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Columbus was never respectful of the rights of the natives he encountered. His first sight of what he termed “Indians” was of a group of attractive, unclothed people. Speculation is that, to him, their nakedness represented a lack of culture, customs, and religion (Wilford 159). Columbus saw this as an opportunity to spread the word of God, while at the same considering how they could possibly be exploited. He believed that they would be easy to conquer because they appeared defenseless, easy to trick because they lacked experience in trade, and an easy source of profit because they could be enslaved (Fernandez-Armesto 83).
Many people still identify themselves as descendants of the Taínos, and most notably among in Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, both on the islands and on the United States' mainland. The concept of living Taíno has been proved controversial, as the historical canon has for so long declared the Taíno to be extinct.
Some scholars, such as Jalil Sued Badillo, an ethnohistorian at the University of Puerto Rico, assert that the official Spanish historical record speak of the disappearance of the Taínos. Certainly there are no full blood Taíno people alive today, but recent research does point towards a large mestizo population.