Long-lost art of a vanished civilization revealed by British archaeologists on uninhabited island in Caribbean

Five centuries after it was largely obliterated by the Spanish conquistadors, the long-lost culture of a vanished civilisation is being rediscovered by British and local archaeologists.

Before the Spanish conquest of the islands of the Caribbean, the region’s major indigenous people was a culture known as the Tainos.

British and Puerto Rican archaeologists are now rediscovering the spiritual heart of that culture – the world’s largest concentration of Taino art, located on a tiny and remote uninhabited island called Mona, midway between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

So far, literally thousands of previously unknown Taino drawings and paintings have been found in 30 caves on the island. More than 100 caves have yet to be explored – and it’s likely that many more artworks will be discovered. Read more.

El areyto

La primera manifestación de poesía en Puerto Rico procede de los taínos.
El areyto era una especie de cantar o romance taíno con que los nativos acompañaban en sus bateyes los ritmos de sus danzas. Se utilizaba para narrar acontecimientos pasados de la tribu, mientras los danzantes añadían a la danza (araguaco) un estribillo en forma coral. Se teatrizaban en las fiestas solemnes de los pueblos, las cuales podían durar muchos días.
Se utilizaban también para educar a los niños.

El areyto se ejecutaba de la siguiente manera:
Un guía o corifeo dirige el canto de la danza. Este director de ceremonias es el que marca el cambio de tono o contrapaso, ademas de señalar a los cantantes el paso de un tema a otro. El resto de los participantes coristas repiten el estribillo o estrofa de ritornelo.

I wish there was a tumblr Taino community

Beyond the few of us that use the tag.
Something to find a way to learn our language, to share what we know within our community and yet still be proud of our distinct Taino heritages.
I think that’d be so awesome (and kinda necessary for some of us).

Puerto Rico and Taínos

Okay, I just identified one reason why I’m usually weirded out whenever my fellow Puerto Ricans and their descendants talk about their own indigenousness, literally claim to be indigenous, or talk about the genocide of Taínos in a way that either blames “white people” (whatever that means cuz I’ve noticed some blame Spaniards, some blame all descendants of Spaniards, some weirdly blame gringos which is fucking weird) or blames no one (“the Taínos were massacred” “by who??”).

I am really bothered by this phenomenon because it ignores two facts:

a) Puerto Rico was created as a settler colony. Puerto Rico’s institutions, culture, society was built on top of the foundations of a settler colony. A settler colony is by definition detrimental to the original inhabitants of the land. Your being Puerto Rican doesn't make you the heir of the Taínos (at least not directly), it makes you the heir of the colonising project that destroyed them (and this is very direct). 

b) If your ancestors were indigenous, then (given the very high rates of European ancestry on the island and mixing between Europeans and indigenous people in the early days of the colony) your ancestors were probably also European. If you are a descendant of indigenous people (which a lot of people in PR claim whether they have proof or not which is besides the point but whatever), then you are almost for certain a descendant of those who killed them. You are a descendant of those who killed the Taínos. Why do you ignore this though?? It’s one thing to honor the memory of the Taínos (which I believe is important), but to rid yourself of the inherited blame for their genocide is such a huge disrespect and frankly just weird, especially being a member of the continuation of the settler colony that destroyed them. 

Puerto Rico History II (Tainos)

      We’ve talked about one side of those who make up Puerto Rico, the Spanish. But when they first got here, there were people already living here, the Tainos (the indigenous race). These Tainos came from the Arawaks, and they populated all of the Caribbean Islands. There were Tainos in Puerto Rico, Jamaica and a bit of Cuba. In Cuba were also the Guanahatabeyes, in La Espanola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) were the Macoriges, Ciboyenes and some Tainos. 

      Before the Tainos became what they were when they were found, they evolved from a different civilization of Igneris, and Sub-Tainos. Taino meant, in their language, “good”, as they were very good people, very friendly, unlike some other indigenous societies. They were organized in Yucayeques, which meant “City of Yuca” (Yuca is a very good viand, know in english as Cassava). They lived off agriculture, in Conucos, where they planted, most of it was Yuca. 

      Yucayeques were small villages composed of the Batey (central plaza), Barbacoas (guarding posts), Conucos (where they planted), Guatu (central fire), Bohios (houses), and the Caney (house of the Cacique or Guare, leader). 

      Of course, they lived with social strata. At the top of the pyramid were the Guoxeris, which meant the Cacique and his family. He had absolute power over religious things, political and economical. He declared war, and started the batu (a ball game, and parties)(Tainos loved to party). Mantuheris came next in the pyramid. They were the warriors who also worked on agriculture. The Baharis was composed of the Bohique and his family, he was the medical witch of the tribe. He was the one who started the Cojoba, a ritual where Tainos cleared out their stomachs and inhaled some drug to communicate with the gods. The Naborias were the lowest in society. They were the ones that worked in construction and hunted and fished. 

     Its very important to know that they celebrated a lot of Areytos (parties) and they were very good and friendly people, as that was one of the things that Puertorican culture adopted for some time. Of course, now they are all a bunch of as*holes as everywhere on Earth, but oh well…  

     Please, ask questions, it pleases me. :) 

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Lost History: Rediscovering the Taíno People Part 1

part 2

grito de amor

me dijeron… this is a Taino cacique who was buried with his favorite wife.  Check him out – late fifties, dental and skull decay… he’s all chill… descando en paz.  Now check her out – sixteen or seventeen, perfect teeth and skull.  She had the honor of being buried alive with her cacique.

K barbaro!  Lamentablemente, la barbaridad contra las mujeres aun existe en Quisqueya.