Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chasing the Ana - days 13-14

Check back here Wednesday night for his update!
Tropical Depression

We are keeping an eye on this baby and preparing to pull our boys off the water for a couple days as needed. Thanks to Karel for the update! Say your prayers to the god Hurican that this remains a tropical depression and does not become a Tropical Storm or Hurricane. This is still the season for it and the temps have been too high the past few days.

Derrick and Taino are doing well and in Ponce at this time. Click here to see the updated map of where they are at!

Chasing the Ana Team Update Day 14

Carrie Medina from checking in here. I have been communicating with Taino & Derrick via the blackberry and Karel in Isreal for weather forecast updates.

I email Mary and Gryphon, Derricks family, to give her the updates before I post here, in an attempt to try and beat the press to the punch. Quick as they can be, I'm trying to be quicker. Guess I better not apply for any press jobs. LOL

Here is the update I have for you so far.

Our boys would like to take one more day on the water despite the wind and waves.

Derrick writes in response to my offer to send a truck to pick them up Tuesday afternoon;

''We are in St. Isabel. And will stay tonight and go for Guayama in the morning. José does not need to come tonight. Thanks though. Hard day fighting wind and waves. We are both zapped of energy and looking forward to some recovery time off the water''

Taino and Derrick have paddled the south side of the island much faster than I had anticipated so… all the bad weather days are still in the bank, and I believe we are actually one or one and a half days ahead of the expedition planning.
This is good news, as Derrick would like to get video footage of local cultural events happening around our island in addition to his footage of the Chasing the Ana Expedition.

Karel sent me a nice link to track the wave height as the tropical depression gets closer. Now lets all hope this extinguishes itself before Derrick gets footage of our beautiful island all wind blown!

The best news is that with the few planned days off the water, Derrick will be back here writing to you all about the expedition from his own eyes. His cultural interactions, experiences and wonderings of land and sea.

Andy Palacio and National Garifuna Council School Benefit


The Garifuna is one of the most misunderstood, unique and threatened cultures in Central America. Enter Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective, an all star team of musicians assembled in Belize bringing the voice and message of this unique and inspiring people. They are the ambassadors of the Garifuna culture, bringing with them a unique blend of paranda and punta from the Garifuna communities of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. These are the songs of the ancestors that connect the people with their spirituality, Garifuna spirituality.

I had the honor to witness Andy Palacio, Paul Nabor & The Garifuna Collective’s magnificent performance during GAHFU’s (Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United) benefit concert in Los Angeles, California on Friday August 3rd, 2007. The band included the primera and segunda garaoun (garifuna drums), the sisira man (shakers), the bass and the lead electric guitars, then Andy’s acoustic guitar and the main vocalist as well as the enchanting performance of Mr. Paul Nabor. Nabi as his fellow musicians call him, stole the show. He was the high light of the performance. The audience stood up and applauded his vibrant and energetic voice. During the sound check, Nabi told me that he was very pleased with his touring of Europe and the United States. Nabi also said that he would do it again. The man looked marvelous for a man his age.

It feels unbelievably good to know that “Watina”, the album, has taken The Garifuna Collective to new horizons; from Central America to Europe and from Europe to America as in the United States of America. The tour has taken them from the east coast to the west coast and from Jazz houses to nightclubs; from nightclubs to theaters around the country. The album hit number two in May 2007 in The World Charts Europe. For those of you who have seen the show, you know that it is priceless.

The benefit concert that featured Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective featuring Paul Nabor, was a contribution from Andy himself, his promoters and Grand Performances in Los Angeles. The benefit concert celebrated at Latino Night Club was organized by GAHFU, Inc. and it kicked off a month long fundraiser for school supplies for “NGC School” (National Garifuna Council) in Dangriga, Belize.

The NGC School will open on Monday, September 3rd, 2007 and the community is very excited about it. The school will be managed by the NGC located in the Monument Site area of Dangriga. The school will have 5 teachers and it will start with lower division education as in Pre-School, Infant 1, Infant 11 and Standard 1. Ms. Venancia Flores is the school principal with 20 years of teaching experience under her belt in the rural areas which includes 5 years in Seine Bight.

