taino people

Yo don’t forget the Taino people on Columbus Day

  • The were the first people to come in contact with the murderous bastard who enslaved their people and kidnapped their children
  • It’s often assumed the Taino’s were “wiped out” they weren’t
  • Taino/Lokono* people are from Caribbean islands mainly (from my limited knowledge) Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti/Dominican Republic.
  • We as Indigenous people need to remember not to wash away the histories of other Nations not in North America
  • Remember while we all have suffered since Columbus got lost, these people especially in Puerto Rico and Haiti still suffer from American Imperialism

*correction Lokono (who I miss named Arawak previously, and will now change after learning more information) folks from what I am being told are from northern South America & Caribbean isles but are a separate nation from the Tainos. I mixed up very sorry to any Lokono folks who have seen this and been hurt.

*I’ll add more corrections as I learn them

Remember Tainos on Columbus Day



[1: ‘Fuck Columbus’ is an useless display of impotent rage.]

[2: Last year I was very frustrated to see photosets being shared online of people saying this]

[3: What does this accomplish? What does this mean? Who does it affect?]

[4: Columbus was a genocidal sociopath who single handedly killed thousands of Taino]

[5: His legacy may be the colonization of all the Americas, but Columbus never set foot in North America and colonialism preceded him]

[6: Who is Columbus? A dead man whose grave & bones haven’t been defiled or desecrated. Unless you’re campaigning for tht, why say “fuck Colón”?]

[7: Saying “fuck Columbus” doesn’t strike at the heart of the issue. The root of the issue is colonialism in all it’s forms.]

[8: Why isn’t saying “fuck the nation-state” or “fuck white supremacy” or “fuck white culture” more popular than “fuck Columbus”?]

[9: It’s easy to blame a nobody. But while Columbus was responsible for our genocide, there are larger implications to who is responsible today]

[10: If you really wanna “fuck Columbus”, stop dropping his name. Let him fade into obscurity and disappear like he tried to do to us]

[11:  Now, it’s becoming recognized that this is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Let him die the most final of deaths and breath his name no more]

[12: Let us put our pain and grief to bed this day]

[13: I would rather celebrate all of us]

Columbus Day

Columbus Day is this Monday. Here’s a reminder that Columbus didn’t land on Plymouth Rock or anywhere in North America. He landed in the Caribbean and in his lifetime committed genocide in the Caribbean and in Central America. He is the cause for the colonisation of the Caribbean and Latin America and later the Caribbean and Latin American slave trade. In his lifetime and many years after North America wasn’t part of the picture. Stop erasing Caribbean and Latin Americans from Columbus Day history/discourse. Stop erasing the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Latin America. Centre us. We know more than anyone the aftermath and the history of Columbus because that is our history. Most of the indigenous people that Columbus oppressed are now Black and or Latino. It is also a form of anti blackness and racism against PoC Latinos to erase us from our own history. I encourage all Caribbean and or Latin Americans to take back Columbus Day history and discourse and make it about ourselves, the descendants of the indigenous people Columbus terrorised. Don’t let our ancestors get erased.

Yall know Colombus didnt even discover America right?

This idiot thought the earth was pear shaped and sailed South instead of West. He encountered the Taino people,assumed they had spices and gold, brought an armada and killed them. So not only does America celebrate a non American genocidal asshole, we also celebrate someone who literally never even set foot in this country.

Christopher Columbus in his “Letter of Discovery”: “I have made fortifications and a fort, and I have left in it sufficient men for such a purpose with arms and artillery and provisions for more than a year, and great friendship with the king of that land, so much so, that he was proud to call me, and treat me as, a brother. And even if he were to change his attitude to one of hostility towards these men, he and his do not know what arms are and they go naked, as I have already said, and are the most timorous people that there are in the world, so that the men whom I have left there alone would suffice to destroy all that land, and the island is without danger for their persons, if they know how to govern themselves.”

the Taino people whom Columbus is talking about: *literally kill every European on the island and leave their fort in ruins*

“Roots of the Cotton Tree”….Throughout the Caribbean and in Africa, the silk cotton tree is considered sacred. A place where ancestors and spirits are known to dwell in its roots. This was also a belief held by the Arawak and Taino peoples that inhabited the Islands for thousands of years prior. They referred to this ancient giant as the “God Tree”.


