TAINO SURVIVAL DEBATE CONTINUES

Additional notes on the survival
of Indigenous Peoples in Borikén
By Roberto “Múkaro” Borrero (January 2, 2012)

In the mid-1500s a historic debate took place in the Spanish City of Valladolid that highlighted the opposing attitudes toward Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. In summary, Dominican friar and Bishop of Chiapas, Bartolome de Las Casas, argued that Indigenous Peoples (Indians/Indios) were human beings and “free men” while Juan Gines de Sepulveda argued that, in accordance with the philosophy of Aristotle, Indigenous Peoples were not human. Sepulveda also suggested that “the natural condition of the Indians deemed them fit for slavery, and it was the responsibility of the Spaniards to act as masters.” In essence, Sepulveda sought to denigrate and de-humanize Indian Peoples in an effort to deny their basic human rights.

Indeed, the tactics Sepulveda employed to elevate his position included misrepresenting and generalizing cultural expressions as well as fear mongering to incite hatred and justify violence against Indian Peoples. An example of this strategy is the allegation that Indigenous Peoples generally practiced cannibalism.

It should be no surprise that Sepulveda’s arguments were supported by agents of the “New World” colonial power structure who directly benefited from the then, recently institutionalized, oppressive regime. [1]

Centuries after the debate at Valladolid, it does not take a degree in Sociology to confirm that Selpulveda’s racist, anti-indigenous philosophy continues to find modern-day proponents. While terminologies are a bit more polished for public consumption, the strategy remains the same — denigrate and de-humanize to justify the violation of basic human rights.

Recent articles written by Dr. Gabriel Haslip-Viera provide a significant example of this trend. [2]

Haslip-Viera promotes the position that the affirmation of indigenous identity in the “Spanish-speaking Caribbean” is illegitimate because Governments and academics deem it to be so. To bolster this perspective he champions racists’ ideologies such as determining indigenous biological and cultural affiliation by “degree of blood.” He also manipulates and misrepresents historic and contemporary data.

Most recently, Dr. Haslip-Viera publicly misrepresented indigenous affirmation in the 2010 U.S. Census asserting that a total of 19,510 individuals in Puerto Rico claimed an “American Indian” ancestry. His claim is false as a total 35,753 individuals in Puerto Rico identified as “American Indian” alone or in combination with “some other race”. [3] The fact that Haslip-Viera personally feels the U.S. Census is “controversial” or “based on bogus U.S. concepts and categories” does not invalidate the conscious efforts by Puerto Ricans to identify with their ancestral heritage.

In further evidence of Haslip-Viera’s manipulative presentation style, the 2010 U.S. Census curiously becomes a valid tool for him to hypocritically note, however, that more Puerto Ricans identified themselves as “Black” than “Indian.”

Haslip-Viera also blatantly generalizes the aspirations of thousands of contemporary Taíno People by stating that, as a whole, “Neo-Tainos” claim a “pure indigenous pedigree.” To highlight his generalization, I, as President of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP), challenged him to produce any material issued by the UCTP that makes such a claim. As he could not produce such documentation, Haslip-Viera instead chose to maliciously highlight divisions among a few Taíno entities as if no other community, group or nationality in the Caribbean, Latin America or anywhere else suffers divisions.

While Haslip-Viera smugly implies otherwise, the United Confederation of Taíno People respects the autonomy of all Taíno People and has never claimed to be the sole representative entity for contemporary Taíno concerns. It should be further noted that Haslip-Viera conveniently ignores the fact that contemporary Taíno People — regardless of divergent spiritual or political philosophies or particular group affiliation — are unified throughout the Caribbean and the Diaspora in their affirmation of Taíno identity and heritage.

True to the spirit of the 16th century conquistadors, Haslip-Viera attempts to employ the “divide and conquer” strategy by seeking to isolate Boricua Taíno People in particular. He alleges that there are no similarities between the historic situations of Indigenous Peoples of Borikén (Puerto Rico) with those of “North America.” He cites a “no forced migrations, a lack of treaties,” etc. but his incredible claim is not only false but to use his own words “patently absurd.”

In Borikén, historians confirm these similarities in various accounts from the 16th through the 20th century. These are not “rumors,” as Haslip-Viera cynically suggests, but part of the historical record that he and others deliberately chose to ignore. For example, it is well-known that as a result of the abuses of Spanish colonists, many (but not all) Borikén Taíno People were “forced” to migrate to other islands in the 16th century.

