Wednesday, November 30, 2005

UN Recognizes Unique Situation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples in Official Report

United Nations, NY (UCTP Taino News) – One year ago, back in December 2004, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 59/174 establishing the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Although it may not be common knowledge, as a result of this resolution’s adoption, the Second Decade officially commenced on January 1st 2005. This resolution also requested that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan submit a report on a Comprehensive Program of Action for the Second International Decade to the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. The Program of Action was discussed and adopted by the General Assembly on November 21st 2005.

Highlighting the importance of participation within the international system, the program of action was developed based upon comments received from the UN system, governments, indigenous peoples' and civil society organizations. Twenty-two indigenous organizations provided input for the program of action. Among these submissions, the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) was the only entity representing Caribbean Indigenous Peoples to submit a formal proposal to be considered within this process. As a result of UCTP participation, the efforts of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus of the Greater Caribbean was also recognized within the official report. Based on consultations among regional representatives, the Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean submitted various interventions during the fourth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held in May 2005. The Caucus will reconvene at the next session to be held in May 2006.

See Full Article at:
UN Recognizes Unique Situation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples in Official Report

Friday, September 23, 2005

Public Notice: Summit of the Americas 2005

Public Notice: Summit of the Americas 2005

This is to inform the Caribbean Indigenous Community that the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) has nominated Naniki Reyes Ocasio, a representative of the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos to present a position paper on Intellectual Property, Culture and Heritage at the Indigenous Summit of the Americas to be held Argentina from October 27-29, 2005.

This nomination was sent to Albert DeTerville who has been identified as a member of the Indigenous Summit Planning Committee (ISPC), and who along with the other ISPC members, is charged with the responsibility of the planning and implementation of the Second Indigenous Peoples Summit of the Americas. Albert DeTerville is expected to maintain a dialogue with indigenous Caribbean constituents throughout the planning and implementation process.

The nomination was also sent to the AFN and ONPIA, who are the main partners in the planning and implementation of the Indigenous Summit as well as the Secretariat of the ISPC.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Caribbean Native nations join U.N. Permanent Forum

A group of Caribbean indigenous nations gathered for special ceremonies and events in late May during the 4th United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, held in New York City. The indigenous movement in the Caribbean represents one of the lesser-known currents of Native cultural and political resurgence. This spring at the United Nations, the various delegations of Caribbean indigenous peoples coalesced in interesting and welcome ways.

For the first time in many years, Caribbean indigenous representatives were able to meet, share food and culture, and get down to the hard work of U.N. resolutions, interventions and document reaffirmation that marks much of international work. The Taino Nation of the Antilles, with primary bases in Puerto Rico and New York City, organized events for Caribbean delegates. It fund-raised the costs of one delegate from Dominica and coordinated presentations. Roberto Borrero, a Taino who serves on the NGO committee of the Indigenous Permanent Forum, also helped fund delegates to the event and has been active in hemispheric organizing. An Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean has been formed.

Carib cultural activist Prosper Paris, among others, joined the U.N. events. Prosper is from the Carib Territory in the north coast of the small Caribbean island of Dominica. He was one of several presenters on a panel on Indigenous Education and Cultural Survival organized by the Taino Nation. This writer chaired the panel, held at the customary indigenous gathering place in New York City: the United Nations Church Center at 777 United Nations Plaza, where several dozen Taino, Carib, Arawak, Guajiro and other indigenous peoples gathered.

The notable event, ably organized by Vanessa Pastrana, Inarunikia, among other volunteers from the Taino Nation, featured a dance presentation from young Taino people and recitations in the Taino language that are the product of a vigorous reconstruction and relearning of the insular Arawak language by members of that nation since the 1980s.

"From Cuba, in the mountains of the Sierra, from Dominican Republic, from our own Boriken [Puerto Rico], we have met relatives, holding on to our identity and retaking our indigenous roots,'' said Cacique Cibanakan, of the Taino Nation. ''Our hearts pound with excitement that our people are coming together."

Indigenous delegates from all over the world arrive in New York City every spring for the now-permanent U.N. forum on Indigenous peoples' issues. There are always dozens if not hundreds of important and fascinating stories - both positive and negative - on the conditions of tribal peoples and on the always tortuous and troubled trajectory in the world of highly exploitative industries, with their rapacious hunger for indigenous lands and natural resources.