Haitian Vodou

Haitian Vodou, called Sevis Gineh or “African Service”, is the primary culture and religion of the approximately 7 million people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. It has its primary roots among the Fon-Ewe peoples of West Africa, in the country now known as Benin, formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey. It also has strong elements from the Ibo and Kongo peoples of Central Africa and the Yoruba of Nigeria, though many different peoples or “nations” of Africa have representation in the liturgy of the Sevis Gineh, as do the Taino Indians, the original peoples of the island we now know as Hispaniola. Haitian Vodou exists in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, parts of Cuba, the United States, France, Montreal, and other places that Haitian immigrants have dispersed to over the years.

Other New World traditions it is closely related to or bears resemblance to include Jeje Vodun in Brazil, La Regla Arara in Cuba, and the Black Spiritualist Christian churches of New Orleans. Haitian Vodou also bears superficial resemblances in many ways with the Nigerian Yoruba-derived traditions of Orisha service, represented by La Regla de Ocha or Lukumi, aka “Santeria”, in Cuba, the United States, and Puerto Rico as well as Candomble in Brazil. While popularly thought of as related to Haitian Vodou, what is commonly referred to as “voodoo” in New Orleans and the southern US is a variant of the word “hoodoo”, also called “rootwork” or “root doctoring”. This is a folk magical tradition from Central Africa in the Congo region in which roots, leaves, minerals, and the spirits of the dead are employed to improve the lot of the living, often including the reciting of Psalms and other Biblical prayers. Rootwork also incorporates Native American herb lore and European and Jewish magical traditions. As a folk magic tradition, New Orleans “voodoo” and southern “hoodoo” rootwork are distinct from the RELIGION of Haitian Vodou and its siblings and cousins.

Haitian Voodoo History

Vodou as we know it in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora today is the result of the pressures of many different cultures and ethnicities of people being uprooted from Africa and imported to Hispaniola during the transatlantic African slave trade. (1) Under slavery, African culture and religion was suppressed, lineages were fragmented, and people pooled their religious knowledge and out of this fragmentation became culturally unified. In addition to combining the spirits of many different African and Indian nations, pieces of Roman Catholic liturgy are incorporated to replace lost prayers or elements; in addition images of Catholic saints are used to represent various spirits or “misteh” [“mysteries”], and many saints themselves are honored in Haitian Vodou in their own right. This syncretism allows Haitian Vodou to encompass the African, the Indian, and the European ancestors in a whole and complete way. It is truly a “Kreyol” or Creole religion.

The most historically important Vodou ceremony in Haitian history was the Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman) ceremony of August 1791 near the city of Cap Haitien that began the Haitian Revolution, led by the Vodou priest named Boukman. During this ceremony the spirit Ezili Dantor came and received a black pig as an offering, and all those present pledged themselves to the fight for freedom. This ceremony ultimately resulted in the liberation of the Haitian people from their French masters in 1804, and the establishment of the first and only black people’s republic in the Western Hemisphere, the first such republic in the history of the world. (2)
Haitian Vodou came to the US to a significant degree beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the waves of Haitian immigrants under the oppressive Duvalier regime, taking root in Miami, New York City, Chicago, and other cities mainly on the two coasts.

Core Beliefs of Haitian Vodou

Vodouisants believe, in accordance with widespread African tradition, that there is one God who is the creator of all, referred to as “Bondje”, from the French words “Bon Dieu” or “Good God”. Bondje is distant from his/her/its creation though, and so it is the spirits or the “mysteries”, “saints”, or “angels” that the Vodouisant turns to for help, as well as to the ancestors. The Vodouisant worships God, and serves the spirits, who are treated with honor and respect as elder members of a household might be. There are said to be twenty-one nations or “nanchons” of spirits, also sometimes called “lwa-yo”. Some of the more important nations of lwa are the Rada (from Allada in Dahomey), the Nago (from Yorubaland), and the Kongo. The spirits also come in “families” that all share a surname, like Ogou, or Ezili, or Azaka or Gede. For instance, “Ezili” is a family, Ezili Danto and Ezili Freda are two individual spirits in that family.
In Vodou, spirits are divided according to their nature in roughly two categories, whether they are hot or cool. Cool spirits fall under the Rada category, and hot spirits fall under the Petwo category. Rada spirits are familial and mostly come from Africa, Petwo spirits are mostly native to Haiti and are more demanding and require more attention to detail than the Rada, but both can be dangerous if angry or upset. Neither is “good” or “evil” in relation to the other.

Everyone has spirits, and each person has a special relationship with one particular spirit who is said to “own their head”, however each person may have many lwa, and the one that owns their head, or the “met tet”, may or may not be the most active spirit in a person’s life.

