(The Official Newsletter of The United Confederation Of Taino People)
On March 27th 1998, Taino Leaders representing Caribbean and North American Indigenous Taino organizations gathered for an inauguration ceremony and the official signing of the Declaration of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP). The historic event took place in the Council Chambers at New York's City Hall. This was made possible through the cooperation of the Honorable City Councilman, Jose Rivera.
At the commencement, UCTP Spokesman and Master of Ceremonies,
Mr. Roberto Mucaro Borrero,
called for a moment of silence dedicated to the struggles of the World's Indigenous Peoples.
Tabanuco, the sacred Taino incense filled the City Council Chambers with an ancient mist. In his opening remarks, Mr. Borrero explained that with the establishment of the Confederation, Tainos, the descendants of the first "Native Americans" who greeted Christopher Columbus in 1492, can now present a unified voice to address the many issues which concern contemporary Taino People.
Some of these issues include the correction of past misconceptions about the Taino, the repatriation of Taino ancestral remains, religious intolerance, cultural exploitation, and the promotion of new dialogue between Taino People and the international, national and local communities.
Mr. Borrero highlighted a few precedent setting events which have occurred within the Taino Community over the last 10 years such as the inclusion of Taino People in the decision making process, as consultants in museum exhibits and film documentaries, the reestablishment of communications between inter-island Taino groups, and Taino representation at the United Nations and other diplomatic and academic forums.
In a dynamic presentation, the Honorable Councilman Jose Rivera acknowledged the historic significance of this event 500 years after the arrival of Columbus and 100 years after the United States invasion of Puerto Rico. In recognizing the groups and individuals that were responsible for the establishment of the UCTP, Councilman Rivera presented an official Proclamation, designating the 27th of March as the United Confederation of Taino People Day in New York City. A copy of the Proclamation was given to representatives of each group present.
Following the introductions and statements by representatives of UCTP member organizations, the group proceeded to sign the Declaration of the United Confederation of Taino People. The Declaration, in its preamble begins with "We, the Taino People" and contains eight articles whose provisions seek to protect, defend and preserve Taino cultural heritage and Spiritual tradition, while establishing basic guidelines for organizational structure, process and accountability. The organizations now forming part of the UCTP include; from the United States: Jatibonuco Tribal Council, Presencia Taina, Maisiti Yucayeke Taino, Taino Inter-Tribal Council, Caney Spiritual Circle, Baramaya, Taino Ancestral Legacy keepers, Cacibajagua; from Boriken: Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos: and from Quiskeya: Fundacion Social Luz Cosmica Fraternalista Taina.
Acknowledgments of special guest included Ms. Esmeralda V. Brown, Chairperson of the NGO Committee on the United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples. Also showing support for the UCTP were representatives of local Native American groups like the Northeastern Native American Association and the Native American Correctional Indian Society. Other organizations represented in attendance were the Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources, the Tribal Link Foundation, and the Rajkumari Cultural Center. The program closed with the participants singing a Taino ceremonial song dedicated to Attabeira (Mother Earth) and a reception featuring traditional Taino foods followed.
"As I Traveled Distant Lands,
I Saw Many Forms Before Me,
The Mark of the Sun Was Always There,
I Slowly Hid My Fears,
Shall I Lead Them Into Righteousness,
Will It Be Another Life That They Seek,
Onward I Will Struggle,
To See If I am Worthy"