Puerto Rican historian Fray Íñigo Abbad y Lasierra affirms at least one treaty entered into between indigenous Boricua People and the colonial “Europeans”.[4] Local tradition holds that the remnants of this treaty land is located in the island’s western region and known today as “Las Indieras” (The Indian Lands).

During the last half of the 18th century “Indios” were recorded in the island’s official census until the category was removed in the early 1800s in favor of an all-encompassing “free colored” classification.

There is also the case of over 60 Boricua children who were sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in the United States beginning in 1899 through the early 1900s. These children were categorized in the school’s records as “Porto Rican Indians”.[5] Even beyond the “indigenous issue” the continued colonial status of the Puerto Rico can in reality be compared to the current quasi-sovereign state of American Indians under the plenary power of the United States.

In addition to verifiable historic data, there is the compelling oral tradition of Indian descendant persons and families throughout the island. While Haslip-Viera views this tradition as insignificant and “weak,” a respected island scholar, Professor Juan Manuel Delgado Colon of the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe feels differently.

Dr. Delgado Colón began recording testimony of Indian descendant families in Borikén in the 1970s. At this point, readers might ask themselves if it is possible that Dr. Haslip-Viera, an academic who prides himself on his research expertise, has not had the pleasure to read any of Professor Delgado’s selected works?

Readers might also ask why they themselves have perhaps not heard of Dr. Delgado Colón considering Haslip-Viera claims serious research is not ignored by “professional social scientists.” In any case, this research is available and following the results of DNA studies on the island, many in the academy are beginning to look at Dr. Delgado Colón’s work more seriously. In my opinion, the oral tradition research of Dr. Juan Manuel Delgado Colón should be declared a national treasure in Puerto Rico.

It is important to also clarify that while Haslip-Viera claims that it is an “exaggeration” to suggest that oral tradition in Borikén is not ridiculed or ignored, the facts on the ground reveal otherwise. For instance, local tradition holds that during the 19th century many Indian descendants took part in “el Grito de Lares” along with other “Jibaros.” One local hero mentioned during these times is a Jibaro woman known as “la India Maria.”[6] Currently, the academy ignores this particular aspect of the island’s history.

There is also ample testimony by contemporary Taíno People who stress that they themselves or their family elders have been ridiculed by school teachers and other professionals when attempting to affirm their indigenous heritage in Puerto Rico. This discrimination has occurred so often that many elder family members have urged younger members simply not to discuss their aboriginal heritage in public. Haslip-Viera and his supporters would have readers believe this is all an elaborate fantasy “invented” by a few socially challenged New Yorkers desperately “craving” to somehow “fit in”.[7]

The debate concerning the survival of Indigenous Peoples in Borikén beyond 1550 is not new. Haslip-Viera knows this yet he would like readers to assume that historically Puerto Rican scholars have promoted the “Taíno extinction” theory in lock-step formation. Sober research reveals that the actual scenario is far more complex as many well-respected scholars actually have acknowledged indigenous survival in Boriken beyond 1550.

Curiously however, those who vehemently promote “Taíno extinction” have controlled the discourse and academic standard-setting since the time of the establishment of the Free-Associated State of Puerto Rico. The record shows that these scholars, working under the auspices of the government, consciously decided to officially confine the national discourse on Indigenous Peoples of Borikén to the archeological record. [8] In other words, keep the “Indios” in the past.

Considering this connection between academics and government in Puerto Rico, it should be no surprise that there is an aggressive and well-resourced opposition to indigenous affirmation on the island.

Like Sepulveda in the 16th century, it is clear that those expressing anti-Taíno sentiment are not opposed to manipulating data or using malicious tactics to denigrate and dehumanize contemporary Taíno People individually or as a whole. During the 2005 peaceful occupation of the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center in Utuado the then Director of Puerto Rico’s Institute of Culture, Lola Rodriguez de Tio, attempted to denigrate the goals of local Taíno activists in the local media by suggesting that the group wanted to conduct “ritual sacrifice” there.
In a further example of Sepulveda-like “fear-mongering”, Haslip-Viera is now ominously calling for the public to “prepare” themselves for “increased controversy, racial polarization and conflict if the [Taíno] get their way.” This rhetoric is coming from a scholar who continues to attempt to polarize the discussion on “ethnic” identity in Puerto Rico to a “Black and White” only issue.

One is only left to ponder if Haslip-Viera considers Puerto Ricans of Asian or Pacific Island descent “myths” as well.

