Melinda Gates: ‘Black… Indigenous People’ Should Get COVID Vaccine First

(LifeSiteNews) – As work continues on developing a vaccine for COVID-19, left-wing philanthropist Melinda Gates says that “black people” and “indigenous people” in America should be immunized against the virus before whites.

“One of the reasons we are so involved in this is that you don’t want the first vaccines to go to the highest-bidding countries,” said Gates, wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Fox Business reports. “There are 60 million healthcare workers [around the world]. They deserve to get the vaccine first, they’re the ones dealing with this on the front lines, trying to keep us all safe.”

“Then you have to start to tier from there, based on the countries and the populations,” she continued. “Here in the United States, it’s going to be black people who really should get it first and many indigenous people, as well as people with underlying symptoms, and then elderly people.”

Melinda Gates ‘black… Indigenous People’ Should Get Covid Vaccine First

Mrs. Gates’ remarks came during the couple’s virtual appearance at the Forbes philanthropy summit last week.

While many frame a vaccine as a prerequisite for fully reopening society, the prospect of making it mandatory remains controversial for a number of reasons.

While mainstream media often fixates on parents who oppose vaccines based on hotly-debated fears over side effects, they tend to overlook another group that supports vaccines in general while having an ethical conflict with vaccines derived from aborted babies’ cells.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s role in funding COVID-19 vaccine research has been a point of particular concern, due in large part to the couple’s history as radical advocates for abortion and population control.

“It is important for people to understand why so many are suspicious of the philanthropy of Bill Gates and his ilk, and why so many react with suspicion to the medical opinions of a certain sector of our elites,” LifeSiteNews’ Jonathon Van Maren explains.

“It is because they lie to us about abortion, day in and day out, and tell us that destroying a child in the womb is “health care” and “an essential service.”

It is because they tell us that the birth control pill has no side effects and is also health care, that the abortion pill is safe, that abortion has no negative impact on women, and hundreds of other lies that we know to be lies.”

During last week’s event, Bill Gates accused the US government of withdrawing from “global problem-solving” and “just trying to cast blame” by withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO) over its initial response to the coronavirus outbreak, namely its adoption of Chinese misinformation.

The Trump administration emphatically rejects claims that abandoning the WHO constitutes abandoning the COVID-19 relief effort.

“The United States continues to be the undisputed leader in foreign assistance,” James Richardson, director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources at the State Department, said last month, noting that the US is currently responsible for “49 percent of all government and multilateral assistance” in response to COVID-19.

As of June 24, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 2.4 million COVID-19 cases, with more than 123,000 deaths and a million recoveries. More than 40 percent of those deaths have come from nursing homes.

The Revival Of Ancient Lost Crops Reveals Surprising Results

FORBIDDEN HISTORY

The Revival Of Ancient Lost Crops Reveals Surprising Results

The scientific cultivation of lost ancient seed crops has yielded much higher than expected growth rates, challenging assumptions about maize (corn) growth in prehistoric North America.

According to new research ‘lost crops’ might have fed as many people in prehistoric North America as traditionally grown maize.

But the study was not without challenges as no written or oral histories exist about these lost crops, and the more modern domesticated forms are now extinct.

Natalie Mueller is assistant professor of archaeology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and writing in the Journal of Ethnobiology she describes how “painstakingly” she calculated yield estimates for two annual plants that were cultivated in eastern North America for thousands of years before being abandoned for maizeproduction.

The researchers grew ‘goosefoot’ (Chenopodium, sp.) and erect knotweed (Polygonum erectum), which when grown together were found to be “much more productive” than growing either species individually.

According to a report in Eureka Alert, the researcher explained that when these two plants were grown along with the other known lost crops, they might have fed thousands of indigenous people.

Photo of the ‘goosefoot’ plant

The Search For Ancient Botanical Answers

The first seed caches and dried leaves held as evidence of ‘lost crops’ was gathered in the 1930s by archaeologists in rock shelters in Kentucky and Arkansas, and over the past 25 years professor emerita of archaeology at Washington University, Dr Gayle Fritz, established that the extinct crops had supported local indigenous societies for at least a thousand years and long before maize (corn) became their staple crop.