The NGC School will seek to develop a curriculum that will include and exceed the minimum educational guidelines of the Ministry of Education for Pre and Primary Schools. The traditional curriculum will be taught which prepares children for the School-Leaving-Exams. In addition, the curriculum will be integrated with additional subject matter that would produce competency in the Garifuna Language, history and culture. Traditional Garifuna life skills and values will be taught particularly in the early years of schooling. Children will be taught to read and write in English and Garifuna in parallel and they will also be taught practical courses in agriculture. There will be a special endeavor to teach the children the skills of their ancestors and to have greater appreciation for their culture as well as the multi-cultural nature of Belize’s society.

Parents in Dangriga town have shown a strong interest in this project and so far over 75 children have been enrolled in the NGC School. There was a vote taken by the parents to make the uniform reflect the garifuna culture and the colors will be black, white and yellow. Although there is some delay in the construction of the school building, there are plans to rent a nearby facility and probably buy one house from the Mennonites which will be used for the Principal’s Office latter on. Moreover, The Gulisi Garifuna Museum facility would be utilized for the Principal’s Office. There are plans to launch NGC’s own fundraising drive with the help of Hamalali Garifuna Radio by means of a Radiothon.

GAHFU, Inc. is looking to collect through your generous donations new or used computers with capabilities for internet connectivity. Also, printers, photocopy machines, projectors for video, VCRs and filing cabinets. School books with subjects such a math, English, science, geography, etc. for pre and primary school levels to be used as teaching aids. There is a great need for new pens, pencils, erasers, exercise books, folders, magic markers and coloring pencils. A P.A. (public address) system is also needed for school announcements. Monetary donations are also welcomed to purchase material for the school uniform which the students will be wearing.

The collected donations will be shipped to Dangriga, Belize duty free through National Garifuna Council and they will distribute the school supplies accordingly. GAHFU, Inc. is hoping to have these barrels shipped by the end of August 2007.

If you are interested in helping, please contact website or by calling (323) 898-6841. You can also send your tax deductible donation in cash, check or money order to GAHFU P.O. Box 10054 Long Beach, CA 90810.

Written by: Rony Figueroa

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Suriname commemorates International Day for Indigenous Peoples

Published on Monday, August 13, 2007

By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent

PARAMARIBO, Suriname: For the first time in its history Suriname last week observed International Day for the Indigenous Peoples as a national holiday. Nationwide festivities and cultural activities were held by Amerindian organisations in Suriname, while indigenous peoples worldwide held ceremonies in recognition of their rights.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Taino Festival in the Dominican Republic


Noticias del Frente Ancestral 028


1er. Encuentro Taíno de Kiskeya - 2008: Primer Anuncio

Sol Taino

Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos & Cinemateca Nacional
Plaza de la Cultura
Avenida Máximo Gómez
Santo Domingo, Kiskeya

Lunes 21 de enero, 2008; 4:00 – 10:30 pm

Programa Tentativo

Ponencias magistrales a cargo de: Bernardo Vega, Carlos Andújar y Domingo Abreu; Lynne Guitar y Antonio de Moya (Consejo de Ancianos/as, Guabancex Viento y Agua). Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Conversatorio con Martín Veguilla - Director del Festival Taíno de Jayuya y líder del Concilio Guatumacúa de Puerto Rico – Invitado Especial. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Estreno nacional de la película puertorriqueña: “Taínos, la última tribu.” Cinemateca Dominicana.

Visita de Benjamín López, director de la película puertorriqueña: “Taínos, la última tribu” y venta de las ediciones en DVD originales de la misma. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Exhibición de la película infantil “Ogú y Mampato en Rapa Nui”, con una historia acorde al tema aborigen. Cinemateca Dominicana.

Exhibición de videos acerca de la Cultura Taína de Soraya Aracena. Cinemateca Dominicana

Instalación-ofrenda a los ancestros por Pascal Meccariello. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Exposiciones fotográficas de arte rupestre de Alfredo Roldán y Daniel Dubai. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Degustación de casabe y video del proceso de preparación actual del mismo. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Exhibición y venta de artesanía y cerámica de inspiración aborigen. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Degustación y venta de productos relacionados y venta de diversos platos que muestran la influencia taína en nuestra gastronomía. Alrededores del Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Show de títeres sobre mitología taína por Ernesto López. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Narraciones de leyendas y cuentos de nuestros campos por Guaroa Ubiñas. Alrededores del Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Partido de pelota Taína con los jugadores de Batey de Azua. Alrededores del Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos.

