Thursday, September 13, 2018

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

Photo taken right after the adoption of the Declaration on 13 September 2007
Did You Know: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007, by a majority of 144 states in favor, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States). The Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous Peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of Indigenous Peoples. The United Confederation of Taíno People was among those indigenous organizations consistently advocating for the adoption of the Declaration and was a regional leader galvanizing support from the Caribbean States and Caribbean Indigenous Peoples communities, groups, and organizations. - UCTP Taíno News (c) 2018 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Roberto Múkaro Borrero, holding the
microphone serves as master of ceremonies
for the UN International Day
 of the World's Indigenous Peoples
at UN Headquarters in 1998.
Photo: Holder Thoss
DID YOU KNOW: On 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided, in its resolution 49/214, that the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples shall be observed on 9 August every year. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations. The first official observance took place in 1995 at United Nations Headquarters in NY. A Taíno, Roberto Múkaro Borrero, served as the first Master of Ceremonies for the event, representing “El Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos.” Borrero, filmmaker Alex Zacarias, the Kasibahagua Taíno Cultural Society and other Taíno have since continued to participate in subsequent commemorations of the Day for over 20 years helping to raise the visibility of Taíno and other Caribbean Indigenous Peoples at the international level. – UCTP Taíno News 2018 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Múkaro is Taino

Múcaro comun, Puerto Rican Screech owl (Megascops nudipes)

Did You Know: In the ancient language of the indigenous Taino People, the term múkaro (múcaro) identified several species of owl including the Puerto Rican Screech owl (Megascops nudipes) and the Short-eared owl (Múcaro Real - Asio flammeus). A subspecies, M. n . newtoni, is endemic to the Virgin Islands, is more recently referred to locally as the "cuckoo bird." The múkaro (pronounced mOO-kah-roh) is a small-sized owl possessing a brown upperside, a light-brown to white underside, white brown lines and white eyebrows. The main diet of the species consists of large insects and is complemented with small birds, geckos and small rodents. The species calls throughout the year while hidden in thick foliage, typically at dawn. The múkaro makes a loud coo-coo call, which is the reason for its common name in the Virgin Islands. Contrary to modern folklore giving owls a negative reputation, most owls were traditionally revered by the Taino and they are one of the most popular bird motifs depicted via petroglyphs (rock carvings). Taino names for other owls include “Siguapa” (Stygian Owl - Asio stygius) and “Sihú (Sijú)”, which is used to identify the Cuban Bare-legged owl (Sijú Contunto - Margarobyas lawrencii lawrencii) and the Cuban pygmy-owl (the Sijú platanero; Sijucito; Sijú - Glaucidium vittatum). – UCTP Taino News © 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Siguapa is Taino

Did You Know: Siguapa (Ciguapa) is a Taino term used to describe a legendary nocturnal being, female in form, said to inhabit the deep mountainous regions of Kiskeia (Dominican Republic) and Eastern Cuba. Siguapa are described with having brown or dark blue skin, backward facing feet, and very long, smooth, glossy hair that covers their otherwise naked bodies. In addition, Siguapa are said to enjoy corn, steal salt from unoccupied kitchens, and lure men to undisclosed locations to never to be seen again. Pronounced see-gooah-pah, Siguapa is also a term used specifically for the Stygian Owl (Asio stygius) found in Cuba, the Isle of Pines, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Gonave. – © UCTP Taino News 2014

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Guamahiko is a Taino game

Did You Know: The children’s game played in Borikén often referred to by its Spanish name “gallito” finds its origin in Taino culture. Oral tradition tells us the indigenous Taino name of this game is called guamahiko (guamajico). In this game, players squat around a circle on the ground with their guamahiko, which are guamá or algarrobo seeds tied to a cord called a hiko (jico). Hiko is a Taino word for thread. The guamahiko are placed within the center of the playing circle while players hold the cord attached to their own seeds. One of the players is picked by the group to start the game. This player removes their guamahiko from the circle to attempt to strike and break the other player's seeds. Once a player's seed breaks they are out of the game. The next player does the same as they move in a clockwise direction, until all the seeds are broken. The player that has the unbroken guamá seed at the end of the game is the winner. – UCTP Taino News © 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guaba is Taino

The Guaba or cave spider. Photo: Alferdo Colon

Did You Know: Cave spiders -- also called tailless whip scorpions -- are called guaba in the indigenous Taino language. The body of a guava is flat with long, whip-like legs. They use their powerful pincher-bearing front legs to catch their prey, usually small animals, frogs and crustaceans. The guaba are among the largest arachnid species, growing between 19 and 25 inches long, including their legs. Guaba typically live in caves or under large rocks and inside crevices. They are usually nocturnal. - UCTP Taino News © 2014