30 July 2007

Archaeologists discover slaves were wealthy; relations with Tainos

Friday, 27 July 2007-Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation:

Caribbean archaeologists say recent discoveries have forced them to rethink traditional views about the region's history. They have just held their biennial conference in Jamaica, where the role of archaeology in understanding the Caribbean history came up for discussion. The archaeologists say their findings are sometimes in direct contrast to what has been written by the "planter class", especially as it relates to the period of slavery. Roderick Ebanks, who chaired the Jamaica conference, is one of the archaeologists doing research into the Caribbean's past. He explained that they have come across the villages of enslaved workers and what they found is very different from what was written by contemporary planters. At an excavated African workers village in Seville on the North coast of Jamaica there were keys and large padlocks in the buildings indicating there was a lot of material wealth. As he pointed out the wealth is not surprising when you remember that the slaves create the internal marketing system. Many slaves were wealthy during slavery. Their wealth came not from handouts from planters but from their work in the grounds, their trading and their farms in the hills. From oral tradition it was known that there was a close relationship between Africans and native Arawaks who were called Taino. Now DNA evidence is showing that the maroons carry a lot of genes of the Taino people. The African male slaves who escaped took Taino wives and those were the people who became the maroon population.
Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation

27 July 2007

Andy Palacio in Los Angeles

Thanks to CAC editor Cheryl Noralez for forwarding the following announcement:

Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United (GAHFU) is proud to announce that Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective will be performing a Benefit Concert for GAHFU’s 2ND Annual School Supply Drive/Fundraiser in Los Angeles, Ca on August 3, 2007 at the Latino Night Club located at 3054 West Pico Blvd. (corner of Western).
Please call (323) 898-6841 for information.

Please view for concert details: http://www.garifunaheritagefoundation.org/327.html

The concert will benefit the new NGC School in Dangriga and the children of Belize. The school supplies donated will be distributed by the National Garifuna Council (NGC). A percentage from the Benefit Concert will be donated through GAHFU, INC. directly to the NGC to purchase additional supplies. The president of NGC Michael Polonio has provided GAHFU with a “Wish List” of the supplies needed for the new NGC School.
  1. Net workable computers with facility for internet access
  2. Printers, photocopiers, a projector, a VCR, filing cabinets
  3. Books of all different fields that serve as teaching aids at the pre and primary school level in all of the typical subject areas of Math, Language, Geography, Reading, Sciences and so on
  4. Standard teaching and Learning aids such as pens, pencils, exercise books, folders, magic markers, erasers, coloring pencils and the like.
  5. A speaker system for school announcements would also be nice.
Please arrive early the concert will begin at 8pm sharp with an opening performance by Guwie Posse.

View pictures of GAHFU’s 1ST School Supply Drive which benefited the children of Livingston, Izabal-Guatemala in August 2006.

Thank you in advance for your support and we hope to see you there.

More on Andy Palacio...

From The San Jose Mercury News:
Palacio uses music to keep Garifuna culture alive
By Andrew Gilbert

"Everybody wants to be cool, especially young people," says Andy Palacio, 45, the moving force behind the Garifuna Collective, a band that's attracting international attention to the endangered, little-known Garifuna culture of Central America.

A native of Belize, the singer and guitarist has assembled a cross-generational cast of leading Garifuna musicians in an ensemble mixing traditional instruments and rhythms with electric guitars, bass and keyboards. The result is a galloping sound built on distinctive Garifuna punta grooves.

With the release in February of the Garifuna Collective's debut album "Watina" on the new label Cumbancha, Palacio is helping to spearhead a cultural renaissance in the Garifuna enclaves of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, while introducing the world to a people whose origins are as dramatic as their music is soulful....(read more at the link above)

26 July 2007

Andy Palacio: Diffusing Garifuna Culture Internationally

Andy Palacio, a Garifuna singer and songwriter from Belize and a former teacher and current government minister, has been recording a string of hits and making news across Central and North America. Recent coverage in the US press has included feature articles in The San Francisco Chronicle (see: "Music that could save a culture," by Chuly Varela, Wednesday July 25 2007, which appeared on page E-1 of the print edition), and The Wall Street Journal (see: "Black, Amerindian and Proud of Building on a Tradition," by Ed Ward, June 26 2007, which appeared on page D5 of the print edition).

