In reference to the Arawak/Taino Indians, you seem to accept
pretty readily that
their cultural heritage disappeared without
You do point out that some anthropologists have noted
possible influences on Haitian voodoo. I would agree that this
is speculative, however, it seems far more logical than the
complete disappearance of cultural traces. As you note, this
is a very unusual phenomenon.
I remember reading a fairly (though not entirely) convincing
analysis of Indian cultural influences in Maya Deren's Divine
Horsemen. Deren points out a tendency among ethnologists to
focus on African sources (possibly because this was their area of
study). She also suggests that Haitian intellectuals and French
historians tend to ignore the 185 year Spanish Period,
which the Indian culture must have made its mark before being
completely exterminated. (p. 272)
I simply mean to suggest that we shouldn't brush over the cultural contributions of a people who have otherwise already been relegated to a footnote in history. I hope we have the opportunity to consider further the potential cultural traces, perhaps when we cover the topic of voodoo? I do realize that you are trying to cover a lot in a short time!
One last thing... could you list some of the sources you used for this? Are any of them available? I don't have *any* sources on pre-Colombian Haitian history.