Endnotes

1. “Great Debates: When politics gets gladiatorial”. Stable URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/great-debates-when-politics-gets-gladiatorial-1929773.html?action=Gallery&ino=5
2. “Myth of Taíno Survival in the Spanish Speaking Caribbean” and “Rejoinder to Roberto “Mukaro” Borrero’s A Taíno Response to “The Myth of Taíno Survival in the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean” ” by Dr. Gabriel Haslip-Viera.

3. “Census Data Continues to Shed Light on Boricua Identity”, The Voice of the Taíno People, Vol. 14., Issue 3, July – Sept. 2011, p.1.: http://www.uctp.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=46&&Itemid=38
4. See “Historia geográfica, civil y natural de la Isla de San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico” by Íñigo Abbad y Lasierra and José Julián Acosta.
5. This case is not without controversy because a few of these students were from families that could pay the tuition indicating they were from “well-off” families. As an adult, one of the former students described himself as a Puerto Rican of Spanish descent.

This should not imply however that all the children saw themselves as Spaniards and it does not invalidate how the school officials categorized them. See “Porto Rican” Indian History Discovered at Carlisle Indian School” by Rick Kearns. http://home.epix.net/~landis/kearns.html
6. “Sobrevivencia de los apellidos indígenas según la historia oral de Puerto Rico” by Juan Manuel Delgado, Revista de Genealogía Puertorriqueña, 2001

7. Haslip-Viera’s “Introduction” to “Taíno Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics”, Marcus Wiener Publishing, 2001
8. “EL Debate Histórico sobre el tema de la Sobrevivencia indígena” by Dr. Juan Manuel Delgado as well as Arlene Davila in her essay “Local/Diaporic Tainos: Towards a Cultural Politics of Memory, Reality and Imagery” in Taíno Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics (2001).

Roberto “Múkaro” Borrero is the current President of the United Confederation of Taíno People, the Chairman of the NGO Committee on the United Nations International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and an alternative Board Member of the International Indian Treaty Council. He is a contributing author to Taíno Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics, edited by Gabriel Haslip-Viera (2001). He can be contacted at mukaro@uctp.org.

Contemporary Taínos
as a Social Construction
In Response to Mr. Borrero’s Latest Commentary
by Gabriel Haslip-Viera (January 2, 2012)

Four paragraphs are totally wasted by Mr. Borrero at the beginning of his most recent posting. This is where he outlines the already outdated political position of mid-sixteenth century Spanish theologian, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, in his debate with Dominican friar, Bartolomé de Las Casas, over the treatment and governance of indigenous peoples in Spain’s American colonies. He then ludicrously and falsely equates the positions that I have taken in our debate in The NiLP Network with the dehumanizing and anti-indigenous ideas articulated by Ginés de Sepúlveda in the sixteenth century. [1]

Otherwise, the following comments are in order:

(1) The 2010 Census: Mr. Borrero accuses me of “publically” misrepresenting “indigenous affirmation” in the 2010 enumeration for Puerto Rico by stating that I should have included an additional 16,243 individual islanders who marked “American Indian” in combination with “some other race” (my emphasis) for a total of 35,753.

This is still slightly less than one percent of the total island population of 3.7 million, and it’s not clear how many of these people actually identify as “Taíno.” However, and much more importantly, we also have (again) the public confirmation by Mr. Borrero that contemporary “Taínos” are people of mixed background. He is therefore confirming what I have been saying all along, which can briefly be summarized as follows:

Modern day “Taínos” are a socially constructed people of mixed ethnic background who privilege an exclusive Amerindian identity and culture at the expense of their European and African background, which in all probability is the larger component of their genetic make-up (80-90% on average), and whose contributions to their biology and culture are ignored, minimized or rejected in favor of the “Taíno” for ideological and personal reasons.

In addition to the above, Mr. Borrero claims that the Census “hypocritically” becomes “a valid tool” for me because I make reference to the fact that more Puerto Ricans identified themselves as ‘Black’ than ‘Indian,’” This comment is a blatant lie. I have never argued that the race question in the Census and the data that results is “a valid tool.”

In fact, I argued the opposite in my December 14th statement, which also noted that some Puerto Ricans saw the re-introduction of the race question and its categories in the year 2000 “as a negative and divisive intrusion,” but that “some islanders who identified as Black (a larger group at 12.3 percent in the 2010 census)” also “saw it positively as an instrument that would highlight and support the struggle against prejudice and the real discrimination experienced by persons perceived to be of sub-Saharan African appearance.”

