“Who are the Tainos?
The U.S. Government says they are extinct, but they are not. Most likely you might know them as Latinos, a Spanish speaking person of Latin American (the Spanish speaking part of the Americas, south of the U.S.) descent. Not all, but many modern day Tainos are unaware of their lineage. To understand how that could happen you must know the story from the beginning.
Approximately 1,500 years ago, the Arawak people of South America began migrating northward along the many scattered islands located between South and North America, an area we now refer to as the Caribbean. For a thousand years their population grew and the people lived in harmony. The people covered all the islands of the Caribbean, the major ones as they are now known: Cuba, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola as well as all the smaller ones: the Bahamas, Bimini, Jamaica etc.
Certain groups of island people identified themselves as Lokono, Lucayan, Carib, Ciboney, Arawak, but most islands were primarily inhabited by people who called themselves Taino, which stood for “the good people” in their language. The different groups intermarried extensively to strengthen ties amongst themselves.
Theirs was a beautiful culture.
They were aware of a Divine presence whom they called Yocahu, and to worship and give thanks was a major part of their lives. They had a social order that provided the leaders and guidelines by which they all lived. They hunted, fished, cultivated crops and ate the abundant fruits provided by nature. They were clever and ingenious and had everything they needed to survive. They had beautiful ceremonies that were held at various times – birth, death, marriage, harvest, naming and coming of age, to name a few.
They had special reverence for the Earth Mother (Atabey) and had respect for all living things knowing that all living things are connected. There was little need for clothing due to the tropic heat, but upon reaching puberty both males and females would wear a small woven loincloth. Puberty was also the time at which they were considered old enough to be married. The population estimates for the Taino people at the height of their culture are as high as 8,000,000.
That was in 1492 ….
In 1492, the Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, was loaned three small, old ships from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain for a questionable voyage across the sea in which he hoped to reach India or China. Although Marco Polo had sailed around the world 300 years earlier, and the Norsemen 500 years earlier, there were few sailors willing to sail into the unknown, so the King and Queen released some prisoners early to accompany Columbus on the voyage.
On October 12, 1492 after two months at sea Columbus and his crew finally spotted land. Upon reaching the land, Columbus fell to his knees, thanked God for a safe voyage and planted a flag in the ground, claiming the land for Spain – as the Tainos who had lived there for 1,000 years watched from behind trees and bushes.
The Taino had never before seen white men, clothed people, people with beards or ships like that – they thought these people must be from heaven. So the Taino came out to greet them, as was their custom, and brought the travelers – who surely must have been tired and hungry – food, drink and gifts. Such strong swimmers were the Taino that some of them swam right out to the boats some three miles offshore.
… and the story continues ….
“As seen in …. full read”
~We are Tainos…. we are not “Latinos”~
~Published on Jan 26, 2014~
The Tainos are the indigenous people of the Caribbean, including part of Florida. We are different from Hispanics and Latinos. Hispanics are people from Spain. Latinos are people from Southern Europe. Before 1492, there were no Afrikans or Spaniards on our land, or people of any other race. There were only Tainos. Some people may think of us as “Native Americans” or “American Indians”. While the etymology of these terms can be debated, this is correct.
“Latino” comes from “Latin“. Latin is the root language of all the Southern European languages, known as the “romance languages”. From “Latin America” comes the colonial identity “Latino”. The term “Latin America” was coined by the French economist, Michel Chevalier. It was a political move to ally the conquered now Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking part of “the Americas” with “Latin Europe” in their struggle with “Teutonic Europe,” “Anglo-Saxon America” and “Slavic Europe”.
Our people have been used as pawns to fight Europe’s wars, against each other.
As for Hispanic, “Hispania” was the name the Romans gave to the Iberian Peninsula during their conquest. From “Hispania”, you get “Espana” and “Spain”. From “Hispania” you get “Hispanic”. In my head, I pronounce it, “HiSPAINic” for clarity, because the term only describes things from Spain, just like “Latin” is for all things Southern European.
There is a reason Tainos got tricked into calling themselves “Hispanic” and “Latino”. After colonization began, we forgot who we were. Queen Isabella of Spain was one of many monarchs who instituted laws forbidding us from practicing our indigenous religion, forbidding us from speaking our indigenous language, and making slaves out of us. They did this on purpose. Why? For power. For our land. If they stole who we were, it would be easier to govern us, because we would start thinking that they were us.
Why are we taught to call ourselves “Hispanic” and “Latino” instead of Taino? Why don’t we think of ourselves as Native American, American Indian or Indigenous? It’s all political. We are taught to claim our identity through our conquerors from 1492 because it hides us from the truth of our history. When people are robbed of their history, they are robbed of their humanity. We should be proud of being Taino. When we call ourselves “Hispanic” and “Latino”, it prevents us from being proud of our heritage. It also keeps us from the rights we deserve, like the right to govern our own land.
Knowing who you are gives you happiness and a purpose. If this is your first time being exposed to Taino knowledge, please share with your friends and family who are Taino but don’t know it yet. Use this knowledge to inspire others to reclaim their Indigenous pride and fight for our people’s rights.
For someone who has gone their whole life not knowing who they really are, this knowledge can be shocking. Some might not know what to do. We, the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere, experienced genocide, leading to the death of 95% of our population. Our people have psychological damage from not knowing who we are and being denied our ancestral pride. Let us heal this psychological damage by being supportive of each other. After more than 500 years, it is time for the Tainos to wake up. Let’s do this, together.
You know what “Hispanic” and “Latino” really mean now.
Welcome to being Taino. Welcome to finding out who you really are and who you were always meant to be. Be Taino. Every time you call yourself Taino instead of “Hispanic” or “Latino“, you are making a difference and you are honoring your people.
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#WeAllAreOne #ItIsWhatItIs #DrRex #hrexachwordpress
We ALL are ONE!!