The lwa are all said to live in a city beneath the sea called Ile Ife or Vilokan. Except for Agwe and his escort, who live in a different city below the waters.

Pantheon in Haitian Vodou

All of the lwa of Haiti are initiated manbos and houngans. Many are also Masons. Some of the more important spirits are as follows.

RADA Pantheon in Haitian Vodou

Papa Legba Atibon – He is imaged as an old man, St. Lazarus is used to represent him in the hounfo or temple. He opens the gate to the spirits, and translates between human languages and the languages of the spirits.
Marasa Dosu Dosa – They are twin children, either in twos or threes. Imaged with Sts. Cosmas and Damien, or the Three Virtues.

Papa Loko Atisou and Manbo Ayizan Velekete – The prototypical priest and priestess of the tradition. They confer the office of priesthood in initiation.

Danbala Wedo and Ayida Wedo – The white snake and the rainbow, together they are the oldest living beings. Danbala brings people into the Vodou. St. Patrick and Moses are used for Danbala.

Ogou Feray – He is a fierce general who works hard for his children but can be moody and sullen at times as well.

Ogou Badagri – He is a diplomat, and is Ogou Feray’s chief rival.

Ezili Freda – She is a mature light-skinned woman who enjoys the finest things, jewelry, expensive perfume, champagne etc. She is said to own all men (or she thinks she does) and can be very jealous. She gives romance and luxury. She is so pure she must never touch the bare ground. Her main rival is her sister Ezili Dantor.

Agwe Tawoyo – He rules the sea and those who have crossed the ocean, and is symbolized by his boat named “Imammou”. St. Ulrich is his saint counterpart.

PETWO (Petro) Pantheon in Haitian Vodou

Gran Bwa Ile – His name means “Great Wood”. He is a spirit of wilderness. He is fierce and unpredictable, and a section of the grounds of a Vodou temple is always left wild for him. St. Sebastian is used to represent Gran Bwa.

Ezili Dantor – a Petwo lwa, she is a strong black single mother. She does not speak, but makes a “kay kay kay” sound in possession. She is nurturing and protective but is dangerous when aroused, even to her own children. Her image is the Mater Salvatoris of Czestokowa. She often uses a dagger or bayonet, and her colors are often red and dark blue. A little known fact is that she is actually a hermaphrodite, and takes both men and women in marriage.

Ti Jan Petwo – the son and lover of Ezili Dantor.

Simbi – the Simbi lwa live in fresh water rivers and are knowledgeable in the areas of magic and sorcery.

The Bawons – they rule the cemetary and the grave. There are three – La Kwa, Samdi, and Simitye.

The Gedeh – The Gedeh spirits are all dead spirits who rule death and humor and fertility. They drink rum steeped with 21 habanero peppers and bathe their faces and genitals with this mixture also, to prove that they are who they say they are. They are sung for last at a party for the spirits. Chief of the Gedeh is Gedeh Nibo, with his wife Maman Brijit. St. Gerard represents the Gedeh.

Role of Clergy in Haitian Vodou

In serving the spirits, the Vodouisant seeks to achieve harmony with their own individual nature and the world around them, manifested as personal power and resourcefulness in dealing with life. Part of this harmony is membership in and maintaining relationships within the context of family and community. A Vodou house or society is organized on the metaphor of an extended family, and initiates are the “children” of their initiators, with the sense of hierarchy and mutual obligation that implies.

Most Vodouisants are not initiated, referred to as being “bosal”; it is not a requirement to be an initiate in order to serve one’s spirits. There are clergy in Vodou whose responsibility it is to preserve the rituals and songs and maintain the relationship between the spirits and the community as a whole (though some of this is the responsibility of the whole community as well). They are entrusted with leading the service of all of the spirits of their lineage. Priests are referred to as “houngans” and priestesses as “manbos”. Below the houngans and manbos are the hounsis, who are initiates who act as assistants during ceremonies and who are dedicated to their own personal mysteries. One doesn’t serve just any lwa but only the ones they “have”, which is a matter of one’s individual nature and destiny, and sometimes a matter of which spirits one has met and who take a liking to oneself. Since the spirits are individuals, they respond best to those whom they know or have been personally introduced to. Which spirits a person has may be revealed at a ceremony, in a reading, or in dreams. However anyone may and should serve their own blood ancestors.