In The San Francisco Chronicle article, Palacio speaks at length on the issue of the Garifuna language. He says: "I think my generation in Belize is the last to be raised where Garifuna was our first language in the home, streets and playground. But in the classroom, English was the language of instruction." He adds that, "in its essence Garifuna is one of the Arawak family of languages, with borrowed words from Africans, who intermarried with Arawaks and Caribs. The French also had a significant impact on the Garifuna vocabulary when we were relocated to the Central American republics."

Palacio also praises the role of women in maintaining Garifuna culture: "[It is] the women who have nurtured these songs and kept them alive [and the] men who have been beating these drums all along. Our mothers who have retained in their minds recipes for tasty Garifuna dishes. It is at their feet that I sit in order to learn."

The article in the SFC also notes that, "in 2001, UNESCO proclaimed the Garifuna language, music and dance Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Palacio played an important role in securing that recognition, and that led to his appointment as deputy administrator of the National Institute of Culture and History in Belize."

The Wall Street Journal article also reveals Palacio's concern for the loss of the Garifuna language, rooted in a visit to a Garifuna community in Nicaragua where the language had virtually disappeared: "This established a certain consciousness in me, that there was the frightening prospect that we could wind up in Belize like the Garifuna in Nicaragua."

The article ends on a note of ambiguity, indicating that while Palacio has generated a great deal of excitement at home and abroad, it is doubtful whether his success will help to preserve the language. On the other hand, as the writer of the article noted, similar efforts to revive Cajun music and Irish music in the 1960s and afterwards proved successful.

25 July 2007

The Gli-Gli Carib Canoe: Final Report

Many thanks to Aragorn Dick-Read for sending the final report for the voyage of the Gli-Gli Carib Canoe of Dominica through the Greater Antilles which took place this summer. Readers can download a PDF copy of the report from:


(File size: 997 Kb)

21 July 2007

The Imperialist Drive

While it would appear that formal colonialism largely ended in the last century, the imperial impulse entered the new millennium in altered forms, writes Ayman El-Amir in Al-Ahram Weekly Online at:

"One is often tempted to believe, even through a sheer lapse of memory, that colonialism and the long trail of generations that fought it is something of the past, now dead and buried in history books. Yet nearly three- quarters of all member states of the United Nations today have become independent sovereign countries in the past half century through struggles of self- determination. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has, during his recent visit to Algeria, declined to apologise for the atrocities France committed during its 130-year-long occupation and exploitation of Algeria. It is a strong reminder that colonial attitudes remain a bitter reality and that despite the promise of globalisation, colonialism in its varied forms still poisons the lives of many around the world....Colonialism in all its abominable forms, whether direct military conquest or settler colonialism, has crept into the 21st century."

13 July 2007

New Archaeology Dissertation on Puerto Rico

Many thanks and congratulations to Dr. RENIEL RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS for making available to the public a complete electronic version of his doctoral dissertation, which he recently defended at the University of Florida. His main interest is that the archaeological work that is done in the Antilles reaches the widest audience possible, and we are happy to facilitate. Please download a copy, in PDF format, from:


Dissertation Title:


Problem Statement
Study Overview

Rousean Culture-Historical Systematics: An Overview
Culture-History: Toward an Updated Approach
From Shared Norms to Contested Actions
From Passive Things to Active Objects
From “Cultures” in Isolation to People in Interaction
From the Micro to the Macro and Vise Versa: Toward a Multiscalar Perspective

Toward an Anthropological Approach to Lithic Technologies
Lithic Procurement Dynamics
Lithic Production Dynamics
Core-Flake Reduction: Individual Flake Analysis
Core-Flake Reduction Formats
Pecked and Ground Materials
Celts and adzes
Other formal items
Use-Modified Materials
Radiocarbon Database
Nature of the Sample
Paso del Indio
La Hueca-Sorcé
Puerto Ferro
Punta Candelero
Punta Guayanés
Rio Tanamá
Finca de Doña Rosa (UTU-44)
Vega de Nelo Vargas (UTU-27)

The Initial Construction of the “Archaic”: From Cuba to Puerto Rico
Rethinking the Pre-Arawak Landscape of Puerto Rico
The Timing of the Discovery of the Island
Traditions of Doing Stone Things in Pre-Arawak Times
Core-flake reduction
Pecked and ground materials
Use-modified materials
The Introduction of Agriculture and Pottery Production
Building Place
Pre-Arawak Socialities
Things that Grow: The Maritime Dispersal of Early Cultivars in the Neo-Tropics

