St. Thomas Taino Welcome Registry Collaboration

St. Thomas (UCTP Taino News) – Opia Taino and the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) finalized a collaborative agreement linking their respective local and international tribal registries.  An indigenous organization based in St. Thomas, Opia Taino will now commence its registry on the island and other nearby islands such as St. Croix and Tortola.

The St. Thomas Taino registry will connect directly with the UCTP’s Taino Population Census and Inter-Tribal Registry. These programs are independent of State government census or similar programs. Both registries are open to Taino, Carib, and Arawak descendants. UCTP president, R. Mukaro Borrero and Opia Taino president Maekiaphan Phillips finalized the agreement in a meeting last week in New York.

UCTPTN 11.08.2013


Trinidad & Tobago Celebrates First Peoples Heritage

Trinidad & Tobago (UCTP Taino News) – Under the theme “exploring heritage, consolidating traditions, and creating a legacy” First Peoples Week was celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago from October 11-19, 2013. The celebrations raised the visibility of Trinidad’s Indigenous Peoples, as well as other Indigenous Peoples from around the Circum-Caribbean region. 

The events began with an international conference held at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UCTT) and continued through the week with several cultural events in Arima, home of the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community. The activities were co-sponsored by the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), the Ministry of National Diversity and Social Integration.

Invited participants to this year’s celebrations included delegates of Indigenous Peoples of Guyana, Suriname, Belize, Venezuela, Dominica, St Vincent, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Ecuador, Canada and the USA. Among the various issues presented during the week, the Santa Rosa First People’s Community is calling for a national holiday to honor the island’s Indigenous Peoples. 

The final day of the scheduled activities included a meeting of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP). The meeting was held at the newly expanded Santa Rosa First Peoples Community Center in Arima. During the historic proceedings COIP officially welcomed its newest member, the United Confederation of Taino People

 UCTPTN 11.01.2013


AIA Pow Wow in Orlando, Florida

The AIA Pow Wow In Orlando will be held at The Central Florida Fairgrounds, starting Friday, November 1st (afternoon) through Sunday, November 3rd, 2013.
The United Confederation of Taíno People will have a booth. Join us for a beautiful inter-tribal weekend!


Taino Identity Beyond Columbus

Register for the event on Facebook:



FAMILIA, Today celebrate our people and let the world know ...We the Taino people are still here...

Remember that OVER 512 years ago COLUMBUS on behalf of the Spanish Crown and the Church of the Inquisition, Columbus invaded our homelands, killed,tortured and enslaved our people...

Remember that he changed the names of our homelands to reflect the greed and religious injustice that motivated the doctrines of discovery. These doctrines were engineered to put in place the greatest holocaust on earth.

Today this legacy of death is celebrated by governments across this continent. These are the very governments that continue to impose policies against our people that strip us of our rights and continue to destroy and steal our lands.

So today while racist,colonized minds and leaders of the modern day inquisition celebrate the sick legacy of injustice and hate while they celebrate the Hitler of the Spanish crown and all of the sick inhumane polices of the doctrines of discovery...






A matter of choice; Columbus Day vs. Native Resistance Day or Indigenous Day of Remembrance

On October 12th, people throughout this side of the World may celebrate one of the above. It is a matter of choice, since those who hold power and continue to oppress, are the ones who have monopolized the history taught in our schools.

The timing of the Federal Government shutdown is exemplary of the many faces of Columbus. Think about it, the majority of people in the United States disagree with the shutdown, yet it seems that the people have no say! The positive element of this, is that now it is out in the open; how much disregard is given and/or held for the wants of “the people” vs. the interests of a few, who manage and manipulate the system affecting directly or indirectly the lives of millions of people. This shall show you who’s who and what they truly stand for!

When I was a young teenager in Borikén (Puerto Rico), The Real Spanish Academy (Real Academia Española), an organization that determines which words one can use and consider “valid and proper” in the Spanish language, decided to create the word “aparcar” (to park), when the anglicism “parkear” was used to such an extent that everyone knew what it referred to (as opposed to using the word “estacionar”).

I make the correlation, because I think that if we continue calling October 12th, Native Resistance Day or Indigenous Day of Remembrance, eventually calling it “Columbus Day” will become obsolete, and hopefully it will be changed officially.

This Federal Holiday was implemented 76 years ago , by the efforts of Italian immigrants. They had started celebrating it earlier in the state of Colorado.

In my opinion, to celebrate Columbus is to celebrate Greed, Abuse (of all types), Rape (indistinctively, meaning women, men, and children), Slavery, Land grabbing, Exploitation, and injustice, just to name a few.

We have been subjected to a bunch of lies and romanticized stories at school and our children continue to be taught the same.