Performance de Geo Ripley (Consejo de Ancianos/as, Guabancex Viento y Agua) . Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos

Concierto de música neo-taína y ritmos folclóricos de nuestra cultura, con Irka Mateo (Consejo de Ancianos/as, Guabancex Viento y Agua) y su grupo Boutí. Museo del Hombre y la Mujer Dominicanos

Microcuentos tainos para niños

Por: Fátima Portorreal
Consejo de Ancianos/as, Guabancex Viento y Agua

Especial para epistheme

Así es, así dicen: ¡Se llamaba Opiyel!


Para mi sobrina Kiara

Santo Domingo, Enero 2007

Según cuentan, en una nubosa noche, cantaban los toricos y a lo lejos, muy allá de la espesura de la fronda de doña Francisca, el chirrido del pitanguá se mezclaba con los grillos saltarines. Mientras tanto, en el charco de Itabo, croaban y croaban las verdes ranas, desafinando a los cucús y agriando a las lechuzas.

De repente, tras un leve movimiento, de la rama del laurel de Fifito, salta el pegapalo, la birijita, y por supuesto los jilguerillos que adormecidos por la penumbra, no acababan de entender tal alboroto… “¡Oye!” -- le gritó el pegapalo – “Deja de moverte y abre los oídos, ¿qué me dices, rayado pajarito?, escucha por favor…”. Del real camino de Acacia y no lejos del charco de Itabo, unas voces raras y una cuadrilla de raros humanos se dirigen a la fronda… “Escucha… Por favor, escucha…”.

“Camina, camina más deprisa” -- decía Macocael – “¿Acaso no conoces a las opias? Se comerán las guayabas, antes de que las guayzas tiren de un jalón, las sogas de Opiyelguobirán. No habrá para nadie. Correrá y correrá tan deprisa, que hasta el dulzor se perderá en sus dos grandes fosas. Dicen que no hay nadie como él, sus largas patas y dientes afilados desbarrigan corceles, descascaran el samo, la semilla de higuereta y hasta el duro caparazón de la hermana hicotea.”

“Camina, camina… que despertarán las avecillas y si no se dan cuenta, llegaremos primero al guayabal. Yo comeré las más amarillas; tú recogerás las que el hermano Inrirí tumbó por la prisa, antes del anochecer. Ellos, los amigos toatoa cargarán el resto… deprisa, deprisa, que se oyen los pasos de Opiyel…”.

Pero las imprudentes birijitas, asustadas con la corredera, silbaron y silbaron tan fuertemente que los toatoa se cayeron, los pequeños humanos se dispersaron, y el terrible Opiyel asustado y enredado con tal algarabía, creyó que las opias anunciaban el alba. Corrió y corrió tan deprisa entre las charcas de Itabo, que sin percatarse, un humano tiró de su cuerda y lo arrojó al charco. Así cuentan y así supe que de cualquier charco durante lunas oscuras y para siempre, Opiyelguobiran, el dios perro, sale a buscar guayabas.

Entre Lágrimas, Encontrando a una Ciguapa

Bonao, Diciembre 2006

Lo cierto no la invoco, más si fuera él, adosaría su nombre, rotulando círculo tras círculo en las umbrías estercoleras de la isla… huir de la sombra, no podría. ¿Aceptar su mirada…? Si fuera él… créanme… no la invoco. Denunciaría su nombre en la plaza de los hombres y la colgarían por impúdica y atrevida. Créanme… si fuera él, no le quedaran palabras. Las atrevidas Lauras trocearían su lengua y al amanecer de cualquier día o de cualquier noche, correrían a vomitarla en otras tierras. Si fuera él, no la enterraría… por si fuese a nacer, le pincharía los ojos… removería afanosamente los iris, la arrojaría a los riscos y ocultaría su sonrisa al oeste, porque allí muere la luz. Si fuera él, la dejaría agonizar y dormiría tranquilo, porque el silencio de sus labios no podrá amarrar el amor. Créanme… si fuera él, andaría tranquilo, porque sus torcidos pies, jamás se inclinaran a la luz.

