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PUERTO RICO HISTORY THE TAINO PEOPLE


THE TAINO RACE OF AMERICAN INDIAN PEOPLE IS FAR FROM EXTINCT.

Dr. Juan Martinez Cruzado, a geneticist from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez designed an island-wide DNA survey, The study funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, shows that 61 percent of all Puerto Ricans have Amerindian mitochondrial DNA, 27 percent have African and 12 percent Caucasian. (Nuclear DNA, or the genetic material present in a gene's nucleus, is inherited in equal parts from one's father and mother. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from one's mother and does not change or blend with other materials over time.)

In other words a majority of Puerto Ricans have Taino blood. "Our study showed there was assimilation," Martinez Cruzado explained, "but the people were not extinguished.

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

"It is clear that the influence of Taino culture was very strong up to about 200 years ago. If we could conduct this same study on the Puerto Ricans from those times, the figure would show that 80 percent of the people had Indian heritage."

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

Martinez Cruzado noted how many customs and history were handed down through oral tradition. To this day on the island, there are many people who use medicinal plants and farming methods that come directly from the Tainos. This is especially true of the areas once known as Indieras, or Indian Zones. EXCERPTS FROM THIS WEBSITE.

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63 TAINO INDIAN STUDENTS IDENTIFIED AS "PORTO RICAN" IN RECORD GROUP 75 OF THE CARLISLE INDIAN SCHOOL - GROUP RECORD 1327 AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WASHINGTON, DC [NARA75];

IN THE INDICES OF THE CARLISLE\INDIAN SCHOOL COLLECTION OF THE CUMBERLAND COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, CARLISLE, PA [CCHS] (PUBLIC INFORMATION).

It should to be mentioned, that these Taino American Indians people had been forcefully removed from Puerto Rico by the US United States Federal Government and placed in their American Indian Schools back in 1898. It should further be noted that the ELA Commonwealth Government of Puerto Rico still publicly claims that Taino Indians as an ethnic American Indian race of Puerto Rico do not exist. Ask yourself: Is this not a very foolish public statement ?

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A REPORT ON THE UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU MEETING 2001:
By Principal Chief Pedro Guanikeyu Torres

MY PURPOSE OF ATTENDING THE UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU MEETING: was to bring them a report by our Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation of Boriken Puerto Rico and its protest for Puerto Rico's US Census representatives and their direct violation of the US Government OBM (Office of Budget Management) ruling on Race and Ethnicity by the US Census representatives in Puerto Rico and the United States. .

I informed them of the census problem that was going on with the US Census in Puerto Rico.

I spoke with the representatives of the Hispanic Advisory Committee and directly spoke with Ms. Flame of (HAC) and the other committee members about the issue relating to the Taino American Indians of Puerto Rico and the United States. . . . they had no idea that there were any surviving Taino Indians in Puerto Rico and that American Indians are not only from the United States.

"I am Principal Chief Pedro Guanikeyu Torres. I come here today as an invited Representative of the Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation of Puerto Rico, Florida and New Jersey and its Taino Tribal Council Government, to report an unhappy situation that has occurred within Puerto Rico's past history and to the present US Census. I would first like to say that we the Tainos are the very first American Indian Nation to greet and meet Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. We are the Native American people of the Caribbean and Florida region of the Americas, who live a marginal (Over looked) existence as American Indian people. We as a people have been placed under a false category of extinction.

. . I say that we the Tainos are still here. . This foolish extinction story was and still is being spread.

The aforementioned territories are the past traditional homelands of the Taino tribal nations of the Caribbean and Florida. In Puerto Rico, in a census in 1799 there was a documented contingent of some 2,302 pure natives of Taino Indian blood living in the country and who had settled in the Central Cordillera (Puerto Rico's Central Mountain Range). These places today are known by our people as the Indieras (Indian Lands).

In the year 1820, the term "Indio" or Indian was officially removed as a racial category from all Puerto Rico census reports. I would now like further speak on a direct violation of the OBM ruling on Race and Ethnicity as it applies the US Census and the US territory of Puerto Rico.

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If we take all the above data into account it is evident that the time has come to throw overboard the fallacy of the extermination of the native population. . . It might also have been true that the colonists who held natives under the encomienda exaggerated the dissapearance of the native element to force the limitless introduction of Negro slaves, which were not subject to the ordinances or scruples ( imposed by Queen Isabela) that impeded the exploitation of native labourers.

It is not due to this crossbreeding that we do not consider ourselves Arawaks, nor Spaniards, nor Negroes, but rather as Puerto Ricans? Material excerpted from this website.


 

THE LAST OF THE TAINO RULING CHIEFS

 


'Isla Borinken' ...1493

Early History of Boriken or Puerto Rico:

Carmen Yuisa Baguanamey Colon Delgado is the hereditary chief of the Taino Turabo Tribe from the line of Chief Caguax, She is also great-granddaughter of Jose Delgado Rojas, the owner of the Delgado Royal Grant. The Delgado royal grant, the largest grant ever given to anyone by the King of Spain was their ancient territorial tribal land; for the Delgado clan of the Turabo River Valley are the descendants of the Chiefs who ruled this ancient territory, prior to the colonizer's arrival.

