^Miguel Angel Guzman Mural - Caguana Souvenir Shop - Utuado, PR


NOVEMBER 17 - 19


El Festival Nacional Indígena en Jayuya es quizás la fiesta folklórica de mayor relieve que se celebra en Puerto Rico. Surgió como una pequeña actividad experimental. Tuvo tal acogida, que, bien pronto adquirió fuerza pueblerina convirtiéndose en gran Areyto Nacional, con sede en el corazón del terruño.

Features the culture and traditions of the Taíno Indians, including their music, food, and games. More than 100 artisans exhibit and sell their work. The Miss Taíno Indian Pageant judges the contestants by their Indian features and their typical dress of a Taíno woman. Daytime and evening activities.

Piedra Tallada - Jayuya
Click Foto To Zoom In
PiedraEscrita001.jpg (93646 bytes) PiedraEscrita003.jpg (144911 bytes) PiedraEscrita002.jpg (154772 bytes)
PiedraEscrita004.jpg (93653 bytes) PiedraEscrita005.jpg (127277 bytes) PiedraEscrita006.jpg (96313 bytes)
PiedraEscrita007.jpg (91692 bytes) Piedra001.jpg (114147 bytes) PiedraEscrita008.jpg (120587 bytes)
PiedraEscrita009.jpg (145150 bytes) PiedraEscrita010.jpg (159804 bytes) PiedraEscrita011.jpg (177996 bytes)
PiedraEscrita012.jpg (166719 bytes)
PiedraEscrita013.jpg (176492 bytes) PiedraEscrita014.jpg (171332 bytes)
PiedraEscrita015.jpg (163853 bytes) PiedraEscrita016.jpg (177672 bytes)
PiedraEscrita017.jpg (173892 bytes)



Areyto - Indiera Alta, Maricao

Caguana: Taino Ceremonial Park

Tumba Del Indio, Jayuya

Piedra Tallada, Jayuya

History of PR / Historia de PR

mtDNA and Race in Puerto Rico

Origins of the Taino DNA Survey

MtDNA Results For PR

The Puerto Ricans At Carlisle Indian School

Carlisle Indian School - Tribal Tally

Taino Origins: Culture of the Collas

A Note On Tainos

Taino Gold

Porto Rico - New Advent Catholic

Caribbean History

Caribs in Dominica

Bartolome De Las Casas

Taino History & Tribal Links / Books

La Voz Del Pueblo Taíno

Indigenous Latino?

Chronology Of The Papal Bulls Movement


The history of the Caribbean's indigenous peoples is often told from the European perspective, rather than the indigenous peoples themselves.  The majority of the written records pertaining to their culture and history consist of diaries and the reports of European explorers, conquerors and their descendants who have a long history of misinterpreting the native-american cultures.  Obviously, their insight was limited, as they did not share the language nor did they have a solid understanding of the indigenous people’s way of life.

Another flaw in the history of the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean is that they are frequently lumped together as one singular group.  In almost every historical account, the Taino people have been interchangeably linked with the Arawak, and have been categorized together.  This one inclusive category has remained intact to the present day, with little documented challenge.  Few people have any concept of their linguistic and cultural diversity, nor do they know the names of the different groups.

Today, although the indigenous populations of the Caribbean have decreased substantially in numbers, their culture, in many places, is still very much alive.  It is important to realize that these people are more than just a memory and that by looking at their story from all possible angles, we can put together the pieces of their history and attempt to find the truth.


Taino Borincano - DNA testing is under way at UPR - Mayaguez.  Random samples have shown a considerable number of Puerto Ricans have an "Amerindian" genotype.

Boricua:   n., adj.  Meaning "The Valiant People of the Sacred House".  Derived from the Taíno name for Puerto Rico (Borikén: Land of the  Brave Noble Lord).  Represents a proud sense of identity.

Taíno:  n., adj.  "The Good Ones". Native American tribes  originally inhabiting pre-Columbian Borikén (Puerto Rico), Haiti-Kiskeya (Haiti-Dominican Republic), and Cuba.

Arawak:  n., adj.  Language spoken by a once-predominant group of Native American tribes originally inhabiting an area that stretched from present-day Florida down through the islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles and the coastal area of South America as far as Brazil.

"Ellos ven muy mucho de lejos y determinan lo que ven mas que otros.
Parece que con la vista penetran los corazones de los hombres.
Y tienen comunmente los ojos hermosos.  Oyen tambien muy mucho,
huelen cualquiera cosa de muy lejos, aunque sea entre los montes.
Lo mismo es del gusto.  El sentido del tacto tienenlo en gran igualdad."

