Manataka American Indian Council

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HISTORY & CULTURE

 

PUERTO RICO HISTORY

AND THE TAINO PEOPLE
By Roberto Delgado


THE TAINO RACE OF AMERICAN INDIAN PEOPLE IS FAR FROM EXTINCT.


Dr. Juan Martinez Cruzado, a geneticist from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez designed an island-wide DNA survey, The study funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, shows that 61 percent of all Puerto Ricans have Amerindian mitochondrial DNA, 27 percent have African and 12 percent Caucasian. (Nuclear DNA, or the genetic material present in a gene's nucleus, is inherited in equal parts from one's father and mother. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from one's mother and does not change or blend with other materials over time.)

In other words a majority of Puerto Ricans have Taino blood. "Our study showed there was assimilation," Martinez Cruzado explained, "but the people were not extinguished.

"The people were assimilated into a new colonial order and became mixed. That's what Puerto Ricans are: Indians mixed with Africans and Spaniards," he asserted.

"It is clear that the influence of Taino culture was very strong up to about 200 years ago. If we could conduct this same study on the Puerto Ricans from those times, the figure would show that 80 percent of the people had Indian heritage."

Another historical moment that should receive more attention involves the story of a group of Tainos who, after 200 years of absence from official head-counts, appeared in a military census from the 1790s. In this episode, a colonial military census noted that all of a sudden there were 2,000 Indians living in a northwestern mountain region. "These were Indians who the Spanish had placed on the tiny island of Mona (just off the western coast of Puerto Rico) who survived in isolation and then were brought over," Martinez Cruzado said.

Martinez Cruzado noted how many customs and history were handed down through oral tradition. To this day on the island, there are many people who use medicinal plants and farming methods that come directly from the Tainos. This is especially true of the areas once known as Indieras, or Indian Zones. Excerpts from this website.

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63 Taino Indian students identified as "Puerto Rican" in Record Group 75 of the Carlisle Indian School - Group Record 1327 at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. (NARA75]. 

In the indices of the Carlisle Indian School Collection of the Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA [CCHS].

It should to be mentioned, that these Taino American Indians people had been forcefully removed from Puerto Rico by the US United States Federal Government and placed in their American Indian Schools back in 1898. It should further be noted that the ELA Commonwealth Government of Puerto Rico still publicly claims that Taino Indians as an ethnic American Indian race of Puerto Rico do not exist. Ask yourself: Is this not a very foolish public statement ?

 

Author:  Roberto Delgado mtnbear61448@hotmail.com

Submitted by Henrietta Wise buffalohenny@hvi.net

 

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