One cannot say, that is all for Justice while celebrating INJUSTICE!

On this October 12th, you have a choice, and that includes the choice of not choosing.

What will it be for you? Your choice defines you!

Author: Tai Pelli


Dynamics of Culture and Race Identification

By Domingo Turey Hernandez

Writing about “race” can be a very sensitive topic and while on many people's mind, very few will speak on it. What is interesting is that many persons are under the mistaken perception that “race” is a scientific fact.[i]  Race and “concepts of race” are social constructs, and therefore, some argue that “races” are created to protect the interest of the group in power. Racial definitions are impacted by religious and social mores. In short, concepts of race are shaped in large by the powerful defenders of the dominant culture. Across many of the World's cultures, identification of race is linked to the social construct of  “hyperdescent.”

Hyperdescent is the practice of classifying a child of “mixed race” heritage as belonging to the race that is the more socially dominant of the parent's races.[ii] In early colonial era Latin America, for example, the Spanish would classify their children with indigenous women as Spanish. These children would not be counted as “Indians” in any census. Another example would be when these children of mix heritage would be classified as something all together different, something always socially above the conquered or dominated race or group. Examples of “racial classifications” under the early Spanish, Portuguese, and French include Mulattos, Ladinos, Mestizos, Zambos, Lobos, etc. More often then not, these persons were given better opportunities to own land get an education and eventually marry into an ever “Whiter” level of Society. Australia, for instance, practiced this form of hyperdescent up to the 20th century. Under the Aborigines Act, children of mixed “blood” were taken away from their Aboriginal families and put into White foster homes in an effort re-educate them into the White Race.[iii] Those promoting this system claimed this strategy would better prepare them for jobs under White employers and lead them to eventual marriage to Whites.

Today, in most if not all of Latin America, classifying race via hyperdescent continues to be the social norm. This is the opposite of “hypodescent” where a mixed race person would be seen as belonging to the least socially powerful group of the parent's race.[iv] An example of this social classification is the "One drop rule" with regard to “Black” ancestry. In essence, this U.S. born social classification promot the view that any person with "one drop of Negro blood" was considered black.[v] The "One drop rule" was a legal norm in parts of the 20th century United States.[vi] Before that time there were many examples in the U.S. of Blacks being accepted as Whites if they were less than 1/8th or 1/16th Black.

Today, many of the people who criticize Taino affirmation do so because they come from an education that embraces the concept of hypodescent. To these folks it doesn't matter how much European or Indigenous ancestry we may have, if we have any African ancestry then we are Black by default. Any effort to identify according to our family culture or even by the rules of hyperdescent is seen as an attack on “Blackness.” This view disregards the basic human right of self-determination. From a Taino perspective, self-determination is linked to self-identity.

Self-determination is about recognizing that many communities identify “race or ethnicity” using older and more traditional ways. These views need to be respected by the more dominant society.

Hyperdescent and hypodescent both exist despite their flaws. Both views are designed to dominate an oppressed group. One is designed to push the oppressed group into extinction. The other keeps the oppressed group always visible but always the "other" - never really equal. Both systems seek to control.

The traditional Taino Jibaro way was and is the acceptance of another as relative by the Family leader. This ideal made one family and family were those related by blood, marriage, and relation to our extended family members. Taino is not just blood, it is also culture and world view. It is traditions that refuse to die even to this day.
Domingo Turey Hernandez is a Taino Jibaro elder from Borikén (Puerto Rico). He is a member of the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle, the United Confederation of Taino People, and iukaieke Guainia.


[i] Conrad P. Kottak, "FAQ", Human Diversity and "Race", Cultural Anthropology, Online Learning, McGraw Hill, accessed 30 Sept 2012.

[ii] Eviatar Zerubavel, “Ancestors and Relatives: Genealogy, Identity, and Community,” Oxford University Press, 2012

[iv] See Conrad P. Kottak’s "FAQ"

[v] James Davis "Who is Black? One Nation's Definition," Frontline, WGBH,  accessed 30 Sept 2012.


Communique issued at the conclusion of the First Regional Conference on Reparations

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat

24 September 2013

On Sunday September 15th, the Caribbean Community opened the first Regional Reparations Conference at St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Victoria Park. The Conference was mandated by the historic, unanimous, decision of CARICOM Heads of Government in July, 2013, in Trinidad and Tobago. The Heads of Government also requested each CARICOM Member State to set up its own National Reparations Committee to document the effects of European genocide against the indigenous inhabitants of the region, the slave trade in and the enslavement of Africans, and the colonization of the country.