That said, there are a few spirits or groups of spirits that have a particular relationship with humankind such that, it is not unreasonable to say, anyone might approach them with some confidence if a few basic forms and preferences are known, among these being Papa Legba Atibon, the gatekeeper of the spirits, Danbala Wedo, who is said to own all heads and is the oldest ancestor of all life, and Papa Gedeh, who gives voice to the spirits of the dead, and everyone has Dead. I leave it to the reader to investigate the identities of these spirits further from other sources such as the Vodouspirit Yahoo! forum. Also the Catholic saints are all very approachable to anyone who asks for their help, such as St. Anthony or St. Michael.

Standards of Conduct in Haitian Vodou

The cultural values that Vodou embraces center around ideas of honor and respect – to God, to the spirits, to the family and sosyete, and to oneself. There is a plural idea of proper and improper, in the sense that what is appropriate to someone with a Danbala as their head may be different from someone with an Ogou as their head, for example — one spirit is very cool and the other one is very hot. I would say that coolness overall is valued, and so is the ability and inclination to protect oneself and one’s own if necessary. Love and support within the family of the Vodou sosyete seems to be the most important consideration. Generosity in giving to the community and to the poor is also an important value. Our blessings come to us through our community and we should be willing to give back to it in turn. Since Vodou has such a community orientation, there are no “solitaries” in Vodou, only people separated geographically from their elders and house. It is not a “do it yourself” religion – a person without a relationship of some kind with elders will not be practicing Vodou. You can’t pick the fruit if you don’t start with a root.

The Haitian Vodou religion is an ecstatic rather than a fertility-based tradition, and does not discriminate against gay people or other queer people in any way. Unlike in some Wiccan traditions, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression of a practitioner is of no concern in a ritual setting, it is just the way God made a person. The spirits help each person to simply be the person that they are.

Way of Worship in Haitian Vodou

After a day or two of preparation setting up altars, ritually preparing and cooking fowl and other foods, etc., a Haitian Vodou service begins with a series of Catholic prayers and songs in French, then a litany in Kreyol and African “langaj” that goes through all the European and African saints and lwa honored by the house, and then a series of verses for all the main spirits of the house. This is called the “Priye Gineh” or the African Prayer. After more introductory songs then the songs for all the individual spirits are sung. As the songs are sung spirits will come to visit those present by taking possession of individuals and speaking and acting through them. Each spirit is saluted and greeted by the initiates present and will give readings, advice and cures to those who approach them for help. Many hours later in the wee hours of the morning, the last song is sung, guests leave, and all the exhausted hounsis and houngans and manbos can go to sleep.

On the individual’s household level, a Vodouisant or “sevite”/”serviteur” may have one or more tables set out for their ancestors and the spirit or spirits that they serve with pictures or statues of the spirits, perfumes, foods, and other things favored by their spirits. The most basic set up is just a white candle and a clear glass of water and perhaps flowers. On a particular spirit’s day, one lights a candle and says an Our Father and Hail Mary, salutes Papa Legba and asks him to open the gate, and then one salutes and speaks to the particular spirit like an elder family member. Ancestors are approached directly, without the mediating of Papa Legba, since they are in one’s blood.

If a person feels like they are being “called” or approached by the spirits of Haiti, the first thing a person should begin to do is to serve their ancestors, perhaps beginning with an ancestor novena (see the links below). Monday is the day of the ancestors in our house, but ideally one speaks to their ancestors daily. If you do not honor your ancestors first, they may get upset and stand between you and other spirits. The second thing is to seek out a competent and trustworthy manbo or houngan for a reading or consultation. It may take some time of prayer, patience and effort to find a suitable person. Travel may even be necessary. They can help determine what spirit(s) if any may be involved and what if anything might need be done. Expect to pay some sort of fee for their time – unlike many Neo-Pagan traditions, in Haitian Vodou “manbo e houngan travay pa pou youn gwan mesi” (“The manbo and the houngan don’t work for a big thank you”) (3). This is true of other African-based traditions as well.

Role of Initiation into Haitian Vodou

Initiation in Haitian Vodou is a serious matter, and it is advised to not run off to Haiti with the first person you encounter, on the internet or elsewhere, sight unseen or otherwise, who says they will initiate you. Take the time to get to know your prospective Maman or Papa in the Vodou, and the members of their society. Attend ceremonies in person, ask questions, learn, check references. Serve your ancestors, cultivate patience, and wait. Pay attention to dreams or other messages from the spirits. For most people initiation is totally unnecessary. It may be advised to research (as you would anyone else!) and weigh carefully, but perhaps not necessarily discount out of hand, anyone actively promoting initiation into the Haitian Vodou priesthood with marketing slogans and New Age buzzwords. Haitian Vodou does not proselytize and it is not for sale although even valid initiations do cost some money, due to the time, people, materials and travel involved. If you think of the time and care it takes to make the best choice when you invest in a car or a home, or to hire a babysitter for the kids, how much more important are one’s concerns of the Spirit? At the end of the day, reputations and rumors are less important than an honest answer to one question however: “Will I be happy and satisfied having this person/these people in my life? Is this a community where I can learn and grow in a positive way?” Only the seeker can answer that question for themselves, with God’s help. And the help of the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (see the links below).

