demonstrate in a moment, since Colonization of the Americas there has been an extensive Effort by Governments and Neo Spaniards to Erase who we are by Blood Quantum ,and Today in modern times by its equivalent genetic testing.

    1) The first question is there any pure blooded Taino or North American tribes Left?
    The answer is clearly NO! so we should move to the second question

    2) Who is Native American?

    Some NorthernAmerican Tribes have adopted the following formula

    “Many tribes use parentage as a means of defining membership. Known as “blood quantum,” the practice defines tribal membership according to the degree of “pure blood” belonging to that tribe. For example, a person with one grandparent belonging to one tribe and three grandparents not belonging to that tribe would be considered to have a “blood quantum” of one-quarter. The minimum amount of blood quantum required can be as little as one-thirty-second (equivalent to one great-great-great-grandparent) or as high as one-half (equivalent to one full-blooded tribal parent).”

    But many People consider that being part of a Tribe doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have one drop of Blood of any Native Groups, in this case cultural affinity would play a stronger role to define the individual.

    ” says Renee Holt, a doctoral student at Washington State University who studies cultural studies and social thought in education. Her research of different traditional indigenous tribal practices indicates that most tribes did not use blood quantum as the primary determinant of who was a member and who was not. In the case of the Nez Perce tribe, of which Holt is a member, belonging to the tribe meant you spoke the language and followed cultural practices. One did not necessarily have to be of 100% Nez Perce blood to be part of the tribe – cultural affinity was considered more important.

    As an example, Holt mentions her uncle, who was adopted as a boy by her great-grandmother and raised alongside her aunt. The uncle lived among the tribe throughout his life, spoke Nez Perce fluently, had a traditional tribal name, and participated in ceremonies and rituals. He was white – but his skin color didn’t prevent him from being considered a member of the tribe. Upon his death, he was given a traditional funeral.

    “I just thought that was amazing. How do you tell somebody like that that they’re not Nez Perce?” asked Holt.”

    “Blood quantum was imposed upon the tribes by the United States. We never had blood quantum a thousand years ago,” said Good Fox, who is herself a member of the Pawnee tribe.

    Some historians believe this was a way of diminishing the number of “actual” Native Americans that the government would then be obligated to count when calculating federal money and land disbursed to the tribes. Among some 19th and early 20th century politicians, there was also the hope that eventually, Native Americans would intermarry and assimilate with whites to the point that they would no longer have the power of a cohesive group – and would no longer have a right to land and monetary payments from the government.

    “It seems to me one of the ways of getting rid of the Indian question is just this of intermarriage, and the gradual fading out of the Indian blood; the whole quality and character of the aborigine disappears, they lose all of the traditions of the race; there is no longer any occasion to maintain the tribal relations, and there is then every reason why they shall go and take their place as white people do everywhere,” said Anthony Higgins, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, in 1895 congressional testimony.”

    Good Fox said the popular perception of Native Americans is rooted in stereotypes – the idea that a “real Indian” looks and acts a certain way, and that anyone who doesn’t conform to that image is somehow “less Indian.” But the truth is more diverse – different tribes can have different physical characteristics, and intermarriage among other ethnic groups mean that Native Americans often have a multiracial background.

    “I think people still have this perception that all American Indians look like this image of Plains Indians from the 1800s,” said Good Fox. “We don’t look like how we would have 200 years ago either, so to expect Indians to look the same (as they did then) makes no sense.

  6. Neo Spaniards , and other Critics promote a fallacy of Blood Quantums and who can and cant be considerd Native American.
    He says things such
    “In recent years, a small but growing number of Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Dominicans have adopted an exclusive indigenous or Taíno ethnicity. They have done so despite evidence showing that pure blooded Native Americans became extinct in the western Caribbean by the early decades of the seventeenth century, if not earlier.”
    Yes but Taino’s continued until Today despite;

    “According to some authors [3, 14, 31, 32], the continued use of blood quantum as a way to ascribe membership in a Native American tribe has dire consequences. These authors feel blood-quantum policies are little other than genocidal (or “autogenocide by definitional and statistical extermination” as characterized by Churchill [3, page 51]), which will ultimately end with extinction of the original indigenous people of native North America. Summarizing the process (although slightly generalizing at the same time), Limerick [31, page 338] writes, “Set the blood quantum at one-quarter, hold to it as a rigid definition of Indians, let intermarriage proceed as it had for centuries, and eventually Indians will be defined out of existence. When that happens, the federal government will be freed of its persistent “Indian problem.””