The evening began with the unprecedented singing of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' national anthem in both English and Garifuna. The huge gathering was welcomed by Mr. Jomo Thomas, Chair of the Reparations Committee of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Remarks were delivered by Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and by Hon. Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth of Barbados on behalf of Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart, who is also Chairman of the Regional Ministerial Committee on Reparations. Dr. Verene Shepherd, Chair of the Jamaican Reparations Committee, gave the keynote address in which she recited the names and ages of many of the victims of the atrocities committed by the Europeans during slavery. Dr. Shepherd also emphasized the underreported fact that African women were integrally involved in all aspects of the resistance to slavery. Between speakers there were poetry and drumming performances.
The evening ended with a sterling performance in support of reparations by the legendary artist and Grammy Award Winner Hon. Bunny Wailer and his band who embodied the slogan "Culture as a Weapon."  Bunny’s repertoire comprised of a number of songs that sunk home the message of the plight of the black man suffering under colonial domination in a foreign land.

The second day of the conference started with a historical review of enslavement in the Caribbean by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, a leading historian on the issue of Slavery and Reparations and Principal of the UWI Campus at Cave Hill in Barbados. Dr. Beckles framed the task ahead by highlighting several issues discussed in his book "Britain's Black Debt".  Dr. Beckles mentioned the importance of including the diaspora in rectifying the effects of the European slave trade in Africans. Dr. Beckles was able to bring out the dehumanization as well as the criminal actions of those involved in Slavery in the Caribbean.  What became clear was the horrifying reality of the trade in Africans and further, their enslavement in the Caribbean. It was noted by Dr. Beckles that upon the abolition of slavery, European slave owners were paid reparations while nothing was paid to the newly freed. 

Presenters from various countries described the composition of reparations committees in their home countries, and the state of public opinion on the issue.  Some key areas covered related to the middle passage, deportation, wealth generated through slavery, and the depopulation and underdevelopment of Africa and the Caribbean as a result of enslavement.

It was mentioned that CARICOM should mandate reparations education in schools' curriculum.  Recognition was also given to past reparations initiatives, such as the work done by the Rastafari Movement and some major reparations conferences that have occurred in Nigeria, Washington DC, and Barbados.

On the third and final day of the Conference, a structure was proposed for the regional Commission. It was agreed that the body would be led by a Chairman and three Vice Chairs with responsibility for certain key tasks. Professor Hilary Beckles was elected as Chairperson of the CARICOM Regional Reparations Commission. Vice Chairs are Jomo Thomas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines ( responsible for inter-governmental relations), Dr. Verene Shepherd, Jamaica ( research), and Ahmad Zunder, Suriname, (mobilization).

The CARICOM Reparations Commission was constituted to achieve the following aims and objectives:
  • Establish the moral, ethical and legal case for the payment of Reparations by the Governments of all the former colonial powers and the relevant institutions in those countries, to the nations and people of the Caribbean Community for the Crimes against Humanity of Native Genocide, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and a racialised system of chattel Slavery;
  • Advise and make recommendations for coordinated CARICOM action by the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Reparations;

  • Coordinate and support the work of National Reparations Commissions and Task Forces and encourage the development of Commissions in those countries that have not yet established national bodies;
  • Receive reports from National Reparations Commissions;

  • Develop and implement a regional strategy to pursue Reparations, including the following actions:
    • Coordinate and/or undertake relevant historical research at the national, regional and international levels;
    • Coordinate and/or undertake legal research to inform case preparation and litigation strategies;
    • Coordinate national and regional public education campaigns;
    • Coordinate and/or conduct national and regional public consultations on Reparations;
    • Develop and recommend diplomatic strategies to advance the case for Reparations in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, African Union, CELAC and with other supportive governments;
    • Identify and recommend the appointment of eminent spokespersons and champions for the cause of Reparations among artists, attorneys, scholars, indigenous peoples, Rastafarians, youth, women and politicians;
    • Engaging and partnering with national and regional civil society organizations involved in the Reparations Movement, especially the Rastafarian and Pan Africanist formations of the Caribbean;
  • Develop and recommend decisive political action at the national and regional levels through Parliamentary debates and resolutions and national, regional and international popular mobilization;

  • Conduct consultations to develop proposals on appropriate forms of redress through reparative programmes and projects;
  • Coordinate and/or undertake the preparation of a detailed brief on the cost of the damages and current manifestations of such damage on indigenous people and their descendants and on enslaved Africans and their descendants, in the following and other relevant areas:
    • Economic (including land deprivation)
    • Social, Cultural and Psychological
    • Spiritual and Religious
    • Demographic
    • Medical
    • Educational  

Assume the responsibility for the preparation and presentation of the legal case for Reparations and highlight the special case of Reparations for Haiti;

Serve as a quick response mechanism and develop a pro-active media campaign to raise public awareness and canvas support.