Also there are other options besides initiation in Haitian Vodou to become closer to the spirits. While the concept of initiation gets a lot of airplay among outsiders, far more common among the Haitian community is the “maryaj mistik”, or the mystical marriage, in which the Vodouisant literally marries one or more lwa, in a ceremony complete with bridal dresses, rings, cakes, and a priest. In return they gain special protection and favor from the spiritual spouse. This is generally in exchange for one day of sexual abstinence per week in which the human spouse receives the spirit in their dreams, and any other terms spelled out in the marriage contract.

Initiation for its part creates a reciprocal bond between initiator and the new initiate with obligations every bit as serious as marriage, deeper even since it cannot be undone. Initiator and initiate become family with all the joys and burdens that may entail. It also entails certain promises, responsibilities and commitments with regard to the spirits. With persistence and patience, the spirits will lead a person to the house and elders that are right for them. Vodou is not a race, so every seeker can well afford to take their time. Personal relationships are the very foundation of Vodou and there is no substitute for the time it takes to cultivate them. I knew my houngan for three years prior to my own sevis lave tet (“washing of the head”). We were friends long before I had any interest in or notion of any connection to Haitian Vodou that I might have. Some of my god-brothers waited longer than that. This is how it should be. In Haiti these would all be people you grew up with and you would just know who is who or would know someone who knew someone. In the United States, those of us who are non-Haitian have a few more obstacles to overcome, but by the grace of God and the spirits they are not insurmountable.

Regleman Gineh

Initiate or not, once you belong to a house and have chosen an elder, it is important to follow the guidance they provide as to the way things are done in their house, called the “Regleman Gineh”. There is a diversity of practice in Vodou across the country of Haiti and the diaspora, for instance in the north of Haiti the sevis tet or kanzwe may be the only initiation (according to my elders from Haiti in three different houses) as it frequently is in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, whereas in Port Au Prince and the south they practice the kanzo rites with three grades of initiation — senp, si pwen, and asogwe — and the latter is the most familiar mode of practice outside of Haiti. Some lineages combine both, as Manbo Katherine Dunham reports from her personal experience in her book “Island Possessed.” Kay Aboudja, my own house, is one of these lineages. Although the general structure of ritual and practice are the same across Haiti, small details of service and the spirits served will vary from house to house, and information in books or on the internet may be contradictory. When in doubt, etiquette dictates that one consult their own Maman or Papa in the Vodou, and practice as they direct according to the regleman of their lineage, since “every manbo and houngan is the head of their own house”, as a common saying in Haiti taught to me by Houngan Aboudja states.

While the overall tendency in Haitian Vodou is very conservative in accord with its African roots, there is no singular, definitive, One And Only True Right And Only Haitian Vodou ™, only what is right in a particular house or lineage. In other words, if you read something on a web page or a book, and it contradicts what your manbo or houngan says to do, go with what they say. This may seem restrictive on the surface from a solitary Neo-Pagan perspective, but since you have done your homework and taken the time to build a positive relationship of trust with your elder(s) ahead of time, this will not be the case in practice. A good parallel is the way everyone practices the same way in a Wiccan coven context. Ultimately everything comes from the spirits and the ancestors however. It is not a matter of personal preferences as it often may be in popular Witchcraft or other pagan traditions, and this reality becomes clearer with experience in the Sevis Gineh.

This is the most basic overview of the Haitian Vodou religion imaginable; keeping in mind that I am by no means an expert compared to my elders after only a couple of years in the religion as an hounsi, I hope it gives some general idea and understanding of what Haitian Vodou is about, since it summarizes what I have learned from my own elders in a very condensed form. The most important thing I have learned from my elders however is this: Black, red, yellow or white, a person can find beauty and fulfillment serving the spirits in the Haitian religion – the Vodou is not a religion limited by race or ethnicity since ultimately, as science has proven, we are ALL the Children of Africa, and the waters of Gineh join us all

When people are talking about indigenous Caribbean pele they always say Arawaks, Taino and Caribs. Please stop.