According to Dr Mueller, the lost crops were made up of “diverse native grasses, seed plants, squashes and sunflowers” of which only the latter two are still cultivated today.

Furthermore, the scientist now knows that these lost crops were “purposefully tended.” But while there are many Native Americanpractitioners, of ethnobotanical knowledge, who know about traditional medicinal plants and wild foods, “as far as we know” nobody knows how the lost crops were grown, said Dr Mueller.

Saving Seeds For Future Catastrophes

In February 2015, a Native American researcher in Vermont, Frederick Wiseman, a retired professor and expert on ethno-botany, reproduced horticulture that existed in his state for centuries before Europeansarrived.

After the scientist spent many years researching and working with the Maya civilization in Guatemala and Mexico, Dr. Wiseman identified and preserved 26 different varieties of plants, including “squash, beans, corn, artichokes, ground cherries and tobacco”, which were all vital to the Abenaki Native Americans of northeastern North America and “would otherwise have been lost in time,” Ancient Origins reported in February 2015.

To further ensure our current knowledge of plants and growing methods are secure from being lost to future generations, a 2015 Ancient Originsarticle explained that scientists founded the Svalbard Global Seed Vaultin Norway that preserves more than 860,000 food-crops.

But the question as to why these “lost plants” were abandoned by indigenous cultures has been a point of debate among archaeologists, said Mueller, who added that people (archaeologists) have mostly “assumed” maize was a lot more productive seeing as it’s still grown today, and it has the lowest cost per unit area.

But not content with “assumptions”, Dr Mueller quantified the yield so that comparisons could be drawn between lost crops and maize growth for the first time accurately.

The researcher said that her team had been motivated by wanting to see “more diverse agricultural systems” and to better understand the knowledge, management and ecosystems of indigenous people of North America before the modern industrial agricultural system.

Pairing Up Plants To Enhance Growth

Before the tests began, the scientist first identified several ecological elements, which had to be accounted for before recreating a stable growth system that was as similar to the ancient ecosystem as possible.

This meant leaving aside greenhouses, pesticides and modern fertilizers. Dr Mueller stated in the study, the bugs that pollinated the pants and the pests that ate them were also considered in the experiments, along with the diseases that affected their growth and the animals the plants attracted.

The new paper specifically details the findings from two experiments, which had been designed to investigate germination requirements and potential yields for the lost crops.

Dr Mueller’s new research discovered that a polyculture of goosefoot and erect knotweed grew much more productively than when grown separately as a monoculture.

Additionally, when grown together, these two plants yielded “higher than global averages” for closely related domesticated crops, like quinoa and buckwheat. These results were found to challenge the growth rates of traditionally grown maize.

Brazil’s President is Actively Trying to Destroy Amazon Rainforest, Leaked Documents Show

The Brazilian president is actively trying to devastate the Amazon rainforest, leaked documents have revealed.

The documents show arguments put forward by Jair Bolsonaro that a strong government presence in the Amazon region is important to prevent any conservation projects going forward.

Intending to build bridges, motorways, and a hydroelectric plant in the rainforest, the Brazilian government hopes to ‘fight off international pressure’ to protect the Amazon, according to the leaked information.

As reported by The Independent, the plans were leaked to political website openDemocracy and include PowerPoint slides believed to have been presented at a meeting in February between Brazilian government officials and local leaders in Para state, which is home to the Amazonia National Park.

During the meeting, Brazilian ministers put forward projects planned for the region by President Bolsonaro’s government, with one slide mentioning a priority to strategically occupy the rainforest.

The slide reads, as per openDemocracy:

“Development projects must be implemented on the Amazon basin to integrate it into the rest of the national territory in order to fight off international pressure for the implementation of the so-called ‘Triple A’ project.

“To do this, it is necessary to build the Trombetas River hydroelectric plant, the Óbidos bridge over the Amazon River, and the implementation of the BR-163 highway to the border with Suriname.”