There were also presentations and discussions  on legal strategies for a successful reparations claim.  The legal presentation was done by the UK law firm of Leigh Day & Co. and it was evident that this effort would require a regional consortium of experts in law, research and academia. It was also emphasized that any legal effort must be coupled with the mobilization of our people and an intensification of the political and diplomatic outreach that has already begun.

It should also be noted that in addition to the governmental deliberation and decisions, the representatives of civil society organizations held their own caucus and made the historic decision to establish a Pan-Caribbean Civil Society Reparations Network.  The network was mandated to mobilize the Caribbean people in support of the quest for reparations, and to collaborate with and support the work of the National Reparations Committees and the CARICOM Regional Commission.

Participants considered that the conference was the first step in a series of conferences and workshops that were necessary to continue the reparations effort. It was agreed that a website should be created as a focal point for ensuring that information on the work of the Regional Commission and national committees/task forces was made readily available. It was further agreed that national committees/task forces would create facebook pages to highlight the progress of their work.

The Conference ended with a resolve to have a second follow-up conference within a reasonable time-frame to ensure that the momentum started in St. Vincent and the Grenadines could be accelerated.

What was absolutely clear was that not since the Caribbean struggles for independence has the Region embarked on a journey of such magnitude and import for the future development of the people and region!

As we go forward, local committees have been urged to start the education and mobilization process in their own countries. For those who have not yet set up reparations committees they are being urged to do so quickly and to lean on the experiences of those who have already done so in the interest of efficiency and speed.

The Prime Ministerial Committee on reparations will quickly ratify the terms of reference adopted by the Regional Reparations Commission so that this commission can move ahead with the task that has been set before it.

It is hoped that the work in all countries would be advanced enough by the end of this year to enable a letter to be sent to the European countries being targeted for reparations to at least seek to begin a conversation on the issue with them.

The Conference had representatives from 12 CARICOM countries namely: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. There were also representatives from Guadeloupe, Martinique, US Virgin Islands, the UK, Canada, the United States and the Netherlands.  


Taino Among honorees at Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum

Grand Rapids, Michigan (UCTP Taino News) - Representatives of the United Confederation of Taino People, Monika Mamona Ponton-Arrington and R. Múkaro Borrero, were among the honored recipients of the Golden Rule International Award on August 30, 2013. This prestigious humanitarian honor was presented to these individuals, who for the organizers exemplified the Golden Rule – “treat others the way you want to be treated” - and demonstrated a sincere commitment, working toward a culture of peace, harmony, and constructive dialog among peoples.

The awards were presented by the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative (IPI), a United Nations accredited non-governmental organization, and the Committee Leaders of the Golden Rule International. The event was held at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ponton-Arrington stated, “It was an honor to be among so many distinguished humanitarians from around the world, and it was truly a humbling experience to be included among this esteemed group.” Ponton-Arrington also accepted the awarded on behalf of Borrero. 

Monika Mamona Ponton-Arrington, Cedric Blackeagle, Audrey Blackeagle, and his mother Mrs. Mary Blackeagle at the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and Museum
Other award recipients included Claudia Sanchez (Michigan), Michael Daniels (Michigan), Cedric Black Eagle (Crow Nation, Montana), John Hulet (Michigan), Karen Spano, Jose Milla French (Honduras),  Jorge Mejia Sequiera (Honduras), Valentin Rey Molina (Michigan), Dr. Pepe Ramnath (Florida), Dr. Brian Walter (Michigan), Dr. Stacey LeMay (North Carolina), Dr. Martin Williams (Nebraska), James Garner (California), Krysten Cathers (California), Jorge Pena (California), and Dr. Kevin Storr (Texas). The award recipients are now designated as Goodwill Ambassadors for Golden Rule.

Ambassador Clyde Rivers, the North American Division Leader for the Golden Rule International said, “The aim of the Golden Rule International is to establish cultures of peace around the world.” Dr. Rivers, who was the event's host and Master of Ceremonies, is also the Ambassador at Large for the Republic of Burundi. 

Additional presentations were made on behalf of Kayiwa International University in Uganda, which awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees to former Crow Nation Chairman Cedric Black Eagle and Roberto Múkaro Borrero of the United Confederation of Taino People.

The Golden Rule International Award is now established in 120 nations of the world. Golden Rule International continues to seek out top achievers that “live the Golden Rule in their everyday life.” This is a global ethic that the leadership of the Golden Rule International Award, such as Patron, and current President of Ethiopia, Girma Wolde and Ambassador Mussie Hailu have embraced and are promoting globally. Golden Rule International is also affiliated with the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative (IPI), African Union, the United Nations as well as the United Religions Initiative (URI).