(2) Claiming pure Taíno pedigree: Mr. Borrero was clearly not pleased that I did not limit myself (and why should I?) to the postings of the United Confederation of Taíno People when he challenged me “to produce a single document” that showed that later day Taínos claimed a pure pedigree and, instead, cited a posting by the Aymaco Turabo Tribe that made such a claim. The fact of the matter is that later day Taínos have not been inclined to deny suggestions or claims of racial purity unless they have been challenged on this issue. The public assertion of mixed origins by increasing numbers of later day Taínos should also be seen as being of recent vintage.

(3) Divisions within the Taíno revival movement: Mr. Borrero was also not pleased that I pointed to divisions within the revival movement; however, people in The NILP Network and elsewhere should know about these divisions and be aware of the different and conflicting political agendas that may arise within the movement.

(4) “Indians” in Puerto Rico, 1500-1900: In a confused narrative about Taíno decline and survival in the period from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, Mr. Borrero distorts the consensus position that yours truly and most historians and social scientists have taken with regard to this issue.

Soon after the Spaniards established their first settlements in Santo Domingo, Cuba and Puerto Rico (1492-1511), the Taíno population began to decline precipitously as a result of war, exploitation and the introduction of “Old World” diseases for which they had no immunity (among other factors). Some of the Taínos migrated into the interior regions of the islands to join other survivors who were already there, or they fled to other islands in the eastern Caribbean where they joined the so-called “Caribs” (etc.); however the evidence also tells us that the following continues to be accurate despite any claims to the contrary by contemporary “Taínos” and their supporters:

(a) In all probability, “pure blooded” Taínos became extinct on all three islands by the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries on all three islands.

(b) There is no evidence that large or very large numbers of Taínos were able to subsist in the interior regions of the three islands as a “pure blooded” population in the centuries after 1600, despite claims to the contrary.

(c) Those Taínos who survived in the interior of the islands were very soon joined by poor disaffected Spaniards, other Europeans and escaped African slaves. The intermingling of these groups facilitated the emergence of the hybrid, ethnically mixed populations and cultures we are familiar with today.

(d) It is still believed that the 1600 to 2300 “Indians” counted in Puerto Rico in the years 1776-1797 (after a two century hiatus) were individuals or groups brought to the island from other parts of the Caribbean.[2] There also is no real historical or other corroborating evidence to support oral testimonies and the arithmetical gymnastics made by Tony Castanha in his new book that generate an extremely speculative claim of an enormous (for the late 1700s) indigenous population of “well over two hundred thousand Indian inhabitants” in the interior regions of Puerto Rico. [3]

(e) There also is no evidence to suggest that Spaniards , Africans and others were “assimilated” by a large and dominant Taíno population claimed for the interior of the islands in the period 1500-1800, or that they were “assimilated” into a mostly Taíno culture during the same period. It’s also not the case that this kind of assimilation might have taken place during the period of Spanish induced economic development and growth in Puerto Rico’s interior regions in the nineteenth century.

(f) Mr. Borrero states that “many Indian descendants took part” in the famous “Grito de Lares” rebellion against the Spaniards in 1868 “along with other ‘Jibaros,’” and that one local hero was known as “la India Maria.” However, this individual (as presented by Borrero) may have been called “la India” because she probably conformed to the “Indian” physical stereotype-not that she was an actual Indian, or that she identified as such. As most of us know, this moniker is still used today throughout the Spanish speaking Caribbean when describing persons who appear to fit the physical stereotypes for Amerindians and South Asians.

(g) Mr. Borrero makes reference to the work of historian/oral historian, Juan Manuel Delgado. It is true that his work in not easily accessible and the question is – why? He finished his Ph.D. dissertation, titled El debate histórico sobre el tema de la sobrevivencia indígena in 2006, but this work has not been published as a book (although he may be working on it), and the dissertation is not accessible through Pro-Quest/UMI Dissertions, which is strange. But I also don’t accept Mr. Borrero’s claim or suggestion that there is some sort of conspiracy to suppress this work.

(5) Puerto Rican students in the Carlisle School for Indians, 1898-1918: Mr. Borrero and other later day Taínos try to use the experience of Puerto Rican students in this school as proof that there were still Indians on the island at the beginning of the twentieth century; however these claims have not been supported in recent research.