The Arawaks and the Taino are the same people.

The Arawaks and Caribs initially came from Venezuela, Guyana, and the northern coasts of South America.

“Taino” is just a word that separates the Arawaks who were in the Antilles from the Arawaks who were on the mainland.

The only difference between the groups is the languages they spoke.

anonymous asked:

Could you explain with princess nokia"s young girls mv is problematic? I read somewhere that she was trying to show girls from different ethnic/ethnoreligious backrounds but here you only pointed out that it was not taino. Could you please explain?

While Nokia’s intent was to portray mutual kinship and solidarity of women of different backgrounds, the entire endeavor from aesthetics to subject matter was based in fetishistic, and moreover, Pan-Indigenous tropes.

She starts the video by talking about being witches and  ”part of the Earth”. This particular thing isn’t a problem in and of itself. But her claiming to be Taino means that folks watch this and believe she is expressing or invoking ancestry and ‘spirituality’. And thus history. When in fact, none of this has anything to do with us; it is not actually in any sense Taino. By taking on the moniker, she claims to represent our history, people, culture. Anything and everything in this video can and is variously labeled Taino, which we continue to see being done.

Her dialogue at the beginning of the video:
…I come from the spirits of the ancients. I come from wise women of the Taino and Yoruban people from deep in the Caribbean. Witches. We lived by nature.

Already, we are being associated with the word ‘ancient’, often a way to refer to non-extant cultures and abandoned ruins of cities, regardless of whether they are situated in the historical past or not. Already, we are being cast as ‘in the past’ and as dead. It is dehumanizing. We are a modern people. It is infantilizing to make statements that imply we are ‘amodern’, and as the imagery implies, in a state of existence with nature that is mutually exlusive with ‘technology’ or ‘modernity’. We are not ancient, even if our history spans far into the past. When you equate an entire nation as “ancient”, we are deprived of basic humanity.

Imagery is all about aesthetics. Art is always political. Her clothing in the video is not just ahistorical, but the same garb that fetishizers of Indigenous cultures wear to invoke the trope of the noble savage. It is Pan-Indigenous, and holds no place in history nor modernity. Because we never dressed like that and we do not today. This is, plainly, invoking white ideas of Indigeneity. It is fetishization.

Note that now she identifies not only as Taino, but also Yoruba. She has decided to position herself to speak for the Taino (and Yoruban people, which we do not speak for) describing us through herself as “deep in the Caribbean”, “witches”, “live by nature”, “spirits of the ancient”… and to top it off the video ends with appropriative Plains North American Native traditional singing. There really is no justification for any of it, but even if we weren’t here to mention these things I find it hard to believe folks couldn’t pick this sort of ‘mystical’/’magical’ hippie stuff. This stuff is a direct throwback to Native appropriations of the 60s and 70s, and I don’t see how folks are messaging us wondering how this material is inappropriate when despite us saying it’s wrong on multiple levels, there is _entirely different nations’ culture being stolen, coopted, decontextualized_ here.

How much more Pan-Indigenous can you get? Peoples’ cultures are not a free-for-all for consumption. But offering it up as your work for other people to consume in a work like this? There’s a whole load I could go on about this.

But the following was surely the worst of the video:

Now there’s village and people
We all play our part
There’s naked children running on about
Mothers and sisters
Daughters and son

Nobody seems to give much thought to sexual assault, or molestation, whether we talk about it in our own communities or Indigenous nations’ in North America. Or the phenomenon of Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It’s genocide, targeted at fetishizing, sexualizing, and objectifying women and children.

Does nobody care what these images, what these lyrics do to our people? Does no one think about what kind of harm it does? Is everyone so far up their own fantasies that they don’t realize we don’t live in a world where nudity is a form of decolonization, but a way white society violates, and promotes rape fantasies through the eyes of a colonizer? I’m sorry to break it to folks, but Indigenous cultures that went with little clothing did so out of convenience, not out of a ~deep, spiritual~ need. There’s a reason why so many cultures stop those kinds of practices after colonial invasion. And it’s not because they aren’t “proud of their bodies”. It’s out of fear of violence.  

Nobody cares that everyone from us to scholars have talked about how tropes and fantasies of the ‘tropical paradise’ and ‘nudist colony’ have for years brought tourism and violence directly into our communities. Pedophiles, rapists, abusers of all kinds. People being physically attacked, assaulted, raped, over bullshit fantasies like this?

