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The Taino Indians...A Proud but Forgotten People

Close your eyes and travel back in time to the year of 1492. You are on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, where you live contentedly with your parents, your brothers, your sisters, all your relatives and all your friends. Your ancestors have lived here happpily for centuries, undisturbed by any outside presences. You are so lucky to live on this little slice of heaven, you think, as you smell the salty, fresh air breezing off the coast and you feel the warm, morning sunshine beating down on your bare shoulders. Maybe this afternoon you'll work on some jewelry, or maybe you'll manage to nap in a hammock...something relaxing because you have a big night ahead of you in the plaza, music and dancing and poetry reading and late-night story-telling with your family and all your friends. But suddenly, the peace of the pretty morning is shattered when you notice a ship sailing steadily from the east. As it grows closer and closer, curiosity overtakes the island. People everywhere are heading down the hills and to the shoreline, and you decide to join them. As the ship docks, you see a sight you've never seen before- a white man. He waves hello, and you are quick to welcome him. You are so excited to learn something new...And you hope that this man can teach you a fraction of what you hope to teach him.


After welcoming this white man, Cristobal Colon, into your home, things begin to change...slowly at first, and then rapidly. It turns out he is disappointed to find you and your family, as he is looking for some faraway place called the Orient. After you teach him how to plant crops like beans and corn and squash, he gives you nothing in return. Instead, you awake one day to find your family and friends have disappeared. You learn they have been sent to Spain to become slaves, more than 1,200 of them. Suddenly, you are seized by a pair of Spanish hands and ordered to a newly built sugar plantation. You have yet to realize you will never see your family again, for they will be paraded naked through the streets of Seville, Spain at a so-called slave auction. And that's if they are lucky- hundreds will die on the ship, and their bodies will be thrown into the Atlantic. Right now, you have your own life to worry about. You have no idea that only four years later, one-third of the entire Taino Indian population will be gone- beaten, raped, tortured, murdered. And this man, this man who you welcomed into your home with open arms, will be sick enough to use those mutilated bodies (the bodies of your parents, siblings or friends) as food for his hunting dogs. And hundreds of years later, your descendants will celebrate this man's cultural encounter, this man who began the Atlantic slave trade and set into motion one of the largest missions of genocide in history.

The Taino Legacy

Who Were the Taino?: A little about their ancestors, their heritage, and their encounters with the Spaniards.
The Taino Way: Information about their daily living, their villages, family life and recreation.
Taino Spirituality: A little about their belief in the supernatural, including some wonderful pictures.
Tainos Today: Here are some ways that the Taino traditions continue to live on.
Guestbook: Stop by to leave a note.


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