Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Traditional Taino Diet

Did You Know: The traditional diet of the Taino was based mainly on community cultivated agricultural products, supplemented with wild fruits as well as fishing, and limited hunting. Root tubers such as yuka (manioc) and batata (sweet potatoes) were cultivated along with many other diverse food crops like maisi (corn), mani (peanuts), calabasa (pumpkin), iaiama (pineapple), cahuil (cashews), beans, aji (peppers) etc. The hunting of small game such as birds, small mammals, and reptiles such as iguanas, and snakes was also practiced daily by community members. The ocean and rivers were also exploited in a sustainable manner for their bountiful resources. The Taino harvested edible marine-life, including conch, oysters, lobsters, clams, and crabs. Fish were caught with bone and shell hooks, large mesh nets, nasa (fish traps), spears, and bows and arrows. Some of the larger marine-life that the Taino encountered and hunted included the manati (sea cow), tuna, sea turtles, and sharks. Occasionally, even a pilot whale was taken for by various communities. Taino survival was secured by the application of ancient traditional knowledge, which included practical and medicinal knowledge of plants, an deep understanding and symbiotic relationship with their environment, and the ability to apply appropriate tools and techniques. - UCTP Taino News © 2010