Simbolo Taino

Así Nació el Mar

Santo Domingo, Diciembre 2006

Oye, algunas cuentan que en sus ojos llorosos y en su inmenso vientre había cicatrices y que día tras día, las danzarinas ranitas croaban y croaban, hasta que el apenado abuelo expandía y expandía el verano. Y mientras tanto y poco a poco, ella se estiraba y estiraba hasta que dos sonidos, al compás de la tierra, seguían al sol… pero de pronto y de un tirón, el centro se expandió tanto que de la abierta boca de Itiba salió el agua cristalina y gemimos las caracolas. Así me cuenta mi hermana luna que se formó el mar, y de ella nosotras.

La de Cinco Nombres

Santo Domingo, Noviembre 2006

Sentada sobre sus fuertes piernas para nada se adormecía. Parecía sobrecogedora aquella postura, pues su robustez exuberante mostraba aquellos contornos femeninos que sus extremidades hídricas sostenían ágilmente. ¿Qué mujer es Atabey?, y ¿Qué memoria se perdió en mi cuerpo, que alejó la fuerza primigenia de la madre? ¿En qué lugar se quedó la vitalidad de la abuela, aquella que tiene Cinco Nombres? ¿Adónde se fue la ligereza? ¿Es acaso la inexactitud de lo masculino, lo que no me permitió confrontar la amplitud del poder femenino y sus habilidades marinas? Acaso recodar es lo preciso, si al desmemoriado cuerpo pregunto: ¿Adónde está la abuela, la de la esencia, la que no tiene principio, la de las Cinco Memorias? Aquella, la de la metamorfosis, semejante a todas las ranas, a las cuales les he temido considerablemente.

¿Adónde está la fuerza femenina que me nombra, aquella abuela que en los charcos, arroyos y océanos nunca se asemejó a la serpiente occidental, ni cristiana, pero que irremediablemente se intentó borrar de nuestros cuerpos y sueños? ¿Adónde están los conciliábulos que te marginaron a los cuentos populares en las noches borrascosas de la ruralía isleña, sin pensar que algunos/as te encontrarían en las aguas cristalinas, en los bosques, cuevas y aguas termales de la isla? ¿Te ocultaste? No lo creo. ¿Permaneciste en silencio? No lo creo. Mas intuyo que te confabulaste con los pedigüeños, con los senderistas, con los cimarrones, con los desvencijados de la ruralía. Mas sin ellos saber, allí estabas, en las aguas cristalinas, entre la bruma de la fronda, esperando a que desvelen los sueños y te invoque en los altares, multiplicando diversas identidades, tras el atardecer o en las noches de luna llena.

¡Aquí esta! Ya te veo. Ahora puedo tocar mi cuerpo, sentirte multiplicada con mis manos, aceptando lo que tus Cinco Memorias conocen.

Tony Yaguarix de Moya

Reprinted by Jorge Baracuteu Estevez

Chasing the Ana update

Sunday, August 12, 2007

CTA Clarification on Bullets, Catabatic Winds & Ground Crew Support

Carrie of checking in here.

I spent the afternoon with Derrick and Taino. Derrick asked me to clarify a few things. First, on the automatic weapons fire, the men were paddling in an area near a firing range, which is how the bullets seem to have found them. Second, both Derrick and Taino saw the warning flags and were smart enough to paddle well clear of the warning area. However, it is likely that the protection intended to keep bullets from entering the water area is no longer effective. Also, the bullets were flying far outside the designated areas, so it is possible that someone was using land next to the firing range as a practice area. For this reason the US Coast Guard would like to have me report the incident to the local police so that someone can check up on this. Taino informed me that a local resident told him that 2 boaters were accidentally shot and killed in this same area 2 years ago, so certainly measures must be taken to protect those who use the seas.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program!

Anyone who imagines for just a moment that Derrick and Taino are paddling in calm seas, in a gentle breeze, near a small tropical paradise are welcome to experience the catabatic winds encountered by these two experienced paddlers after they crossed the bay at Mayagüez. Taino and Derrick both said they rounded a corner and force 5 katabatic winds hit them so quickly they had time only to react individually. Derrick chose to take a right, while Taino paddled left. Derrick checked to make sure Taino was making way while Taino did the same for Derrick. Outcome? Both paddlers arrived safe and sound at the same destination. Imagine, Derrick paddled these katabatic winds with bruised ribs, while Taino struggled with a stuck rudder. What a superior set of paddlers!

