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The Taino - are they alive or extinct?

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posted on Jun, 8 2010 @ 05:37 PM

Originally posted by Chamberf=6
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and experience all these cultures that have vanished. There seem to be so many "lost" groups in the "New World".

Hopefully, you are busy experiencing all the different kinds of human beings that are living right now on the planet. And not just their food in some exotic restaurant in your town. And new groups of people and new cultures are forming all the time. It's an ongoing process.

But it's not like a zoo, where you can marvel and laugh at another culture's customs and appearance. They might not take kindly to that.

It's like people and their wish to meet aliens. There are plenty of people on this planet who are alien enough to satisfy your interest in the strange and unusual.

posted on Jun, 9 2010 @ 01:36 PM
reply to post by Blue Shift

An excellent point about the "human zoo", which points to several dangers of Western people's wishes and needs to keep an illusion of certain "pristine" cultures. Take the San (Bushmen) peoples in southern Africa. Many Western anthropologists made their careers by spending a few weeks in the Kalahari, and then writing with great authority on the "prehistoric" hunter-gatherers (when most have been semi-settled and herders since 1900). This view of the San meant that they were denied development aid given to their neighbors from other tribes, and they could enjoy neither the advances of modernism or their pre-colonial lifestyle. They became squatters and ciphers, partly because of anthroplogical discourse. It was almost like: "No, don't give them clothes, us Western Anthropologists need pictures of them naked"!
However, thinking creatively about history, and imagining a time-machine is probably not the same as not appreciating human diversity at present. I mean, I'd love to see how they built pyramids and so forth for many other reasons apart from a "historic zoo".

Of course native peoples today present themselves as they wish, and they have a vast range of semiotic markers to choose from.
When the San people in SA agitated for land rights they toured around in loin cloths (although the skins were made of goatskin, rather than hunted animals). When Native Amricans protested as far back as the 1950s they wore feathers and tribal costumes to picket the stock-exchange and other clothes they no longer (or never) wore to great effect.

So culture is indeed in flux, and it was so before colonialism and remains so now. But, some point of Western imagination always seems to be evoked.

The Taino were colonized for a very long time, since 1492.
So their semiotic markers in the clips above seem like a mixture between various Latin American /Amazonian markers. Columbus described them as naked, but here they seem to indulge in a number of styles that draw attention to their geographical and historical position.

[edit on 9-6-2010 by halfoldman]

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 08:10 PM
Fascinating debate about the Caribs and their casting in "Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest".

Images of the Taino/Carib have changed throughout history (and they comment more on the era of the image or film).

posted on Jun, 11 2010 @ 08:46 PM
I'm reminded especially of two "Columbus" films, one a series from 1985, and the other the film: "1492: the Conquest of Paradise" (1992).
Both include terrible neo-colonialist (almost fascist) grandstanding, which is really surprising for post-modern era film.
The first has a stereotypical beach scene with the "Taino", the second associates them more with Amazonian forest tribes, and the Spanish only meet them in the jungle.
I'm having a tough time getting Native American scenes from either, and it's strange how they are obscured.
Well, the 1985 series:
The 1992 material is pretty limited on the Web to Vangelis' anthemic music (, and the visuals avoid the Taino. Instead they focus on the central character as an unstoppable manifest destiny, romanticized and eroticized, with some sexy sailor shots. Sword in hand, it seems, destiny blows him to conquer "virgin territory".
Here is a movie still of the "Taino":
I wonder if others have versions of various Taino representations in Columbus films?

[edit on 12-6-2010 by halfoldman]

posted on Jun, 12 2010 @ 02:12 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

Strange, because the "Taino" actors differ widely between the 1985 and 1992 versions. One wouldn't really think it was the same people!
The former have at times an almost Polynesian quality, more akin to the "Mutiny on the Bounty" genre.
Despite the bowing to Columbus (cringe), this gets my vote of something closer to the truth.

[edit on 12-6-2010 by halfoldman]

posted on Jun, 19 2010 @ 06:28 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

Interesting to see on the Wikipedia entry on the Taino that concerning their origins some theories say they came from the Andes, rather than the Amazon (as perhaps the Caribs).
At the time of Columbus there seems to have been a great deal of osmosis between Carib and Taino, although it seems ridiculous to suggest that the Carib posed any danger to the great Taino chiefdoms on the main islands. It's also interesting that the Carib women spoke both Taino and Carib.
Some scholars argue that Columbus described the natives as innocent and beautiful at first, but when he realized increasingly that the "great Khan" and his gold were non-existent, he began describing the people as cannibals and fit for slavery (gotta make a buck somewhere).
Well, the Carib seemed hostile from the start (which is perhaps why they survived for longer) and it is argued that the Taino later teamed up with the Carib to fight the Spanish.
It appears that on Hispaniola the Taino put up fierce resistance under Cacique (chief) Enrique, fighting a "terrorist" war from the mountains. The Spanish eventually allowed the last survivors to return and live in a village unmolested.
The story of Enrique is worthy of a Hollywood movie!
I read about Enrique in a book called "500 Nations", but there's hardly anything on the Internet.
Does anyone have more info?