Fray Bartolome De Las Casas

Monumento Cacíque Mabodomaca

Sculpted by: Isaac Laboy Moctezuma
RT. #2, km105 & RT. #113 North
Isabela, Puerto Rico 00662

Cacíque Mabodomaca was one of the leaders during the Indian Wars.  His chiefdom  covered Camuy-Quebradillas-Isabela Before the European invasion this area was one  of the most important Taíno chiefdoms and was known as Guajataca (Taíno for "The  Water Ladle").  Legend has it that when his warriors could no longer hold back the  European invaders he led his people along the Guajataca River and disappeared into the Island's central mountain range.  Route # 113 (Quebradillas-Isabela) has been renamed "Avenida Cacíque Mabodomaca" in honor of this great leader.

GuzmanMural001.jpg (69086 bytes)

Taino_village.jpg (37529 bytes)

ViequesMural001.jpg (87423 bytes)

Agueybana001.jpg (229421 bytes)

Click Foto To Zoom In

In 1995, the remains of four people were unearthed at a construction site in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.  These ancient skeletons were damaged by the regular excavation process and were then donated to Dr. Juan Martinez Cruzado, a geneticist from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez campus.  Due to the age and condition of the skeletons, scientists could not tell the age or gender of these individuals. Dr. Martinez Cruzado was allowed to use the remains for "practice" studies.

Despite their almost anonymous status and poor condition, these ancient remains were very important to the geneticist and to all of his colleagues.  This accidental discovery provided scientists with their first opporunity to do ancient DNA work with Puerto Rican samples.

Martinez Cruzado and his team decided to separate an element of the DNA of the ancient people after it was determined that they died around 645AD; making them members of the pre-Tainos, who arrived in Puerto Rico 700 years before the Taino.  (The Pre-Tainos are classified as having an Ostionoid Culture and they inhabited the island between c. 600 to 1300 A.D.)

"We isolated a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA and sequenced it.  We did that and they were all identified as belonging to a known native american lineage," Martinez Cruzado recounted in a brief phone interview this October. "The problem was the sequence was identical for all four samples, so we got worried that it was a homogenous popultion and it would be difficult to determine differences from one individual to another."

Martinez Cruzado explained that it would be important to identify certain "sites" in the DNA molecules where certain differences would appear.

"Any two DNA's from two different people will be identical at many sites but in other sites there are differences," he continued.  "We needed to find which (of the sites) would be different in the Taino population.  We needed to get more Taino DNA and so we went to the Indieras - barrios on the island which were known to have had Indian populations in the late 18th century - as it was so hard to get more samples from the ancient bones."

From that point, Martinez Cruzado and his team began an informal DNA survey of Puerto Ricans from these barrios and from university employees and faculty who claimed to have mothers or grandmothers with Indian traits.  What they found from two small groups was a much higher percentage of Taino DNA than they could have expected, based on the historical accounts of Taino extinction. They followed those first surveys with another random search, using samples of people who were not from the Indiera and the results were almost the same: a very high percentage of people with Indian DNA.  As a result of these astounding discoveries, Martinez Cruzado decided to go further.  He applied for and was awarded a $270,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to continue a formal survey, using more than 720 samples gathered from around the island.

Until the analysis of the survey samples is completed, which will take another two years, the final determination of the original remains will not be made, Martinez Cruzado noted.

Tumba Del Indio - Jayuya
Click Foto To Zoom In

Jayuya000a.jpg (123310 bytes) Jayuya001c.jpg (80088 bytes) Jayuya002.jpg (117799 bytes) Jayuya003.jpg (45673 bytes) Jayuya001b.jpg (72407 bytes) Jayuya004.jpg (93671 bytes) Jayuya001a.jpg (149540 bytes)
Artifacts004.jpg (86752 bytes) Artifacts005.jpg (97549 bytes) Artifacts001.jpg (76581 bytes) Artifacts012.jpg (65596 bytes) Artifacts006.jpg (82647 bytes) Artifacts007.jpg (84960 bytes) Artifacts002.jpg (56377 bytes)
Artifacts008.jpg (76556 bytes) Artifacts009.jpg (74812 bytes) Cemi001.jpg (55808 bytes) Artifacts011.jpg (79428 bytes)
Artifacts010.jpg (50408 bytes) Artifacts003.jpg (81936 bytes)
Jayuya000b.jpg (79932 bytes)


Caguana / Utuado
Taino Ceremonial Park

The center consists of a large main court, a circular court and 10 smaller rectangular courts (Bateyes).  Monoliths, petroglyphs, and a collection of Indian artifacts can be seen.  A botanical garden recreates the plants the Tainos used for food ( such as the yautia, sweet potatoes, corn and tobacco ), and building materials, the ceiba, ausubo, tabonuco and royal palm.

