Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hikotea is Taino



Did You Know:Hikotea” (jicotea) is a Taino word for various land and fresh water turtles. The term hikotea (hee-koh-teh-ah) is still used throughout the Greater Antilles to identify these turtles. In ancient times the hikotea was directly linked to Taino creation, as the primordial mother of the people was a turtle who transformed into a woman. As a result of this ancestral distinction, many persons still view it as an offense to kill or eat a fresh water or land turtle. A further spiritual distinction of the hikotea is that it carries the numbers of a sacred calendar of the people on its shell. Patterns on the outer edge of its shell coincide with the sacred lunar calendar cycle of 28 days from full moon to full moon. The hikotea’s additional shell patterns correspond with the 13 moons of the lunar year. UCTP Taino News (c) 2013 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Guaio (guayo) is Taino


DID YOU KNOW: The word guaio (guayo) is a Taino term used to identify a grater used in food production. Pronounced gwa-ee-o, the word has been incorporated into regional Spanish dialects even beyond the noun, guayo, into the verb “guayar” meaning “to grate.” Traditionally, a guaio would be made from a slab of wood with sharp, small stones pounded into it, coral slabs, or stones slabs with various perforations, etc.  These various forms of guaio were often artistically elaborated. – UCTP Taino News © 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Batata and ahe (aje) are Taíno

Did You Know: The word batata is a Taíno word describing what is commonly called a sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). The white sweet potato can also be called by another Taíno word, boniato. The word batata has since been incorporated into Portuguese to identify potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). According to some sources, the English word potato is itself derived from the Taíno word batata, which was borrowed from an early Spanish corruption patata. Traditionally, starchy root tubers are a staple of Taíno diet. Beyond the batata, other tubers such as iuka (yuca/cassava/manioc),  iautía (yautia), guaíga (guayiga), and ahe (aje) were also cultivated traditionally. However, of all these tubers iuka remains the most prominent Taíno dietary staple.  In the Caribbean, early Spanish chronicles recorded Taino names for several different varieties of ahe (aje), which are identified today as common or wild yams and are said to be part of the Dioscorea family of tubers. Caribbean or West Indian “yams” are generally identified through their Latin botanical identification of Dioscorea sativa. The word “yam” is an English form derived from nyami, a term found in some West African languages said to mean “to eat”.  Today, some of the early variant ahe tubers are not cultivated commercially or even locally and are no longer easily distinguishable by their diverse, original Taíno names. - UCTP Taino News (c) 2013

Monday, September 02, 2013

Guayiga and Marunguey are Taino



Did You Know: Traditionally, Taino People made special use of a type of cycad plant species in the Zamia family that grows in several varieties throughout the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and even Florida (Zamia pumila, Zamia debilis, Zamia amblyphyllidia, Zamia integriflora, etc). This plant is known as guayiga in Kiskeia (Dominican Republic), it also is known as marunguey in Borikén (Puerto Rico). The indigenous Seminole Peoples of Florida call it Coonti. In Kuba (Cuba) these plants are known as Yuquilla de ratón or Yuquilla de paredón. While guayiga/marunguey is extremely poisonous, the Taino learned to make a bread called Chola or Cholla, out of its roots. The production of this bread is similar to that of Taino kasabe (yuka/cassava/manioc bread). According to local traditional knowledge, once the bread is made, it is left outside, and when insects begin to land on it, the bread is deemed ready to be consumed as the poisons have been sufficiently extracted. Today, on the island of Kiskeia, the communities of Higuey and Haina produce most of the chola bread made on the island. – UCTP Taino News © 2013 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Stingray and Taino Culture



Did You Know: Since ancient times, stingrays have been a part of the Caribbean’s marine environment and the cultures of the region’s Indigenous Peoples. Taino and other Caribbean Indigenous Peoples, for example, would traditionally use the barbed spine located toward the bottom of a stingray’s tail in various ways. Stingray barbs would sometimes be used as tips for spears and arrows used for hunting or weapons, as well as for adornments like necklaces and bracelets. Like sharkskin, the rough skin of certain stingrays were  also used as a grating tool to grind yuka (yuca/cassava/manioc) into a fine powder.  Some Taino words for stingrays include Libusa, Sabina, Lebisa, and Chucho (spotted eagle ray). - UCTP Taino News © 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Arepa and the Taino


arepas300 5 Non Traditional Dishes To Serve At Thanksgiving
Did You Know: An arepa is a flat corn bread patty developed by Indigenous Peoples in Northern South America, but its use has spread throughout the Caribbean region for generations. An arepa can be made fresh or with dried corn, which is ground into flour and made into dough that can be cooked in different ways. If dried corn kernels are used, however, they are boiled and soaked in water over night to breakdown the “hull” of the corn. Some indigenous communities also add ground limestone or ashes to breakdown the hull. The term arepa is used in the Taino language today, but it is actually a non-Taino “loan word” originally from the Karina or “true” Carib peoples of mainland South America. – UCTP Taino News © 2013