The historical roots of a Nation
By Chief Petro Guanikeyu Torres
The untold story of the first Native American encounter in 1492
We begin this discussion of the rights to nationality, of a free Taino indigenous people of the Caribbean, by returning to October 12, 1492, with the very first landing of the Spanish European invaders upon the national soil of the Taino nation.
The Taino indigenous island people of Guanahani (San Salvador) did not understand why these strange, white, Guamikinas ("covered people") were landing on our beautiful sandy beaches. The Spaniards wanted food and riches (gold). They started to take our people into bondage and rape our women. The first Taino slave in the Americas was named Guaikan, a native boy of the island of Guanahani, who later became Christobal Colon's (Christopher Columbus) adopted Taino son, and was later known as Diego Colon.
The point is that in 1492 the Taino people were a self-constituted free and soverign indigenous Nation within the known Bagua (Caribbean Sea) region. The events that would shape the future of the present day Taino people would follow a trend that would horrify the world some 500 plus years later, the genocide of some three to six million Taino human beings. His attempt to wipe us out failed because of their lustful ways.
On Saturday, November 18, 1493, Colon returned again with another invasion force of eighteen armed ships with many greedy gold-seeking Spanish soldiers. In a true showing of Taino nationalism, to the surprise of the invaders, as Christobal Colon (Columbus) watched, the crying tearful Taino captive prisoners, whom he had forced to go with him as native scouts, were joyfully jumping overboard into the White shark infested waters of the Bagua when they saw their beloved homeland of Boriken.
On Sunday November 19th 1493, he officially appropriated the Americas in the name of Spain and its Catholic church. He landed that Sunday in Boriken (Puerto Rico) and had the audacity to rename our Taino-Boricua homeland with the colonial Catholic name of San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist). Later on they would rename our Taino homeland again, as it known today, Puerto Rico. We Taino Native Americans never stopped calling it Boricua ("The valiant people of the sacred house") or, by it's real name, Boriken ("The Land of the valient and noble lord").
As for the so-called "Taino Extinction" stories told by the Euro-Spanish colonial historians, the Taino people and their Caribe regional nationality has never been extinct. Although the nation was suppressed in history and decimated by past and present-day white Spanish colonists, the Taino nationality has always been waiting to rise up again, as it did on the of November 18, 1993, following the long awaited 500 year old prophecy. Many ask the question, "How can a group of people from other Caribbean islands, seeing themselves as Taino indigenous people, band together and call themselves a "Taino Indigenous Caribbean Nation?"
The concept of nation comes from a people with the same common culture, race and beliefs. If we were to study surviving Taino people, we would find these attributes shared by a highly developed multi-cultural Taino Indigenous people in all parts of the Caribbean. The rights or freedoms of one's nationality is solely based on the unified efforts of a people to their determination to govern themselves as a free nation. The Taino people are neither of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Jamaican, Cuban nor of a the present Floridian nationality. We are a separate Native American nationality that has existed for centuries among the Caribbean nations subject to Spanish, English and French European domination.
The white supremacy fantasy of 1493
But let us return to December, 1492, on the Island of Quiskeya (Santo Domingo/Haiti) to clear up a false statement that might lead many historians to believe that our Taino ancestral Aracoel (grandfathers) believed that the Spanish invaders where white gods, rather than mortal men like the Taino. If by chance you have been following the historic accounts and can recall that when the Spanish built the first fort, called, "La Fortin de Natividad" (Fort Nativity), it was built on the island of Quiskeya by the lost crew of the ill-fated Santa Maria that ran aground with the help of our wind-spirit Huracan, on a windy day in December 12 1492. Our hospitable indigenous people treated the Europeans like kings. But because these Canary Island cut-throats set upon our gentle people, the Cacique (Chief) known as Chief Caonabo, had no choice but to put and end to this tyranny by killing them for the crimes they had commited against our people. This established that the Europeans were humans, and knowing that our people are natural bochincheros (Gossipers) the story of the killing of these clothed so-called immortal white Gods spread like wild fire. In November 19, 1493, on the Taino island homeland of Boriken (Puerto Rico), the Taino/Boricua nationality also fought to preserve and protect the good heritage of our forefathers from the European criminals.
The reason for the attribution of immortality to the Europeans derives from an event in the year 1511 at the Great Battle of the Toa in Boriken. The great Chiefs Urayoan, Guarinex and Orocobix became angered with a foolish arrogant Spanish hidalgo named Diego Salcedo, who dared to climb upon the backs of our Guazabara (warriors) to cross the Toa River. They ordered him drowned. To his surprise, our smiling people just dropped his arrogant pompous ass in the river and sat on him holding him down under the water. This shows that historical lies can be put to rest even 500 years later.
The self-determination of indigenous nations
If we should study our Native American brothers within the United States colonial system, we would surely find that they survive as do the rising Taino Indigenous nationality of the Caribe. Yet my brothers to the North are nothing but indigenous nations living within a US colonial nation. Some people ask, Why a Taino Indigenous Nation? You must understand that our Indigenous Nation has always been here, as far back as 3,000 years before Don Christobal Colon (Columbus) and the 500 years of the genocide of the 260 million Native Americans would come to pass. Yet Colon and his bloody Toledo sword was nothing but a sad Cohoba vision of a small hongo (a mushroom), a future spermatozoid that was growing on a stump on side of a hill. It was growing, on our sacred Cohobana tree, that it would be struck in the future by the power of white lighting. Yet it was known that 500 years would come to pass, that in the future our nation would rise again and grow from the ashes like a great phoenix, the nation of "the Rainbow Warriors" of South-East, of a once conquered Taino Indigenous nation. With its sacred symbol, the humble pollinator - the little Colibri Caribbean (Hummingbird) with its wings of many colors that would pollinate and rejuvenate from one Island to the next Island across the great blueish jade Bagua (Caribbean Sea), the Island wheel of jade as they call Caribbean, down to the northern shores of the Taino-Timucua, Taino-Guacara and the Taino-Calusa Tribal lands within our warm Bimini (Florida) Taino tropical rainforest home.
Note: The purpose of this article is not to bash the Europeans, but to point out some historical facts that have never been told by the Native American victims of the brutal inhumanity committed against the first Native Americans. These are our peoples' personal accounts, the story of the Taino holocaust of the six million tears.
About the author
A graduate of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey at Livingston College, with degrees in Anthropology, Puerto Rican Studies, Latin American Studies and Art, Chief Petro Guanikeyu Torres is a highly revered Taino Elder who is believed to be the great grandson of the late Taino Chieftain of the district of Jatibonico, known as Orocobix. He has been fighting for the rights of Taino people ever since he was a boy of fourteen. Chief Torres, the founder of the New Jersey Taino band of Jatibonicu. He is also the Tribal Council Chief of the Southern New Jersey Taino Tribe of Jatibonicu (extracted and revised from "La Revista de La Indierra Taina" (The Taino Indian Land Review) newsletter, April, 1996.