reply to post by ammocase
According to slavery laws (as far as I can recall from History 101) there was the law of the octogoon, or being one-eighth "black" or sometimes
"Indian" to be enslaved. That law of 1/8th (I think it's one "dark" or native grandparent) then got taken by eugenics to determine race, and to
breed out "undesireable races", at least where they were the minority to whites. So the aim in Australia and other white colonies was to breed out
the aborigines by making them 1/8 or below. However, as the political tide turned people with one grandparent had to be considered "native", and the
"octogoon law" was used in reverse.
So in a lot of postcolonial states having one-eighth ancestry is enough to be considered indigenous.
Latin America has always been a bit of an enigma here.
Some say it is because the Catholics placed little importance on race (and the Latin European races were already seen as mixed with the Moors and
Sephardic peoples by the Anglo-Saxons). Catholicism incorporated local beliefs and cultures, while Protestants in the US were more set on "purity",
which led to segregation. Others say that the first settlers were families in Anglo countries, or white women were brought to them.
The conquistadors were single men who mostly took local women as wives, and many more concubines. Brazil had very brutal slavery (and African slaves
were meant to be replaced and not bred locally, unlike the US south) and historians argue it is because the Portuguese landowners came as single men,
and never brought the "civilizing influence" of wives and families from Europe.
Whatever the case, Catholic Latin America is essentially still overridingly, genetically "Indian America" - whereas in Protestant countries today
(Australia, New Zealand, much of North America) laws are quite clear-cut on who is native, and who is not (although not everybody is happy with those
So in a sense, the Taino are reclaiming an identity that might be granted in other post-colonial spheres.
On the other hand, perhaps there are genetic tests these days that could prove that some are "pure" Taino. I'm not sure that would make any
PS. Quite strange, in the books on Carib survival in the early 20th century both the pics and comments refer to the light skin of the Carib, and some
have even likened them to the Inuit, rather than Amazonian peoples (although that's typical, and rather fanciful armchair anthropology of that
As far as culture goes, considering the deliberate genocides against native people, whether they were segregated or forcefully assimilated, there is
probably not a single group that retains all of its pre-contact culture.
In fact there is no group that retains pre-Industrial, let alone pre-Christian or Roman culture, even in Europe. Culture is dynamic and we all
construct it as we go along.
[edit on 8-6-2010 by halfoldman]