Multifaceted Overview of the “La Hueca Problem”
Absolute and Relative Chronologies
The Superstructural Element
Infrastructural Organization
Lithics in the Hacienda Grande Complex
Core-flake technology
Pecked-ground materials
Use-modified materials
Tradition of Doing Stone Things in the LH Complex
Core-Flake Reduction
Procurement dynamics
Production dynamics
Pecked and Ground Materials
Celts and adzes
Other ground materials
Use-Modified Materials
Round fine-grained hammerstones
Other hammerstones
Pecking stones
Round pitted stones
Edge-ground cobbles
Striated pebbles
Grinding slabs
Angular pitted stones
LH Lithic Technological Styles: A Summary Perspective
Comparison between LH and Cedrosan Related Assemblages
Procurement Dynamics
Production Dynamics
Core-flake reduction
Pecked and ground materials
Use-modified materials
The La-Hueca Problem: A Lithics Perspective
Things that Glow: The Macro-Regional Movement of Shiny Wearable Art in the Greater Caribbean

The Crab/Shell Dichotomy: A Synopsis
Multiple Developments, Multiple Interactions: From Cultural Isolation to a Landscape of Plurality
The Pre-Arawak/LH-Hacienda Grande Interface
Of Fissioned Villages, New Communities, and Other Selves
Traditions of Doing Stone Things in the Late Precolonial Landscape of Puerto Rico
Core-Flake Reduction
Procurement dynamics
Production dynamics
Use-Modified Materials
Pecked and Ground Materials
Celts and adzes
Other ground materials
The Lithic Evidence: Some Final Remarks
Public Display of Difference and Power
The Embodiment of Difference: The Onset of Cranial Deformation
Lithifying the Landscape: The Installation of Rock Enclosures
The A.D. 1000-1100 Event and the Intensification of Regional Political Integration
From the Taíno People to the Taíno Spectrum
Things that Show: Displaying Prestige and Ritualizing Power in the Greater Caribbean

The Precolonial History of Puerto Rico
From a Phylogenetic to a Reticulate Model of Antillean Archaeology
From the Antilles to the Greater Caribbean
Five Hundred Years of What? Some Final Thoughts



Indigenous Peoples and the USA on Trial

Thanks to Tony Castanha for sending the information below:

Copies of "USA ON TRIAL: THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND OPPRESSED NATIONS IN THE US" held in San Francisco in 1992, with Special Prosecutor Francis Boyle, puts the US on trial for crimes against the rights of hundreds of Indigenous Peoples and Nations across the US, including Hawaiians, Puerto Ricans and African Americans, is available for free download at:


12 July 2007

Agueybana III reclaims Puerto Rico?

Se qu te va interesar. Salio hoy en las portadas de http://www.endi.com/ y en http://www.primerahora.com/

"Nosotros los indios taínos de Boriquén…"
En medio de la vorágine que provoca en Puerto Rico la eterna discusión del status político, una novel demanda presentada en el Tribunal Federal por un "noble descendiente de la real dinastía del cacique Agüeybaná" cuestionó sin éxito la legalidad de la soberanía estadounidense sobre la Isla.

Juan Ramón Nadal, hijo, "conocido también como Agueybaná III, Jefe Supremo de la Isla de Boriquén, descendiente de sangre de Agüeybaná", reclamaba en su demanda, desestimada por la jueza Aida Delgado, que se certificara como clase la acción presentada a "nombre de los indios taínos de la Isla de Boriquén".

El autoproclamado Agüeybaná III, quien cumple una larga condena en la prisión de Shawangunk, en Walkill, Nueva York, por delitos no especificados, exigía a Estados Unidos una compensación de $515 mil millones por el usufructo de Puerto Rico.

"Nosotros, los indios taínos de la Isla de Boriquén, cuatro millones de personas, que somos una mezcla de sangre taína (nativa), africana y europea… desde tiempos inmemoriales, formamos una nación soberana e independiente", reza parte de la demanda.

"Tras la formación de la Isla de Boriquén, nosotros indios taínos y nuestros ancestros hemos sido y somos los únicos y exclusivos dueños de la Isla de Boriquén, gobernada por nuestras leyes, usos y costumbres...", sostuvo.

Es así que el "tataranieto de Agüeybaná" exigía que se ordenara a Estados Unidos ceder todo reclamo de soberanía y títulos sobre Puerto Rico.

"Estados Unidos evacuará de inmediato la Isla de Boriquén, ahora bajo la supuesta soberanía estadounidense, y al año de la cesión de soberanía nombrará unos plenitenciarios que se reunirán en San Juan, Isla de Borinquén, para arreglar la evacuación de la Isla y negociar y concluir un tratado de paz…"

"Nosotros los indios taínos éramos los ocupantes de la Isla de Boriquén antes de la llegada de Estados Unidos", agrega. "No somos un territorio de Estados Unidos, ni parte de la Unión".