    This is how Governments have tryed to erase who we are as a people.

    Tainos of today must prove themselves to the Tainos of 1492 ,yet Spaniards of today are not compared to Spaniards of 1492 in order to prove they are Spaniards.
    if you consider yourself a true scholar you should have more respect for the self identification of a People who have not been counted for hundreds of years.
    Remember Taino as a category was taken out by the Spaniards if I’m correct sometime in the 1800, yet the Paroquial records or Puerto Rico show a multitude of Puerto Ricans Identifing themselves with Taino First names and Sur names soon after they were counted out of the census(Erased as a People).
    This research was First done by Yael Coriano.

    Please read Part 1,2,3 and 4 of my post below

  7. “Yael Coriano” or his or her partner has articulated similar claims on other websites (e.g.: “The Venture Magazine”) in response to this old December 2011 “article” (actually, an internet posting [partial] which was part of a much longer “debate” on another network).

    The narrative and claims made by “Coriano” are often contradictory and hopelessly confused as they are here. They ignore, distort and misrepresent statements that I have made in this “article” and also in other writings they have self-servingly ignored. Coriano has also based his or her narrative on the legal experiences of Native Americans on the U.S. mainland, Alaska and (technically) Hawai’i as states of the Union which are not applicable to Puerto Rico (an unincorporated territory of the U.S) and the rest of the independent Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Coriano’s narrative seems to be mostly lifted (is lifted) from writing by others as seen by the preservation of original endnotes numbers but without the inclusion of actual references. Examples of the distortions and misrepresentations (etc.) of my positions are as follows:

    (1) I have never referenced the idea or applied the term “blood quantum” to Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Latin@s in any of my writings or public pronouncements, nor have applied the term to any other group. It’s also not used or applied by scholars who have focused on the issue of indigeneity in these societies. “Blood quantum” is an issue of legal importance to Native American tribes on the U.S. mainland (etc.) and has no relevance or applicability to Puerto Ricans or other Caribbean Latino@s.

    (2) Cariano and the Neo-Taínos have complained about my use of the term “pure blooded Native Americans” to refer to the pre-1492 indigenous population in the Caribbean and its connection to the term “extinction.” They do this at the same time that quite a number of them claim to be pure indigenous. Moreover, the whole idea of an exclusive Neo-Taíno pedigree and identity is based on the idea of purity. In my experience, you never hear the Neo-Taínos talk about their mixed background unless they’re pressed on the issue. Neo-Taíno discourses erase and hardly ever reference the African, European, and Asian components in their biological and cultural background. More importantly, however, there are the facts about this issue that follow. The pre-Columbian indigenous population of the 1490s was indeed purely indigenous with no connection, genetic or otherwise with the African, European and Asian populations of the same period. After separating from their East Asian forebears some 18-23,000 years ago, Native Americans had evolved in isolation from the rest of the world. Likewise, the populations of the other continents had evolved in isolation from the indigenous populations of the Americas during the same time period. There was genetic mixture within the evolving Native American population, but it was all indigenous—no connection to Africa, Europe, and Asia. This is why for example, the indigenous population was decimated and almost totally wiped in some regions by the introduction of diseases from Europe, Africa and Asia in the years that followed the contact that was established between these two populations in the 1490s. The indigenous populations did not have the immunities that were built-up in the African, European and Asian populations during the previous 18-23,000 years and earlier…and yes, the pure indigenous population of the pre-1492 Caribbean became extinct as the survivors of the early Spanish colonial holocaust of disease, conquest and enslavement mixed with Africans, Europeans and other to create the new mixed hybrid population that has evolved up to the present time. In addition, what was true along the coasts of the islands was also true of the highlands according to biological logic and historical evidence which also experience an influx of Africans and Europeans right from the start of the colonial period. As a result, Neo-Taínos are merely part of the mixed hybrid populations of the contemporary period regardless of their claims.

