U.S. Virgin Islands Communities Promote Taíno Heritage in the Caribbean


(Calling Dr. Haslip-Vieira et al!) The Voice of the Taíno People Online, “a syndicated indigenous news service dedicated to increasing the visibility of Taíno and other native peoples from throughout the Caribbean region and the Diaspora in the spirit of our ancestors,” announced that in early December, Opia Taíno of St. Thomas and the United Confederation of Taíno People adopted a Declaration of Unity at Magens Bay, St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands). [For more details on the pro-Taíno roots movement, see Puerto Rico, Dominica and Cuba embrace their Taíno Indian heritage and Puerto Rico: Afro-Caribbean and Taíno Identity.] See more of the original article below:

The historic treaty was ratified in a special ceremony by Maekiaphan and Tesroy Phillips and other members of the local Taíno and Carib community represented by Opia Taíno and Roberto Mukaro Borrero, representing the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP).

“This is a significant moment in our collective history” stated Borrero. “We are affirming and honoring our ancestral connections across the region in an effort to promote our ancient Indigenous heritage to our present and future generations.”

Maekiaphan Phillips agreed stating, “I personally feel that the signing of this treaty was extremely important and significant, not only by words but by documentation so that we secure not only our past, but protect our future generations, and dismiss the myth that Taíno People are extinct. [. . .] The signing of the Treaty out at Magens Bay, an actual ancient Amerindian site here in the Virgin Islands, displayed the utmost respect for our ancestors.”

[. . .] The ceremony included a procession around the Magens Bay Arboretum, a conservancy of nearly three quarter of a mile featuring indigenous and exotic plant and tree species. The Arboretum is the site of an ancient indigenous settlement, as well as a colonial-era plantation. Located on the North (Atlantic) side of the island, Magens Bay features a well-protected, world renowned white sand beach.

“If we do not display unity, the myth of us being savage will then prove to be true” states Phillips. “I feel it is important for all Taíno People to embrace each other so that our future generations will be honored to not only say we are the descendants of the Taíno, but we are Taíno.”

For original article, see http://uctp.blogspot.ca/2012/12/Taíno-peoples-continue-to-unify-in.html?m=1

Image: Flag of the United Confederation of Taíno People

3 thoughts on “U.S. Virgin Islands Communities Promote Taíno Heritage in the Caribbean

  1. Well, I have some questions. I’m Críselo Reyes.

    My biological Father’s Family is from the Island of “Santo Tomás, Islas Vírgenes, Estados Unidos”, which is (Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands) in English, as you know.

    My biological Father always told me that I’m a “U.S. Virgin Islander” by RACE, even though I grew up in Miami, Florida. He told me that I’m not only Spanish, that I’m also partially of Taíno Descent.

    I haven’t contacted him for many years, (personal reasons), how ever, since I was a small Child, ever since he told me that, I’ve been curious. I was DNA-tested, and it was verified that I am actually partially of Aboriginal Descent, specifically matching the DNA of Boricuas(Puerto Ricans), Cubanos(Cubans) & Domincanos(Dominicans).

    The Language of my Family is Spanish. Our Traditions are not merely Spanish, there are some Taíno Traditions involved, and as I remember also, some of our vocabulary is not Spanish, and the words are commonly used amongst Cubans, Puerto Ricans & Dominicanas, and I know this because I’ve been researching most of my life.

    My biological Father told me that I’m not Cuban, not Puerto Rican, not Dominican, I remember it clearly.

    So, for years, I’ve been doing research, and I’ve found information all over the internet that all Taínos were removed from the U.S. Virgin Islands to work as SLAVES else-where, as early as the 1500s. I possess European(Spanish) as well as slight Taíno & Africano DNA.

    I’ve always studied my Culture, for many years, how ever, now that I’m almost 22 years old, I’m not only more curious and frustrated than ever, how ever, I’m extremely angry that I STILL don’t know my own Cultural Identity.

    If all Taínos were removed from the U.S. Virgin Islands, I MUST be some type of other Caribbean Descent, despite my Father giving me some false story about how my Ancestors were Spaniards who occupied the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Africanos & Taínos who lived there.

    Even Cubans & Puerto Ricans tell me that I look like them. They mistake me as 1 of them.

    So, if just in case I’m actually not 1 of them, my question is…What am I? Are there actually still living Descendants of the Taínos & Caribs there? If I don’t find out who I am, I’ll never know, because I don’t even have contact with any of my Family on my Father’s side. My Mother is just Spanish.

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