The admission of Puerto Ricans into the Carlisle School (and other mainland U.S. institutions) was primarily based on the desire by U.S. officials to “civilize” an “inferior colored people” in the years after the U.S. takeover of the island in 1898. It was also based on the racist assumptions of U.S. officials and educators who were mystified by the very real “racial” diversity they saw in the Puerto Rican population (even within families) but which was largely absent in U.S. society. With their attitudes and their “tintometers” (to measure skin tones), they came to the conclusion that some Puerto Ricans looked like, or were in fact, “Indians” even though the individuals might have been defined as “white,” “pardo,” or “mulato” in Spanish records.

Juan José Osuna, a Puerto Rican commissioner of education in the early 20th century, commented in an article titled “An Indian In Spite of Myself” (1932) that he was admitted to the Carlisle School as a Native American, but that his parents considered the family to be “white.” Nevertheless, they sent him to the school anyway because it was considered affordable and a good opportunity to learn English and modern U.S. culture. The other Puerto Rican students, whose comments are recorded on this issue, also seem to have shared Osuna’s view that they were not “Indians.”

The most important and complete research on the Carlisle Indian School was published five years ago by Pablo Navarro-Rivera and should be consulted by anyone who feels that the Puerto Ricans at the school thought they were Indians (see Pablo Navarro-Rivera, “Acculturation Under Duress: The Puerto Rican Experience at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School 1898-1918,” Centro Journal, vol.XVIII, no.1(2006): 222-259.

Key comments from Navarro-Rivera’s article are as follows:

(a) “Puerto Rican students invariably crossed off the terms “Indian” and “Tribe,” replacing them with “Puerto Rico” or “Puerto Rican.”

(b) “Some students, such as Providencia Martínez, of Ponce, are said to have been unaware that Carlisle was a school for Indians.”

(c) Providencia Martínez is quoted as saying that: “we did not know that the school was a regular school for Indians when we went there, because Miss. Weekly never told us the real truth. We thought that there were Americans as well as Puerto Ricans.” “…I learnt to like the Indians very much. That is some of the refined ones. They were very nice to the Porto Ricans, although at first they hated us.”

(d) A student at the school by the name of Vincente Figueroa was said to be “mostly negro.” (GHV comment: Puerto Ricans regardless of appearance were also sent to Black institutions, such as Tuskeegee and the Hampton Institute, where they were defined as Black or “colored” even if they seemed to look “Indian” or whatever.)

(e) “neither the young people nor their parents or guardians had much information at all about the institution to which the government was sending them. In their view, Carlisle was simply one of the schools in the United States for which the colonial government had approved scholarships.”

(f) “the authorities in Puerto Rico who were administering the legislatively established scholarships for study in the United States had not been truthful about the nature of Carlisle. As a result, five Puerto Ricans ran away from the school and at least 11 students returned to Puerto Rico on the orders of their parents.”

(6) Oral Testimonies and Oral Histories: Mr. Borrero just can’t seem to understand or accept the fact that recent or contemporary oral testimonies are of limited value when applied historically. As I said in my December 14th NiLP Network Guest Commentary, oral testimonies should be “corroborated by other evidence.” They’re “not necessarily accurate from a historical standpoint” and may in fact be riddled with self-servingly convenient “myths, inventions, wishful thinking and denial about ethnic and racial origins and past events.” It also needs to be made clear despite Mr. Borrero’s claim, that oral testimonies in Puerto Rico are not generally supported by the DNA evidence which shows that the islanders on average have Native American DNA of about 10-20%.

(7) Mr. Borrero’s blatant falsehoods and his rhetoric: Mr. Borrero gets much more personal in his second NiLP Guest Commentary than he did in the first – hurling gratuitous invective as he tries to distort the positions I have taken for self-serving purposes. This suggests a level of insecurity in self and the positions he takes. Mr. Borrero also has a serious problem with academics and academic discourse that reflects a disturbing degree of anti-intellectualism on his part. He doesn’t tolerate real debate. Like his colleagues in the revival movement, he craves academic support, but only wants to consider or accept those positions that support his own and those of contemporary Taínos in general. It’s the “my way or the highway” approach to the issues.

This will be my last posting on this particular issue in the NiLP Network. I end the discussion with a list of Mr. Borrero’s blatant falsehoods and accusations. (see below)

(a) Mr. Borrero claims that I champion “racists’ ideologies such as determining indigenous biological and cultural affiliation by “degree of blood.” This is a blatant lie at all levels. I rarely mention blood or the “degree of blood” in my writings and never in any kind of supportive way. I do indeed question the use of DNA research and its racialist application to our crude racial categories and the racialist ideologies behind them. I don’t “champion” these ideologies. Mr. Borrero might also be quite confused in this regard. He needs to clarify in his own head that DNA is not the same as blood.