Who out there cares when we talk about the destruction of our culture, and the genocide of our people, women and children, through sexual violence which just keeps skyrocketing?

Because it’s happening to communities everywhere, impoverished, Caribbean, Dissimilate and Taino alike. Because yes, you drag even non-Indigenous and non-Taino communities into this violence because poor people especially are viewed as savages. This is happening on a daily basis.

And I really need to stress this because everyone wants to misquote and decontextualize statements from posts we make:

I don’t blame Nokia for being disconnected. It’s not about her not being Taino. It’s about her claiming to be. It’s not her fault that she’s disconnected. But she’s fucking aware of the shit she’s writing. She is to blame for the content she’s producing whether she ignores the consequences or neglects to consider them.

I blame people for thinking this is the way to “connecting”.

I absolutely love and appreciate her centering brown and Black women, Indigenous women, in her videos. I love her centering empowering women and girls in her songs, connecting across a wide spectrum:

Room for everyone, room for everyone”.
Her music could be so fucking good.

But I can not accept this. When you use my nation’s name, you drag me, my family, my community, our communities, in with anything you say or do. Without our consent. Against our will. At its heart, colonization is only possible because settlers do things despite lacking consent. And this is violence. We live in the white gaze. There is no escaping history or context as a Person of Color; we are inextricably tied to our people as a whole. And when you expose content, whether it be music, art, literature, commentary, when it’s publicly available where whiteness can look at it, whiteness will pervert it. And the issue here the ideas that fueled this video, and the ideas in it were violent before its creation. Fetishization.

It made me fucking sick, hearing those lyrics, “There’s naked children running on about”. The violence Indigenous peoples face because of such a “seemingly” innocuous trope …you just don’t understand until you’re in that very specific context, front and center. You have no idea how much we’ve already suffered as a nation.

I think about myself and I think about the women (from the children to the elders) who suffered from sex abuse, sex trafficking, sex slavery …who still live and breath with those memories today. It’s not easy. It’s painful.

And we’re here for them. And that means speaking out against this too, whether we want to or not. I really, really need people to understand why we do what we do.
Our people need to be protected. So we can heal. How can healing happen when it can’t progress? Without safety? Because the violence is active and constant.

And content like this? Appropriative, ahistorical, fetishistic, Pan-Indigenous, dehumanizing, sexualizing of children, the objectification of actual Native women…that has to stop.

People have to critically think about on how their actions affect other people. Humanity is about empathy.

Note: I am not insinuating that Nokia is a settler or colonizer.

The Taino people (also known as the Arawak) are a widely considered extinct tribe, who are thought to have perished over 5 centuries ago. These rumors began when the Spaniards, who in need of more slave importation, claimed to have completely extinguished their native population so as to receive an optimal amount of African slaves, who were also thought to be superior laborers. Despite this, numerous tribal leaders have called for the recognition of the Taino’s living, breathing, presence in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. These Tainos fled to the mountainous regions of the Caribbean where they avoided systematic racial dilution, however it is also worth acknowledging that they did allow a few impoverished white and blacks to join their community and some of their tribal members reflect the traits of their mixed ancestry. The Taino people also face being overlooked by the Native American community who often only address, North, South, and Central Americans with no regard for the Caribbean. Simply put even with modern genocidal means, it is very difficult to completely eradicate anything, Columbus and his men were nowhere near thorough enough to completely stamp out such a proud and noble people.

Also little fun fact: Many words that we use today like canoe, hurricane, yuca are taino (Arawak) words.

oberyn7156-deactivated20160910  asked:

Do you know the history og the Arawak/Taino people of Haiti ?? I can't find much information about them (but I know they existed especially in Haiti !?)

Hello, thank you for your question.

Yes, finding information on pre-Columbian societies in Haiti can be difficult.

There were indeed Taínos/Arawak people in Haiti. Estimates vary, but most believe that about 86% of population died within few decades of contact with the Europeans. By the 1560s, the Taínos would have largely disappeared from the island (especially in the Western shore, which is today Haiti). *Given that Hispaniola was among the first islands to be ‘discovered’ by the Europeans, the native populations were very deeply affected by the early encounters.

Studying the pre-Columbian history of Haiti is interesting in part because we get a sense of the ‘shared’ history of Hispaniola’s two countries. (You may be aware that Anacaona, a Cacique (chief) who was executed in 1502 (or 1504) by the Spaniards, is a very important historical/mythological figure both in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.)