    (3) And sorry, Coriano cannot ignore, or even worse, reject genetic testing out of hand with regard to Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Latin@s. As noted by Coriano, her sources tell us that genetic testing is a controversy among north American Indians on the mainland where it has legalistic implications, but this is not the case in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. More importantly, the Neo-Tainos were actually all in favor of genetic testing in the late 1990s and early 2000s (they truly loved it!!!) when Juan Carlos Martínez-Cruzado publicly hyped his research of genetic testing on Puerto Ricans which falsely made it seem like Puerto Ricans had substantial amounts of indigenous DNA. However, this research based on mitochondria (mtDNA) was, and remains of limited value especially when applied to hybrid populations (e.g.: Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Latin@s). This research is sometime still cited as being relevant even today by Neo-Taínos but it’s almost never connected to important research on the Y-chromosome which is an absolute must. The much better “autosomal” research done on Puerto Rican and other Caribbean Latin@s (with some flaws) is not liked at all by Coriano and the Neo-Taínos because it consistently shows that the indigenous component in the genetic make-up of Caribbean Latin@s is quite minor—only 12 to 13% on average for Puerto Ricans with Europeans, Africans (etc.) as the majority component. This percentage accurately reflects the actual reality we see today—a mixed, hybrid Puerto Rican and Caribbean Latin@ population (and culture). On the contrary, genetic testing does not “erase” the indigenous component in the genome of Puerto Ricans and other Cartibbean Latin@s as falsely suggested by Coriano.

    (4) Perhaps more importantly than anything else, no group in Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic has claimed indigeneity as an organized, cohesive and labelled indigenous or “Taíno” tribe since the very early 1500s with a probable small exception for a group in eastern Cuba. The “cacicazgos” of the pre-Columbian populations (18 in Puerto Rico in the 1490s) disappeared as a result of the near total biological extinction of these populations in the early to mid-1500s (with final natural extinction by the early 1600s). Indigenous “tribes” have only been invented in recent decades (since the1960s at the earliest) on both the island and the mainland (e.g.: New Jersey) by Neo-Taínos. In other words, there is no established long-term historical tradition that justifies the assertion of “survival” in contrast to what has prevailed on the U.S. mainland. First names and surnames going back whenever are not evidence and neither are the earlier, recently invented or contemporary so-called oral traditions and stories. Claims about the existence of evidence in parochial documents have also not been provided and would be problematic in any case.

    (5) And yes—“Race, ethnicity, and even identity are social constructs” as noted by Coriano’s source. But the construct of an exclusive Taíno pedigree and identity among Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Latin@s is not based on any evidence provided by anthropology, history, genetics and culture.

    1. Gabriel said “Blood quantum” is an issue of legal importance to Native American tribes on the U.S. mainland (etc.) and has no relevance or applicability to Puerto Ricans or other Caribbean Latino@s. The law of the land is the law of the Land. Unfortunately The Law of the USA applies to Puerto Rico. Specifically Federal Law!!!!! But let’s set Mans law aside, let’s see what the People Themselfs think about the subject.
      for the first time since 1700 there was a Census in Borinquen in 2010 in which Boricuas were allowed to self Identify and choose Native American as an option. 68.8 identified as whites ,9.8 as Afro Boricuas, and .03 as Native Americans.

      Boricuas Never stopped Identifying as Native Americans Despite attempts by the Government and Church to convert Indians to Whites. There is an example in our History in which the Indians that were good hard working Christians who no longer spoke they’re native language were not counted in the census as Indians!
      Indigenous People of Borinquen never Disapeared as Gabriel Claimed, I conducted my Own Personal Research. sometime in the 1700 Spain no longer counted Indians in Census, as such I was Curios if there was anyway for People who Considered themself Indigenous to express themself as such. My First thought was First and Last Names of Peoples is a Clear form of Expression. When I looked at records of the 1700 to Present day a significant Number of Boricuas choose Native American Names!
      Gabriel says ,well that does not mean they were Identifying as Native Americans! I think the world would disagree with him, I don’t think a Chinese person would ever Name they’re offspring Hatuey , Yael, or other native Names with the frequency of those who want to Honor their Ancestors or Culture or those who they Identify with! otherwise I would Have a Kid Named after you in Chinese (Dum Gai).
      he also says that the Indigenous People of the Americas had been Isolated in the Americas for several Thousand years and that those are the true Natives , yet those Natives Themself came from Siberia and had at one point or another walked out from Africa , mixed along the way with Asians and Europeans on their way to Americas , we all share the same Universal Human Genes? Bottom line .00001 or 100% Taino is still a Taino!