In too many cases, the political contentions of land and resources are accompanied by attacks on Native leaders and political and social structures. Quechua and Aymara from Bolivia and Ecuador, Kuna from Panama, Maya from Guatemala, northern Canadian Cree leaders, Lakota treaty chiefs and Haudenosaunee traditionalists from the United States and Saami from Norway, among many others, sustained a necessary dialogue on human rights and development through the work of U.N. gatherings.

In New York representing the Arawak community at Joboshirima in Venezuela, Chief Reginaldo Fredericks found a not-so-distant relative in Daniel Rivera, Wakonax, one of the active leaders in the Taino movement in Puerto Rico and the diaspora. The Arawak chief, who is Onishido Clan and lives mostly in the rain forest, was very happy to meet Taino relatives.

Among the messages carried by Fredericks from his people is the need to preserve and restore indigenous language. He commended the Taino language recovery program, developed by the nation's elder language advocate, Jose Laboy, Boriquex, and offered to help bring together the Arawak (Lokono) peoples wherever possible. ''It is wonderful we are more and more recognizing each other; we have a lot to offer each other,'' Rivera, who made an intervention at the United Nations on behalf of Caribbean Indian peoples, responded.

Of the many currents of indigenous movement across the Western Hemisphere, the Caribbean is the most hidden and marginalized. As communities, clans and nations coalesce, however, encounters such as the one at the United Nations in New York, provide common ground for exchange and mutual education. The shared cultural history is fascinating.Fredericks narrated stories of his people to the Taino Nation elder, which tell of six original Lokono (later Arawak) nations, which the chief called ''clans.'' Of the six ''clans,'' three are unaccounted for while Taino is in the process of vigorous cultural and social recovery.

According to Fredericks, the ancient Lokono tribes or clans were called Oralido, Cariafudo, Onishido ''rain people,'' Gimragi, Way'u, and the ''good people'' from the great islands (Taino). Today, ''as far as we know,'' the chief reported, only Onishido and Way'u survive on the mainland. The chief was most intrigued that hundreds and perhaps thousands of Taino descendants from the islands of the Greater Antilles are reaffirming themselves. The chief pointed to his headdress, which shows six feathers, symbolizing the six tribes or clans of the Lokono. ''The good island people, the Taino, are one of the six feathers,'' Fredericks reminded the other Caribbean delegates.

From La Guajira, Colombia, Karmen Ramirez represented the Way'u Morerat ORJUWAT organization. She pointed out not only her Native Way'u nation, but also four tribes from Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as Arawaks who originate with the Way'u of the Guajira Peninsula. It was another instance of people from common ancestors and linked contemporary identities meeting and recognizing each other as a result of an indigenous international movement. The Way'u, who also reside in neighboring Venezuela, are one of those peoples hurtfully divided by an international border.

Caribbean indigenous delegates, in the shadows for decades if not centuries, put their statements into the record at the annual U.N. event. The Caribbean indigenous caucus signaled the following major goal: ''That the collective rights of the indigenous peoples of the Greater Caribbean to lands, territories, resources, and traditional knowledge be enshrined in the Constitution of all Greater Caribbean countries and in other states where indigenous peoples exist.''

Author: Jose Barreiro
Source: Indian Country Today

Sunday, May 29, 2005




Madam Chair, we welcome the Second Decade and we extend thanks the UN General Assembly for proclaiming the Second Decade.

We encourage the Permanent Forum to focus on the recommendations previously made from the 1st to the 4th Sessions. The Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean makes the following recommendations:


1. We call on the Permanent Forum to request ECOSOC to recommend the expansion of the membership of the Permanent Forum to include a direct Caribbean presence in the Forum.

2. That some of the Expert Members of the Permanent Forum visit the Caribbean region, including CARICOM, to have a first hand knowledge on the situation of the Indigenous Peoples.

3. To urge the UN Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and other donors to allocate funding for meetings in the Caribbean relating to Indigenous Issues including the proposed meetings that the Expert members will be participating in.

4. We urge the Permanent Forum to ensure the effective participation of Caribbean Indigenous Women to be reflected in the work of the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples. We also urge the Permanent Forum to request ECOSOC to urge the Governments to recognize and respect Indigenous Women's Groups and their recommendations particularly with regard to the MDGs and the Goals of the Second Decade.

5. To establish National and Regional Offices of the Permanent Forum in the Caribbean and to request the UN to provide adequate funding for these offices.