In Arecibo, take Road 10 to Utuado and turn right on Road 111 to km. 12.3.  The drive passes through karst country and skirts rivers, lakes and impressive interior mountain peaks.

Free Admission
Wednesday To Sunday
Miercoles A Domingo
9 AM - 4:30 PM

Carretera 111 - KM. 12.4
Barrio Caguana
Utuado, P.R.
Tel: 787.894.7325

Click Foto To Zoom In
Caguana017.jpg (138858 bytes) Caguana016.jpg (129197 bytes) Caguana018.jpg (102326 bytes) Caguana019.jpg (112612 bytes)
Caguana002.jpg (80119 bytes) Caguana004.jpg (168764 bytes) Caguana003a.jpg (166527 bytes) Caguana003b.jpg (113912 bytes) Caguana005.jpg (143869 bytes) Caguana015.jpg (128225 bytes) Caguana007.jpg (82408 bytes) Caguana011.jpg (108120 bytes) Caguana006.jpg (104815 bytes) Caguana008.jpg (88961 bytes) Caguana009.jpg (97062 bytes) Caguana010.jpg (102529 bytes) Caguana012.jpg (119264 bytes) Caguana013.jpg (138078 bytes) Caguana014.jpg (141225 bytes) Caguana001.jpg (74175 bytes)

More Fotos
Aymaco Picture Gallery
Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes

Taino Origins
The Andean Culture of the Collas
From: "The Eagle and The Jaguar" - By Antonio Blasini

The precedence of the Taino culture is reaffirmed when we examine the following customs acquired from the Colla tribe. Any theory stating that the Taino is a descendant of the Arawaks is completely discarded with these findings, and other revelations.

1. When a child was born, the Tainos tied a wooden piece to the baby’s head to deform his skull. This ritual, inherited from the Incas, was also performed by the peoples of Tenochtitlan and Copan. The Arawaks never performed this ritual.

2. Ceremonial Burial: This ritual consisted of burying their dead in a fetal position, together with some of his possessions, which the deceased would carry into the better life. The Arawaks cremated their dead, and made a beverage from their ashes,  which they drank.

3. The Tainos majestic agricultural and surveying skills inherited from the Collas, as fray Bartolome de las Casas quoted: "To see them working the land, is a wonder". The Arawaks never farmed their lands, even when the missionary priests tried to teach them, they hardly developed any farming skills at all.

4. The Taino ceremonial sport, The game of the Batey, was also part of the Taino rituals. Played in rectangular courts surrounded by monoliths, aligned with the solar equinoxes. The Arawaks had a lesser version of this game.

5. The handcrafting of stone, wood, bones, and shells, was never developed by the Arawaks, with such majesty as the Tainos did. For example: the Taino’s travelling canoes, 90 feet long, accommodating 150 people, crafted with "unsurpassed beauty", as Fray Bartolome de las Casas described.

6. Another example are the Taino percussion instruments, one of them called the Mayohuacan, sacred tambour. If we compare it with the Aztec’s drum, the Teponzatle, both have the same acoustic design. For both cultures, it meant "the voice of the gods".

7. The majestic ceremonial dance, the Areyto Taino, with it’s choreographies (dances), and choralogephies (chants), had distinctive names which gave these tribal rituals a regional definition, like the "Areyto of the Magua", and the "Areyto Anacaona". The Arawaks never celebrated these rituals with such majestuosity.

8. There was a ceremony celebrated by the Colla tribe, where the single males dressed with the female dress, the nagua. In this ritual, they asked the moon for a wife. The Tainos also celebrated this ritual. It is to be noted that the Spaniards, when seeing an Indian dressed with nagua, thinking that they were homosexuals, released their pack of dogs and killed them.

9. The cohoba ritual, where the Tainos inhaled an hallucinogenic dust from the cohoba tree, was used to communicate with the gods. This ritual was also inherited from the ancient Andean tribes of the Collas. The Arawaks never performed this ritual.

10. The Taino wedding ceremonies, by tying a knot among their wedding clothes, symbolizing the myth of the marriage among the two moons of Venus (as the myth states), was also celebrated by the Andean tribes, not so with the Arawak people.

11. Finally, Juan C. Zamora’s linguistic research: Indigenisms of the Conquistadore's Language, totally discards any Arawak influence in the Taino tribe. In this study, it was found that the Taino language was influenced by:

Words of Origin       %

Nahuatl                 41
Taino                    30
Other                    13
Undetermined           4

All these are just a few indications to convince us that the Taino was a direct descendant of the Collas and not the Arawaks (Tribe from the Amazon's Orinoco River).