      I wrote this to you a Few years Back

      There is no Pure Race on the face of the Earth! My wife is from Brazil and her autosomal DNA test shows she is 90 percent Native American , but if you compare her to someone who is only 10 percent Native American and they both claim to be Native American then who is more Native than the other? in my opinion being Native is not about blood quantum ,but rather Culture! all Cultures are evolving and never fixed , so the preColumbus Culture of the Taino regardless of conquest was going to evolve in 500 years.
      I took my argument further and explained that the enviorment in which you live directly affects your genes with a process called epigenetic,
      Epigenetics Makes Us Unique. Even though we are all human, why do some of us have blonde hair or darker skin? Why do some of us hate the taste of mushrooms or eggplants? Why are some of us more sociable than others? The different combinations of genes that are turned on or off is what makes each one of us unique.
      As it turns out, the reality is that genes not only control, but are also controlled by our ecology(Puerto Rico)

    2. Part 2
      Burchard and colleagues analyzed 450,000 CpG sites—where DNA methylation is possible—using whole-blood samples from 573 participants of the Genes-Environment and Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA II) study, along with the participants’ array-based genetic ancestry data. About half of the children in the study identified as Puerto Rican (220) while the other half identified as having Mexican ancestry (276).
      Burchase, Galanter, and colleagues identified 916 CpG sites that were significantly associated with the participants’ self-identified ethnicities. After adjusting for genetic ancestry, a total of 314 CpG sites remained associated with self-identified ethnicity, but not with ancestry, suggesting that the methylation patterns at these 314 sites was possibly due to environmental factors. The term “phenotype” refers to the observable physical properties of an organism; these include the organism’s appearance, development, and behavior. An organism’s phenotype is determined by its genotype, which is the set of genes the organism carries, as well as by environmental influences upon these genes. in our Island for example there are some of us that choose to identify as European, African Native American , although they are of mixed ancestry. The Reason some in Borinquen choose Between the social construct of race to Identify as European , African ,or Native American I highly suspect is due to Physical observable Phenotype Brown Skin, white skin , facial Characteristics ect. , but also family oral history of where they came from, inherited culture and Environment.
      People from Our Country who look Indio will Usually Identify as such , although his Mom might Look more European and His Sister more African, hence our Genes are Distributed differently even within Families, and or depending on their cultural ties as well as Geographic Origin. Someone in our Island who has Obvious European Phenotypes or African Phenotypes will also Identify as such.
      Christopher Bell, an epigeneticist at the University of Southampton, U.K., agreed. “Whilst environmental effects associated with cultural factors influencing cell-type proportions will exist,.

      In short Puerto Rico will not be Producing Africans or Europeans anytime soon the Process of evolution for all those that had arrived started the day they left their respective Geographic Locations.
      I think a new study has to be done on how Phenotype, Cultural links , Geographic Origins and Environment Influence self Identification of the social construct we call Race.
      For now until more research is done I proclaim that anyone can self Identify as they choose.
      English is my 3rd Language Please excuse My Spanglich

    3. Let us First Establish that Africans, Europeans,Asians and Native Americans we are all the same Human Being!
      The sequencing of the human genome has provided both natural and social scientists the opportunity to gain new knowledge about the complex relationships between our socio-politically constructed definitions of race, human genetic variation and health differences. Both race and ethnicity carry connotations that reflect culture, history, socioeconomic and political status, as well as an important connection to ancestral geographic origins (Collins 2004). Humans are genetically less diverse than many other mammalian species including chimpanzees (Fischer et al. 2004; Kaessmann et al. 2001). It is difficult to define human populations of significant genetic variation because of the clinal nature of our diversity (Long and Kittles 2003). Only 5 percent to 15 percent of genetic variation occurs between continental populations leaving the majority of diversity within these groups (Jorde et al. 2000). Additionally, the significance of this diversity is blurred by inconsistencies in the definition and inclusion parameters that are used to classify populations (Long and Kittles 2003).There are no gene variants that are present in all individuals of one population group and not in individuals of another. No sharp genetic boundaries can be drawn between human population groups (Bonham et al. 2005; Race Ethnicity and Genetics Working Group 2005).