"I have included here an attachment of a document. This is a translation completed by myself from the Spanish language of a write up done by our Caguas town historian on my grandfather Caguax " . . . Carmen Delgado. Complete translation on this website.

=================== The following is adapted from the original translation:

Columbus arrived in Hispanola December 25, 1492 and goes ashore. With the wood from the Santa Maria they build a fort, called Navidad. He left 39 men there and sailed back to Spain.

The next year, when he returned all were dead and the fort burned. They had not expected the Taino to become violent. When Ponce de Leon gets his mandate to conquer Boriken (Puerto Rico) in 1506 he arrives in Puerto Rico and establishes a treaty of no aggression with the Sovereign chief of Natives, Chief Aguebana ( Like the river that was named after him). Juan Gonzalez accompanied him as interpreter. He was very well received and presented with gifts. Ponce de Leon's captain was called Luis de Anasco.

Both the chief and Ponce de Leon gave each other their names. It was the mother of the chief who had advised the indians to be pacific, if they did not wish to die at their hands. She had already heard of some of the incidents in Hispanola of the Spaniards killing indians. The Spanish were aware that the native people had communication with each other and were therefore very careful not to cause them to be enemies at first.

The colonization of Puerto Rico began in a peaceful manner. The Indians were not really peaceful but tried it out that way in the beginning because of the 'Guaityau' or blood pact carried out between Ponce de Leon and Chief Agueybana . There had already been much bloodshed in Hispanola.

After the pact was made it was the Spaniards broke the Guaytiaue and began treating the natives as mere objects, not human beings, they were not respected by the invaders. They enslaved the people. ( as their charter from Spain had given them leave to do so). The natives who would not allow the Spanish to enslave them took to fighting them.

When the Spanish first arrived Boriken was full of gold , Ponce de Leon 'gave' the indian chiefs to the conquistadores to work their fields and gold mines. They were then treated inhumanely and resisted. The consequences of this resistance were complicated by disease the native could not well resist.

There was a Catholic named Father Antonio Montesino, a Dominican priest who was in charge of delivering the Advent Sermon which he used to address the wrongs being done to the natives.

"Under whose authority have you unleashed such a detestable war against this people who were in peaceful possession of their lands? How can you oppress and work them without feeding them or healing them of their sickness. Aren't you under the obligation of living them as your own selves? Don't you understand this? Don't you feel it? On such lethargic ground you sleep. . . Rest assured that, in the present state you are in, there's no salvation for you, the same as there is none for those who reject Jesus' law.

Also Fray Bartomome de Las Casa opposed the slavery. It was practically impossible to keep passive under such terrible conditions and the natives rose up to defend themselves.

For all practical purposes the natives as a race of people were reduced in numbers dramatically in Puerto Rico, due to the abuse perpetrated on them by the colonizers. There were other factors, mass suicide, exodus to other places and diseases. The uprisings of 1511 and 1513 greatly reduced the number of natives on the island.

The Europeans then began importing black slaves to the island.

Caguax or Caguas was the Chief of the east central portion of the island. His territory was in the Turabo River Valley and was made up of Aguas Buenas, San Lorenzo, Gurabo, Juncos and Las Piedras. After the uprising of 1511, in which he allegedly did not participate, tradition has it that he embraced Catholicism and remained peaceful but he was amongst those Chiefs ( as was Don Alonso, another chief) who were 'reduced' and sent away to eventually die in the Dominican Republic ( or perhaps it was in Utuado) away from their own people. They were the only ones to accept this 'amnesty' . Other chiefs chose to adopt an attitude of civil disobedience, even though accepting they would have to live with the Spaniards.

Juan Ceron ( who became governor) took charge of Chief Mana, Chief Guacabo , chief Orocovix and Chief Caguas and he in turn gave them to whom he saw fit. At this point Chief Caguas no longer felt he needed to up hold his peace pact with Ponce de Leon .

The natives continued to fight. 16 chiefs were captured, betrayed by a native, and extradited to Hispanola, for conspiracy.

The indians dispersed into the central mountains, some of the people hiding in caves, when they were captured they were enslaved and put to work in the mines.

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Many Puerto Ricans are mestizo because in those days the Catholic priests were in favor of marrying off the daughters of Taino Chiefs to the second sons of Spaniards to avoid blood shed. In all reality, what this did for them was obtain large tracks of land from the Natives and free labor.

 

 

 

Wonderful information about Puerto Rico in the 1500's.

About the Taino Indians.

The history of one of Puerto Ricos' small, populated, islands. Vieques History. Includes the history of horses in Puerto Rico.

Relive the history of Old San Juan with a guided walking tour.

 


PUERTO RICO HISTORY AND CULTURE

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