Now, in terms of readings, most sources on colonial Saint-Domingue will give you an idea of what life looked like before and during the early years of Spanish colonisation. You can see our reading suggestions for this period here.

For more specific monographs, I suggest you look at Hispaniola: Caribbean Chiefdoms in the Age of Columbus (1990) by Samuel M. Wilson and also, Caciques and Cemi Idols: The Web Spun by Taino Rulers Between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico (2009) by Jose R Oliver.

And finally, I strongly recommend you browse the pages of Island Luminous, a fantastic online resource for Haitian history. You can start reading about the Taínos/Arawaks here.

I hope this was helpful! Good day.

Los Haitises” means “little hills” – so it’s easy to see how Los Haitises National Park got its name. Located in Samaná, the park is most easily accessible by boat from Samaná town. The hilly terrain is home to birds and other wildlife, as well as many caves where visitors can swim in fresh water. The ancient Taino people used some of these caves in ancient times, and their paintings and carvings can still be found throughout the national park.

“Los Haitises” significa “pequeñas colinas” – Es muy fácil de ver de dónde el Parque Nacional Los Haitises obtiene su nombre. Por su ubicación en Samaná, es más fácil acceder al parque en bote desde el pueblo de Samaná. Su terreno abrupto alberga aves y otras especies silvestres, así como muchas cavernas donde los visitantes pueden nadar en agua fresca. Los antiguos taínos usaban algunas de estas cuevas ancestrales en los tiempos antiguos y sus pinturas y tallados aún pueden ser encontrados por todo el parque nacional.

The ceramic fragments in this display—part of a clay bowl, and pot handles shaped like human or animal faces—were likely made by a group sometimes called the Taino peoples, though that single name probably masks their true cultural diversity. Their society was based on farming, and people often lived in large villages with impressive public spaces. Learn more about ¡Cuba! 
©AMNH/D. Finnin

Confession: Okay, so every time I get to the ethnicity/race section on an official form (like a job application or census) I get kind of frustrated? I personally feel like it reinforces colorism. I think it also shows how warped the perception of race and ethnicity is in America. Census.gov defines the following races:

White – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Black or African American – A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.

(Another website stated, “Terms such as “Haitian” or “Negro” can be used in addition to “Black or African American.”)

American Indian or Alaska Native – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

…..I don’t see “Yellow” for Asian, “Red” for Native American, “Olive” for Middle Eastern, or “Brown” for Pacific Islander…..so why is it “Black” for people of African descent and “White” for people of European descent? Why not “African/Afro-Descent” instead of “Black”, and “European/Euro-Descent” instead of “White”? Having “White” or lighter skin does not automatically make a person European. Having “Black” or darker skin does not automatically make a person African. Africans are not all “Black” or dark-skinned. Also, how is Middle Eastern and North African under “White”? The Middle East is NOT Europe. North Africans (ex. Berbers/Tamazigh) are STILL African. And why is Native Carribean (ex. Taino people) not included in the American Indian/Alaska Native section? And Native Americans are AMERICAN, they are not from “India”!

P.S. Proud to be West African and Afro-American.

anonymous asked:

Hey, why didn't Haiti claim back its African name when it became independent?

Hello. Why would Haiti reclaim its African name? It didn’t possess one lol. The slaves who were brought to Saint-Domingue (Haiti’s colonial name) were from various regions of Africa (although a great number were from the Congo), as a result, there was not a single “African culture” but several. Furthermore, up until the very last episodes of the Revolution, most people still had an attachement to France, of course this changed with the Leclerc expedition (1802).

That being said, “Haiti” was the original Taino name of the island, (the Taino people were the indigenous population that lived on the island before Columbus.) Many historians have speculated that one of the reasons Haiti’s head of state decided to call the new country this way was to show that it was breaking its ties with the racist, slave-holding, colonial world and wanted to pay a sort of tribute to the indigenous population that had been massacred precisely because of colonialism. In a lot of ways, Haiti was sending a very provocative message to the rest of the world with this name. :3 (Therefore, I think people ought to be careful not to automatically link everything to Africa, being a colonized people means having a plurality of identities.)

Well, hope this helps :)


I’m posting this photo set for Blackout. Ummm…I just want to say that I identify as Latina (Puerto Rican), but I know that being Latina means that I am a mixture of different races and cultures(Black, Spanish, and Taino). While I do believe there should be a tumblr day of multicultural appreciation, I really do support this statement. Black and brown people have been greatly discriminated against in the United States, and the fight needs to continue. Let us not forget the lives we’ve lost and anger we’ve felt. stop-hammerkind