We Are The Daughters of Mother Earth,the Yuka and the Ze
mi.Blessed by Grandfather Wei (Sun ) to from the womb of Atabei be born.
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Think native walk in balance

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tainos Do Ceremony With Ancestral Artifacts

On Friday April 11Th, 2008 a contingent of Taino women from Bohio Atabei along with native Carib and Mohawk relatives attended a private viewing of over 2000 Taino artifacts now in the posession of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. This special viewing gave the Tainos who attended the opportunity to not only view the pieces up close, but also to hold these ancestral artifacts in their hands. Items that our ancestors used daily such as water jugs, bowls and graters, and others that without a doubt are sacred ceremonial pieces.
Every item in the collection opened a window into our past. Some of the items bear the fading finger prints and marks of usage where and how they were held by our people.
What we saw and how we felt goes beyond mere words as the presence of the spirits of the ancestors was felt by all of us. Smiles of joy and tears of sadness were the visible expressions of what our hearts were feeling. Led by our respected Clan mother Guariche Maria Manati Robles we took many of the sacred items into a ceremonial space that was created for moments such as these by Native design. Needless to say since the museum opened its doors, this sacred space has been used by native peoples for ceremony and offerings.
So it was that we the descendents of the Taino were welcomed into this the prayer circle of many nations by the ancestral spirits of many of our relatives.
Overcome with emotion we did ceremony with many of the same sacred items our ancestors used. Such was the power of this circle we felt the presence of our ancestors as they smiled and joined us in prayer and song... We left with the thought that we must return each and every year until we as a people are ready to reclaim our sacred artifacts...We left with the knowledge that for as long as it takes we will keep trying within our communities to build bridges of understanding between all peoples of the Caribbean, so we can all work together towards that goal.

These artifacts, as well as many others now in foreign hands, belong to all Taino people and one day they will all come home. Until then we can only hope and pray that anywhere our artifacts are they will be respected as the cultural heritage of a people and be well taken care of as it is done with the items in the National Museum of the American Indian. For this we thank our Northern relatives who took into consideration with respect all native nations’ artifacts from across our hemisphere. Sadly a testament of the little respect the countries many of these artifacts were taken from have for our Taino culture is evident in that many of the artifacts were given or sold to collectors and foreign museums for a price by the very governments and institutions that should of protected them. The main collector of all the artifacts in the Museum, Gustave Heye, bartered, bought and sometimes stole the vast majority of the pieces.

It is the hope of the women of the Bohio of Atabei that this trend to allow Taino archeological sites to be ransacked and exploited can be stopped. It is the hope of the women of the Bohio Atabei that all Tainos raise their voices in protest and demand respect for our sacred sites and our artifacts. We thank the museum staff for the respect and kind attention they gave us during our visit. We will forever be grateful to each and every one of them…..and we look forward to returning once again to do ceremony with the artifacts of our ancestors.

We thank Bohique Bo Miguel Soboako koromo black Ribs Saque for gifting us with his song. We thank grandfather Cyril Taylor DC liaison for UCTP for his words,We thank Bohio Atabei sister Gina Rixturey Villalba and her husband Rafael for their warm and generous hospitality while we were in DC. We thank Piscataway Chief Billy Tayac for inviting us to visit the sacred burial grounds of his people and for allowing us to participate in their annual Awakening of Earth Mother ceremony. A special thank you to Gaby Tayac for all her help with the planning of this wonderful weekend.
Most of all, we thank the ancestors for our survival and for working to make possible the wonderful events of the day.
Yuyaboaaru, Elder
Bohio Atabei Taino Women’s circle. Please take a moment to view the pictures and read what some of the women had to say about the trip.

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