[edit on 19-6-2010 by halfoldman]

[edit on 19-6-2010 by halfoldman]

posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 04:32 PM
Yawn - I saw another doccie where some guy takes a DNA test to show how silly racism is, and how we're all connected.
His mum was a white South African so he expected some black ancestry.
Instead he found out he was 1/5 Native American.
While one understands the plight of mixed people, like the majority of Taino, with DNA testing billions of people could identify themesleves as "aboriginal/indigenous" peoples.
Without solid borders around identity it will disappear altogether too.
If almost everyone is Native American (for example), then no one is really Native American.

posted on Sep, 22 2010 @ 04:53 PM
reply to post by Blue Shift

Of course, I live in a city that has many different cultures and nationalities. We are all neighbors here and talk often.

Why would you assume a simple fanciful wish of mine, means I have blinders on to everyone around me, or that I treat other cultures as a "zoo where I would marvel and laugh"????????
You assumptions are far off the mark.

I have done some traveling and would love to do more in the future, but to experience some bygone days in the flesh would be cool too.

edit on 9/22/2010 by Chamberf=6 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 30 2010 @ 12:29 PM
reply to post by halfoldman

They are both from Puerto Rico. They both claimed Taino ancestry. They're beliefs as a people are still intact. One told me about how a certain humming bird from there is revered because it pollinates their crops.

posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 06:10 PM
Representation of Caribbean peoples in film:
The Tupinamba:
edit on 5-12-2010 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 12:49 AM
reply to post by halfoldman

The above clip seems to be from the film "Hans Staden" (1999):
Apparently there is a real attempt to historically depict various island and Brazilian tribes.
Florida would also be connected to Caribbean culture and lifestyles, so the film "Cabeza de Vaca" could be relevant.
It still seems rather judgmental of indigenous cultures, from people who did far worse.

edit on 6-12-2010 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 04:18 PM
Haiti, Port-au-Prince (2009).

Carnival: The Arawak (Taino) dance.

The dance commemorates the indigenous people of Haiti.

It seems that during carnival hidden identities surface across the Caribbean.
edit on 13-1-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 04:38 PM
Exploring Dominica's Carib culture:

posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 07:18 PM
Oh wow!
New short documentary on the Taino:
"Lost History: Rediscovering the Taino People".

Interesting to note that they were the first people in the path of globalization - the first in the path of a "hurricane".

edit on 13-1-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 07:46 PM
There's a statement in the above history clip that I find fascininating:

"In terms of national identity the people of the Dominican Republic think of themselves as Indians ..."

So half of what was once Hispaniola still considers itself Indian?

So how can the Taino be extinct?
edit on 13-1-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 13 2012 @ 07:56 PM
Most Puerto Ricans are technically "Mestizo" (mixed Taino and Spanish). However when the US Census form (Puerto Rico is a US territory and Puerto Ricans are thus native born US citizens) comes along roughly 80% label themselves as "White".

Puerto Ricans run the gamut of all skin colors from Black to actual White with most being somewhere in between. The current governor, Luis Fortuno, is what I would call White. Noted Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernandez however would be labeled Black.

posted on Apr, 28 2012 @ 02:28 AM
A rather interesting turn of events from October 2011, when the scientific Nature magazine first announced the Taino as basically extinct with genome studies, and then it backtracked after protests, and even issued an apology:

Corrected: This article originally stated that the Taíno were extinct, which is incorrect. Nature apologizes for the offence caused, and has corrected the text to better explain the research project described.
edit on 28-4-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 28 2012 @ 02:48 AM
Nice thread.
Didn't know there was such a puerto rican presence.

As a puertorican I can tell you that pureblood Tainos are no longer around. However their culture, many of their words, stories etc, still lives on. Many people still have that taino look. There was a DNA study in PR, that showed most of the puertorican DNA was Taino. We still call the island "Borinquen" and ourselves "Boricuas".

Amocase's posts are right on.

posted on Apr, 28 2012 @ 03:42 AM
The amazing story of Enrique.

The son of Taino nobility on Hispaniola, he witnessed the cruelty of the conquerors, and finally rebelled.
Never defeated, his story of resistance is in the same league as that of Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph or Geronimo.

posted on May, 4 2012 @ 10:50 PM
A Taino solstice ceremony in Ohio, 2011.

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