(b) Mr. Borrero claims that I also manipulate and misrepresent historic and contemporary data. This is another blatant lie. Mr. Borrero and the other later day Taínos are in fact not interested in real historical discourse. They are only interested in a history that supports their claims.

(c) Mr. Borrero claims that I attempt to employ the “divide and conquer” strategy, by seeking to isolate Boricua Taíno People from other indigenous groups in the spirit of “16th century conquistadors.” Wow!

The fact of the matter is that the later day Taínos cannot claim a historical tradition similar to those of North American Indians. As noted in my December 14th NiLP Guest Commentary – there is no “Trail of Tears,” no Geronimo, no Little Big Horn (etc.), and more importantly, no history of official recognition from the U.S. government and no U.S. style reservation experience. In this regard, I focus on the years 1600 to circa 1930 – not on the period of the initial holocaust that was visited on the Taínos by the Spaniards in the 1500s, as Borrero would have you believe.

(d) Mr. Borrero claims that I am attempting “to polarize the discussion on “ethnic” identity in Puerto Rico to a “Black and White” only issue. This is another blatant lie and a popular one that is used against critics of the Taíno revival movement.

As stated in my December 14th NiLP Gust Commentary, it is the later day Taínos who are the potential polarizers with their stated goals of demanding “reparations,” “compensation,” “a sovereign homeland,” and “full sovereignty” as an exclusive, officially recognized tribe within Puerto Rican society.

It is true that Afro-Boricuas have been asking for recognition as a racially discriminated population, but they’re not asking for reparations, compensation or a sovereign homeland, etc. They are simply trying to end or minimize the real prejudice and discrimination that they have experienced historically.

There also is no evidence that later day Taínos suffer this kind of prejudice and discrimination unless they forcefully assert their exclusive Taíno identity in a society that idealizes the concept of ethnic mixture and hybridity. Contemporary Taínos who do not flaunt their identity, and who dress and speak “properly” (etc.), should not experience ridicule, prejudice and discrimination in the job market, housing (etc.) unless they are weird in some other way.

Endnotes

1. The Spanish crown had already taken a position contrary to the one supported by Ginés de Sepúlveda with the passage of the “Laws of Burgos” in 1512 and the “New Laws” in 1544, which granted the native peoples of the Americas “free” legal status and certain benefits that were eventually developed further in the “Laws of the Indies.” Of course, the problem with this legislation was that it was poorly implement, had loopholes, and was frequently ignored by colonial officials in the Americas to the detriment of the native peoples.

2. See Silvestrini and Luque de Sánchez (Historia de Puerto Rico: trayectoria de un pueblo.1988) who state that these Amerindians probably came from other localities (p.202). This is an assertion that is also supported by geneticist Juan Carlos Martínez-Cruzado, who says that the “Indians” came from Mona Island (Orlando Sentinel, October 6, 2003). Anthropologist Jalil Sued Badillo, in a chapter titled “The Theme of the Indigenous in the National Projects of the Hispanic Caribbean” states that Indians from Mona Island were brought to Puerto Rico earlier and resettled in the hills of Añasco and San German before 1685. In the same chapter he also states that the late eighteenth century “Indians” may have come from Venezuela and/or Mexico. See Sued Badillo’s chapter in Making Alternative Histories: The Practice of Archaeology and History in Non-Western Settings, Peter R. Schmidt and Thomas C. Patterson, eds. (Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 1995), and see Sued Badillo’s specific remarks on this issue on pages 39,40.

3. Castanha develops his speculative totals on the basis of interviews that he had with historian, Juan Manuel Delgado Colón and archaeologist Roberto Martínez Torres. See Castanha, The Myth of Indigenous Caribbean Extinction. (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2011), pp.77,78,80.

Gabriel Haslip-Viera is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at City College and past Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. A specialist in the social history of colonial Mexico and the evolution of Latino communities in New York City, Dr. Haslip-Viera has lectured extensively on these subjects and on the relationship between invented racial identities and pseudo-scholarship. He is the editor of Taino Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics (2001) and author of “Amerindian mtDNA does not matter: A reply to Jorge Estevez and the privileging of Taíno identity in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean,” Centro: The Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Fall 2008). He can be contacted at haslip-viera@ccny.cuny.edu.

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