To: The Editor of Indian Country Today
From: E. Conley
February 11, 2003

     As I was reading your article dated February 4, 2003, "Indigenous Latino and the Consciousness of the Native Americans"
, I was a bit disturbed that you referred to Central and South America and the Caribbean as "Latin America." In addition, you referred to the American Indians as "Indigenous Latino."  The word "Latin" refers to the ancient Romans from Italy; that is, Europeans.

     The more recent usage of the term "Latin" or "hispanic" to describe Indians who speak Spanish is even a greater insult since both these terms come from the European root terms of ownership.  For
instance, when Columbus invaded in 1492, he named one of the American Indian Islands "Hispaniola" which means "Islas de los Españoles", the meaning translated into English (this is NOT a literal translation) is, "Property Island of the Spaniards."  The common written language of that time was in Latin and not Spanish.  In fact, Columbus' diaries are in Latin.

     When you refer to a Spanish speaking Indian as a "hispanic" or a "Latin" you are referring to them as the "property of Spain" which is probably the greatest insult any Indian from South and Central America and the Caribbean could experience.  Many Indian Nations suffered at the hands of the Spaniards who committed unspeakable acts of violence, slavery, hatred, and murder upon the Indian people.  The venom of the Spaniards did not stop in the Caribbean Islands or in Central and South America.  Just look at the many Indian tribes and people in New Mexico, Arizona, and the California areas with Spanish names and/or surnames.

     Referring to Indians as "hispanic" or "Latin" is just as ludicrous as referring to the English speaking Indians as "English" or "property of England" and the French speaking Indians as "French"
or "Property of France."  I would hope that as a newspaper that represents the interest of ALL Indians, you would take a strong stand against any type of implicit or explicit ethnic cleansing and usage of slurs against Indians.

     In the spirit of survival for all our people, I implore that you discontinue the use of the words "hispanic" and "Latin" when you are referring to Indians.  I ask that you research what I have told you and educate all our people.  It is important that WE make an effort to stop any and all of the implicit and explicit forms of ethnic cleansing as well as the usage of slurs.

E. Conley


Taino History Links


Taino Dictionary
The Invisible Boricua

Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation
Taino Culture (El Boricua.Com)
The Slaughter (Aymaco Taino Tribe)
Taino: Ancient Voyagers of the Caribbean
Directory of Puerto Rico Research Resources
Caribbean Amerindian Links

Taino Tribal WebSites

Taino World
Taino Online
Presencia Taina
Baramaya Taino
Aymaco Taino Tribe
Taino: Voices From the Past
Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation
Rebel Slaves in the Americas
Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink
Native Peoples of the West Indies
United Confederation of Taíno People


Honoring The Taino People Past And Present


Video Productions / Educational Videos
(1/2 and 1 hour Video productions

Historical References
Accomplished research assistance

Taino Music Anthology
Indigenous CDs and cassettes

Books / Special Reports / Maps
Rare and out of print copies featuring colorful and historical educational aides


Puerto Rico: Book Search
1349 Titles To Choose


Puerto Rico: A Political And Cultural History
By Arturo Morales Carrion

The Tainos : Rise & Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus
By Irving Rouse

A People's History
by Howard Zinn

Lies My Teacher Told Me
by James Louwen

The Conquest of Paradise
by Kirkpatrick Sale

Rethinking Columbus
by Bigelow and Peterson

The Conquest of America
by Tzvetan Todorov

In Defense of the Indians
by Bartolome de las Casas

The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean
by Troy S. Floyd

The Log of Christopher Columbus
by Christopher Columbus

The Mysterious History of Columbus
by John Noble Wilford

Columbus & Cortez, Conquerors for Christ
by John Eidsmoe

1421: The Year China Discovered America
by Gavin Menzies

The Voyages of Christopher Columbus
by Rex and Thea Rienits

Presencia Taina
Books - Maps - Videos - Special Reports

The Indigenous People of the Caribbean
By Samuel M. Wilson

A Brief History of the Caribbean
By Jan Rogozinski

Antiquities of the Indians
By Ramon Pane

The Four Voyages of Columbus
By Christopher Columbus

Poet and Politician of Puerto Rico:
Don Luis Muñoz Marin

Doña Julia
And Other Selected Poems

Alberto O. Cappas

Taino Myths & Legends
Atariba and Niguayona

The Golden Flower

Chupacabras : And Other Mysteries


Sign Guestbook

Read Guestbook




Copyright © 1999-2002 / Talí Lamourt-NYBoricua / All Rights Reserved / Updated: October 9, 2006