      So The Problem here is that Mr Gabriel Haslip Viera has a Problem with Boricuas (Puerto Ricans) that choose to identify as a Human from only one Geographical Area when in fact they have ancestors from Multi Geographical locations.
      Each Geographical Location represents culture, history, socioeconomic, political status, PHENOTYPE, connection to ancestral geographic origins, all which are ever Evolving they are Fluid The day you leave Africa all the above mentioned start Evolving in Different Directions, so that someone that arrived in Borinquen 200 years ago can no longer relate to present day African Culture and Vice versa.
      The Phenotypes of someone who arrived to a New Geographic Location will be Affected by the new Environment.
      Most researchers agree that individual epigenomes are partly inherited from our parents but can also change as a product of our environment.
      Burchard Questioned . “What proportion of the variation in the epigenome, meaning the methylation pattern, can be explained by genetic ancestry or self-identified race/ethnicity?”
      Burchard and colleagues analyzed 450,000 CpG sites—where DNA methylation is possible—using whole-blood samples from 573 participants of the Genes-Environment and Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA II) study, along with the participants’ array-based genetic ancestry data. About half of the children in the study identified as Puerto Rican (220) while the other half identified as having Mexican ancestry (276).
      Burchase, Galanter, and colleagues identified 916 CpG sites that were significantly associated with the participants’ self-identified ethnicities. After adjusting for genetic ancestry, a total of 314 CpG sites remained associated with self-identified ethnicity, but not with ancestry, suggesting that the methylation patterns at these 314 sites was possibly due to environmental factors. The term “phenotype” refers to the observable physical properties of an organism; these include the organism’s appearance, development, and behavior. An organism’s phenotype is determined by its genotype, which is the set of genes the organism carries, as well as by environmental influences upon these genes. in our Island for example there are some of us that choose to identify as European, African Native American , although they are of mixed ancestry. The Reason some in Borinquen choose Between the social construct of race to Identify as European , African ,or Native American I highly suspect is due to Physical observable Phenotype Brown Skin, white skin , facial Characteristics ect. , but also family oral history of where they came from, inherited culture and Environment.
      People from Our Country who look Indio will Usually Identify as such , although his Mom might Look more European and His Sister more African, hence our Genes are Distributed differently even within Families, and or depending on their cultural ties as well as Geographic Origin. Someone in our Island who has Obvious European Phenotypes or African Phenotypes will also Identify as such.
      Christopher Bell, an epigeneticist at the University of Southampton, U.K., agreed. “Whilst environmental effects associated with cultural factors influencing cell-type proportions will exist,.

      In short Puerto Rico will not be Producing Africans or Europeans anytime soon the Process of evolution for all those that had arrived started the day they left their respective Geographic Locations.
      I think a new study has to be done on how Phenotype, Cultural links , Geographic Origins and Environment Influence self Identification of the social construct we call Race.
      For now until more research is done I proclaim that anyone can self Identify as they choose.
      English is my 3rd Language Please excuse My Spanglich

  8. Let us First Establish that Africans, Europeans,Asians and Native Americans we are all the same Human Being!
    The sequencing of the human genome has provided both natural and social scientists the opportunity to gain new knowledge about the complex relationships between our socio-politically constructed definitions of race, human genetic variation and health differences. Both race and ethnicity carry connotations that reflect culture, history, socioeconomic and political status, as well as an important connection to ancestral geographic origins (Collins 2004). Humans are genetically less diverse than many other mammalian species including chimpanzees (Fischer et al. 2004; Kaessmann et al. 2001). It is difficult to define human populations of significant genetic variation because of the clinal nature of our diversity (Long and Kittles 2003). Only 5 percent to 15 percent of genetic variation occurs between continental populations leaving the majority of diversity within these groups (Jorde et al. 2000). Additionally, the significance of this diversity is blurred by inconsistencies in the definition and inclusion parameters that are used to classify populations (Long and Kittles 2003).There are no gene variants that are present in all individuals of one population group and not in individuals of another. No sharp genetic boundaries can be drawn between human population groups (Bonham et al. 2005; Race Ethnicity and Genetics Working Group 2005).

    So The Problem here is that Mr Gabriel Haslip Viera has a Problem with Boricuas (Puerto Ricans) that choose to identify as a Human from only one Geographical Area when in fact they have ancestors from Multi Geographical locations.
    Each Geographical Location represents culture, history, socioeconomic, political status, PHENOTYPE, connection to ancestral geographic origins, all which are ever Evolving they are Fluid The day you leave Africa all the above mentioned start Evolving in Different Directions, so that someone that arrived in Borinquen 200 years ago can no longer relate to present day African Culture and Vice versa.
    The Phenotypes of someone who arrived to a New Geographic Location will be Affected by the new Environment.
    Most researchers agree that individual epigenomes are partly inherited from our parents but can also change as a product of our environment.
    Burchard Questioned . “What proportion of the variation in the epigenome, meaning the methylation pattern, can be explained by genetic ancestry or self-identified race/ethnicity?”

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