1. We call on the Permanent Forum to urge ECOSOC to recommend that governments in the Caribbean Region establish National Committees to deal with the activities of the Second Decade. The establishment of the Committees must include the effective and full participation of the Indigenous Peoples including Indigenous Peoples Organisations. The Committees must participate in the evaluation of the second decade in achieving its goals.

2. We call on the Permanent Forum to assist in securing adequate funding for the region for th implementation of the Programme of Activities and the Plan of Action of the Second Decade for the Indigenous Peoples of the Greater Caribbean.

3. Implementation of MDGs should be monitored by developing an defectively using human rights impact assessment methods which are sensitive to the realities of indigenous peoples

4. To call on governments to support an encourage the building of alliances among Indigenous peoples including those separated by borders to revitalize an strengthen their culture

5. We support the call for the preservation of Sacred species be one of the goals of the Second decade.

Thank you madam Chair.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

IPCGC: 2005 Statement on Universal Primary Education


16 – 27 MAY, 2005

Honorable Madame Chair, we the Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean, which includes Guyana, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, congratulate you and the new members of the Permanent Forum on your historic appointments.(1)

We have convened here at the Fourth Session to present regional perspectives on Millennium Development Goal 2, “Achieve universal primary education” and we recommend:

1. That states provide the resources necessary to develop, with the full and effective participation of indigenous people, multilingual, multicultural primary education programs for indigenous peoples, especially where there is absence of the necessary law to provide this.

2. That states recognize the inherent rights of alloidal title of indigenous peoples, so that we may, according to our own values, customs, traditions, and Cosmovisions develop, restore and maintain our collective sustainable sources of living that are necessary to guarantee our way of life.(2) An example of this recognition can be found in the constitution of Venezuela.

3. That where the ancestral languages have been replaced by the dominant language, or not being used as a result of the actions of governments, assimilation and acculturation policies the states and other relevant UN Bodies, provide the resources, technical, or other assistance necessary to develop language immersion programs to restore and revitalize those languages. This should include indigenous nations divided by international borders.

4. That where indigenous peoples are divided by states borders those states create with the full and effective participation of indigenous people educational exchange programs and adequate mechanisms to facilitate language proficient teachers to cross boarders for the purposes of assisting other indigenous peoples in the restoration and revitalization of their ancestral languages In addition, the states and other relevant UN Bodies shall provide the necessary resources, technical or other resources necessary to implement this recommendation.

5. That those states or countries of the Greater Caribbean that have not undertaken constitutional reform or other legislative measures to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples, with the full effective participation of indigenous peoples initiate the appropriate constitutional reforms or other legislative measures to recognize the existence, identity and rights culture, traditions, customs, lands territories and natural resources

6. That states, with the full effective participation of indigenous peoples review all education materials to eliminate any discriminatory and derogatory contents and erroneous historical accounts that make Indigenous Peoples invisible, subject to ridicule, or in any way misrepresents them

7. In order to ensure proper follow up the issues recommended to the Permanent Forum, there is need for the Indigenous Peoples of the Greater Caribbean and other countries who are involved in this process to be engaged in preparatory meetings before the next session is convened. With this in mind, the Permanent Forum and other relevant UN Bodies must provide funding as well as the necessary technical and other resources towards this. We would also welcome the support of NGOs, funding agencies to assist in this initiative.

Madame Chair, and distinguished delegates, we thank you for your patience and the opportunity to submit these recommendations.


1.) Following the model of the Association of Caribbean States, the Greater Caribbean is defined here as an area of cooperation in recognition of the common ancestral heritage and common geographic space shared by the Indigenous Peoples of this region.

At the 2005 session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the following entities were represented via the IPCGC: Consejo General de Taíno Borincanos (Puerto Rico), Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples - GOIP (Guyana), Hoboshirima Arawak Community (Venezuela), Nacion Taina de Las Antillas, and the U.S. Regional Coordinating Office of the United Confederation of Taíno People.

2.) Alloidal System: Absolute ownership of land, free from rent or service.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Public Notice: Establishment of IPCGC Web Log

Public Notice: As per the request of Chief Mary Valenzuela of the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples, and in accordance with the UCTP Resolution Concerning the Participation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples in the International System (3/2005), the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) has established this web log to document the statements made by the IPCGC at the annual sessions of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Further, this service project will also seek to post relevant announcements, highlight public policy and emerging issues from throughout the region that will assist indigenous Caribbean delegates to the UNPFII formulate statements as well as input into any follow-up mechanisms.