"Nosotros los indios taínos somos una nación política independiente, que no rinde su derecho a la independencia y la autodeterminación", sostiene.

Llama la atención que el autoproclamado Agüeybaná está recluido en Shawangunk donde, según información obtenida en la red cibernética, han cumplido cárcel prisioneros tales como las Panteras Negras, afroamericanos convertidos al islamismo, y posiblemente algún boricua.

Sin capacidad jurídica
La jueza Delgado desestimó la demanda aduciendo falta de jurisdicción y ausencia de capacidad jurídica, aunque no le disputó al demandante "el derecho de considerarse un descendiente de la dinastía de los taínos".

Indicó que la acción no la trajo una "tribu india o banda o cuerpo gobernante reconocido por el Secretario del Interior", que establecería la jurisdicción.

Segundo, dijo, el demandante no tiene capacidad jurídica para reclamar un daño o interés legal que no sea especulativo e hipotético.

"Me cuesta pensar que la referencia a daños sea una invitación a adjudicar la historia política entre Estados Unidos y España…", apuntó Delgado.

"Aunque el demandante no especifica, parece que a esto es que se refiere cuando habla del acto mediante el cual Puerto Rico fue entregado de forma ilegal a Estados Unidos".

"El demandante se fundamenta en una ilusoria percepción de sí mismo como gobernante autoproclamado de los extintos indios taínos y su punto de vista e interpretación de la historia de Puerto Rico, que no se puede tomar de forma racional, ni es suficiente para establecer un reclamo bajo el que se le puede conceder un remedio", sentenció Delgado. -- Sonia Migdalia Rosa-Vélez M.A.

11 July 2007

Recolonizing Australia...or why Trojan horses never say "sorry"

Recolonizing Australia? It does not seem likely given that for Aboriginals in Australia, colonialism never ended. However, some extra inches were hard won in terms of limited land rights for select communities, limited degrees of self-determination, and landmark court victories. Perhaps this is why the right wing government of Prime Minister John Howard has joined what appears to be a growing international anti-indigenous movement in clawing back indigenous rights. This is the government that has steadfastly refused to ever say "sorry" for the genocidal acts inflicted upon Aboriginals, such as having generations of their children forcibly removed and schooled in Euro-Australian institutions. Speaking for myself, as a non-Aboriginal, I would have thought that "sorry," after decades of genocide, would be belittling and humiliating, a slap in the face given the minor and trivial nature of a mere apology. So imagine the characters of these persons who think "sorry" is too much to offer.

As if living out his fantasy for a "final solution" for Aboriginal Australia, PM Howard has used the excuse of a report of abuse of children in the Northern Territory to do what? To send in troops, police, ill prepared bureaucrats, and unmarried doctors to check on the integrity of the genitalia of Aboriginal children. More than that, the Howard government has taken control of 73 Aboriginal townships, compelling them to submit to leasing their territories for five years. The central government needs to take over land to stop child abuse? More than that even, non-Aboriginals no longer require permits to enter Aboriginal territories--what this means is that, ironically, sex tourists who fancy Aboriginal children can now have a go. Alcohol and pornography are to be banned, and yet most Aboriginals who drink do their drinking in white-owned establishments in towns, not in their territories. Troops to prevent Aboriginals from sexually abusing their children? And yet the report that offered this entry point for Howard indicated that non-Aboriginals had also sexually abused Aboriginal children. The same "Little Children Are Sacred" report listed 97 prescriptions for tackling child abuse, and not one of them involved troops, land takeovers, or scrapping the permit system.

Howard's concern for child welfare is more than just questionable. After all, this is the same Prime Minister who locked up Afghan children fleeing the Taliban along with their parents in desolate, blazingly hot prison camps in the outback, in places such as Woomera in South Australia. Afghans fleeing the Taliban pre-2001 were labelled "economic opportunists," but suddenly, after September 11, 2001, the same John Howard was the first to offer troops to support a US invasion of Afghanistan, and the Taliban suddenly really were "evil." In Australia, an Aboriginal child received a prison sentence for stealing magic markers, called "texters" in Australia, under a "three strikes" policy since he had stolen minor items before. As we all know, prisons are ideal places for rehabilitating disadvantaged children. Now they can all live in prison once more.