After that dramatic landing, Derrick encountered a small girl walking her pet goats along a shoreline. Goats, called cabra, are a popular livestock on the island and are most commonly served near the Christmas season, called Navidad, in a fricassee of local vegetables and sauce. The goats are also milked for delicious cheese, queso, and there are also competitions for goat milking held in certain areas of the island. If you ever get the chance to try cabra, or queso de cabra, served Puerto Rican style, I am sure you will love it.

Finally, I would like to give a special thank you to Nydia Kein of our CTA Ground Support Team. Nydia has returned home to Wisconsin USA. When you are out on the water there are many people who are working to make things happen for your great adventure. One of those people in Chasing The Ana has been Nydia, who did research, made contacts, transported kayaks and gear, and flew to Puerto Rico ahead of the team to prepare for the arrival of Derrick and Taino. One of the goals originally set for Chasing The Ana has been to bridge cultural gaps, so I would like to share a parting note from Nydia.

Nydia writes: Back from Puerto Rico – I was reflecting on the trip and want you to understand how fortunate I feel having been able to have the opportunity to share moments with all of you.

Carrie, you, your family and friends made me feel at home, sharing a cultural bond/island that retains a special place in my heart. Your trust and unconditional support of all of us was an exceptional gift. Thank you for everything, my best to you and your family.

Taino, it was a pleasure. It was great to meet someone that clearly shares my love of kayaking and would go to this extreme to finish a dream. It was great to see the children in Puerto Rico looking up to you. Seems like your greatest accomplishment on this adventure may be the understanding that you have left an "I can do it" in the hearts of the children, that's a wonderful tribute to the memory of Carrie's son.

I hope we have an opportunity to spend some time on the water in the future, stay well and keep in touch.

Guyana's Government Continues to Oppose UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

From the Stabroek News, Georgetown, Guyana:

Gov't has doubts on parts of UN indigenous peoples rights declaration
Saturday, August 11th 2007

Two Amerindian groups are calling on the Government of Guyana to vote in support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when it comes up before the UN General Assembly next month but Minister of Amerindian Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues says that the government has reservations about some clauses.

In a press release issued on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, observed on Thursday, the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) and the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) issued the call while expressing grave disappointment at learning that Guyana had joined six other states in asking for the declaration to be redrafted.

"This represents a most retrograde step on the part of Guyana and those states which have taken this position. We are dismayed that Guyana has aligned itself with this small group of states which are proposing that one-sided changes are made to a vital document that constitutes the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well being of indigenous peoples," the statement said

Contacted by Stabroek News, Minister Rodrigues said that Guyana is not asking for the entire declaration to be redrafted but would like to see some issues defined. She said that Guyana supports a declaration that is very clear and is of ultimate benefit to everyone, while also preserving national unity. She said there are some sections that Guyana thinks should be looked at again and one is that there is no clear declaration as to who is an indigenous person and who the name applies to. She also pointed out that a declaration can be made and some countries wouldn't do anything about it but that Guyana has a good record in honouring its commitments.

Rodrigues pointed out that indigenous peoples in different countries are different. She noted that charity begins at home and according to her some of the issues Guyana has already addressed in relation to indigenous peoples can be used as examples for other countries. "We want to have a declaration that we can work with and so there are issues that need to be clarified," the minister said.

GOIP and the APA said they are "gravely concerned" at Guyana voting for a redraft of the declaration taking into consideration that GOIP had written to the president and in a response Minister Rodrigues said that the Government is "fully supportive of a process that would result in a declaration that is unambiguous, preserves national unity and ultimately improves the lot of the world's indigenous peoples."

The two groups are convinced that the declaration which was adopted by the Human Rights Council of the UN in June 2006 represents the most important international instrument for the promotion and protection of human rights for indigenous peoples and fits the criteria that the government says it supports. "We are therefore utterly dismayed that the government has suddenly taken this extreme position."