No other people in Australia--and child abuse is not a monopoly of Aboriginals, needless to say--suffers troops in their homes to deal with their domestic crises. Aboriginals are being singled out for special treatment indeed, as children, as cripples, and as wards.

This latest Trojan horse does not come to say "sorry," it comes to say "I am here to look after the welfare of your little ones."

09 July 2007

New Book: Taino Indian Myth and Practice

Our thanks to Bobby Gonzalez for forwarding this news:
Taíno Indian Myth and Practice: The Arrival of the Stranger King
by William F. Keegan
Details: 256 pages 6x9 Cloth: $39.95
ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-3038-8
ISBN 10: 0-8130-3038-2
Pubdate: 4/22/2007
"A path-breaking work, rich and mature, complex but readily accessible. It unites the many facets of . . . 25 years of innovative research and leads us out of the once-irresolvable dilemmas of contemporary archaeology."--Geoffrey W. Conrad, William Hammond Mathers Museum, Indiana University

"Charts a new course toward a broader understanding of Taíno society, myth, and archaeology at the dawn of the Spanish colonial period. His approach livens the archaeological record and illuminates our reading of the documentary record."--Dave D. Davis, Tulane University

Applying the legend of the "stranger king" to Caonabo, the mythologized Taino chief of the Hispaniola settlement Columbus invaded in 1492, Keegan examines how myths come to resonate as history--created by the chaotic interactions of the individuals who lived the events of the past as well as those who write and read about them. The "stranger king" story told in many cultures is that of a foreigner who comes from across the water, marries the king's daughter, and deposes the king. In this story, Caonabo, the most important Taíno chief at the time of European conquest, claimed to be imbued with Taino divinity, while Columbus, determined to establish a settlement called La Navidad, described himself as the "Christbearer."

Keegan's ambitious historical analysis--knitting evidence from Spanish colonial documents together with data gathered from the archaeological record--provides a new perspective on the encounters between the two men as they vied for control of the settlement, a survey of the early interactions of the Tainos and Spanish people, and a complex view of the interpretive role played by historians and archaeologists. Presenting a new theoretical framework based on chaos and complexity theories, this book argues for a more comprehensive philosophy of archaeology in which oral myths, primary source texts, and archaeological studies can work together to reconstruct a particularly rich view of the past.

William F. Keegan is curator of Caribbean archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and professor of anthropology and Latin American studies at the University of Florida.

The People Who Discovered Columbus: The Prehistory of the Bahamas

08 July 2007


For a flyer, please download a PDF copy from:

Takaji Familia (Buenos Días Familia),

[Takaji Family,]

CATTA-COOP cordialmente le invita participar en la 3ra Jornada Indígena-Taína en Barrio Coabey, Jayuya, Boriké (Puerto Rico) el Sábado y Domingo, 11 y 12 de Agosto, 2007

(favor mirar el anejo abajo para detalles y ver el enlace de la página cibernética de CATTA-COOP). Un programa detallada estará disponible pronto.

[CATTA-COOP cordially invites you all to participate in the 3rd Indigenous Taíno Gathering in Barrio Coabey, Jayuya, Boriké (aka Puerto Rico) on Saturday and Sunday, August 11-12, 2007

(please see the attachment below for details and check out the link to CATTA-COOP's website). A detailed program will be available soon.]


Nota: La página cibernética de CATTA-COOP esta disponible solamente en español pero una versión en inglés estará disponible pronto.

La invitación arriba, sin embargo, esta in ambos idiomas (español y inglés), y también se puede ver en la página calendario cibernética al http://cattacoop.web.prw.net/CATTA_Calendario.htm.

[Note: The CATTA-COOP's website is currently only available in Spanish but an English version will be made available soon.

The preliminary flyer above, however, is in both languages (Spanish and English), and can also be viewed on the website's calendar page at http://cattacoop.web.prw.net/CATTA_Calendario.htm.]

Donaciones son aceptadadas y agradecidas, y voluntarios bienvenidos (favor llamar para más detalles).

[Donations are accepted and appreciated, and volunteers are welcome (please call for more details).]

Esperamos verlos.
[We look forward to seeing you.]

Omá Bahari (Con Respeto),
[With Respect,]

Tio Bo Guatukan (Bendiciones Ancestrales),
[Ancestral Blessings,]

Amor, Abrazos, Paz y Taíno-tí (Honramos la Luz en Ti),
[Love, Hugs, Peace & We Honor the Light in You,]

Joanna y Familia
[Joanna & Family]