Even before the firesPresident Bolsonaro and Big Corporations Were Teaming Up to Destroy the Amazon

Image: NASA
The ‘Triple A’ (Andes, Amazon and Atlantic) project is a conservation effort led by the organisation Gaia Amazonas, which aims to conserve 265 million square kilometers of jungle and ‘the lungs of our world’.

But now Bolsonaro, Brazil’s controversial far-right president, appears to be sabotaging this effort as devastating fires rage through the Amazon. Fires which are causing a loss equivalent to three football fields per minute, according to the latest government data.

The rainforest – which covers northwestern Brazil and extends into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries – has been burning for weeks, plunging Brazil’s Sao Paulo into darkness and devastating the Amazon.

If the fire continues to burn at its current rate, this will be the first month for several years in which Brazil loses an area of forest bigger than Greater London, with many fearing it will never be able to recover.

According to the latest data from Brazilian satellites, as per The Guardian, 1,345 square kilometres of the region were cleared in July – a third higher than the previous monthly record under its current monitoring system, the Deter B satellite system, which started in 2015.

Bolsonaro yesterday (August 22) claimed his government ‘lacks the resources’ to extinguish the fire, although environmental groups are now placing the blame for the devastation directly on him.

President Bolsonaro displaying the Satanic hand sign Il Cornuto (Devil’s horns)
Richard George, head of forests at Greenpeace, told The Independent:

“The whole area around the Amazon has been highly volatile with loggers and farmers, and Bolsonaro has absolutely lit a torch under that.”

The fire currently sweeping through the rainforest reportedly took hold after farmers announced a coordinated ‘day of fire’ on August 10, due to the president giving the go-ahead for farmers and illegal loggers to enter indigenous communities.

Image: PA
The Amazon rainforest provides 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen, Business Insider reports. However, if it continues to burn it would not only stop producing this oxygen and supporting wildlife, but it could also worsen climate change by triggering a ‘doomsday dieback scenario’.

This would ultimately result in dry leaves which, as well as being unable to absorb as much carbon, would be much more flammable and likely to spread fires – potentially causing the release of 140 billion tonnes of carbon stored in the Amazon into the atmosphere. As a result, global temperatures could rise even further.

Since the public were made aware of the devastating fire, millions rallied together to sign a petition urging the Brazilian government to ban the burning of the Amazon – something which could easily play a detrimental role in the climate emergency we are currently facing.


Why Isn’t This Map in the History Books?

By the age of 10, most children in the United States have been taught all 50 states that make up the country. But centuries ago, the land that is now the United States was a very different place. 

Over 20 million Native Americans dispersed across over 1,000 distinct tribes, bands, and ethnic groups populated the territory. 

Today, Native Americans account for just 1.5 percent of the population, and much of their history has been lost, particularly as today’s education system is sadly lacking when it comes to teaching the rich and complex history of the United States.

Here we examine little-known facts about Native Americans, which should be included in every history book.

Tribes

As of January, 2016, there are 566 legally recognized Native American tribes in the United States, as determined by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Prior to European contact, there were over 1,000 tribes, bands or clans, but sadly, some were completely extinguished as a result of disease epidemics or war.

Today, there is not a single accurate historical map that reflects the location of Native American tribes in North America in a single time period, as the post-European contact situation was ever changing, with contact occurring at different times in different areas. 

From the 16th through the 19th centuries, the population of Native Americans sharply declined from approximately 20 million, to a low of 250,000. Today, there are approximately 2.9 million Native Americans in North America.

As of 2000, the largest groups in the United States by population were Navajo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Sioux, Chippewa, Apache, Blackfeet, Iroquois, and Pueblo.

Tribes of the Indian Nation (Emerson Kent)
Regions

Native American tribes in the United States are typically divided into 8 distinct regions, within which tribes had some similarities across culture, language, religion, customs and politics. 

Northwest Coast – Native Americans here had no need to farm as edible plants and animals were plentiful in the land and sea. They are known for their totem poles, canoes that could hold up to 50 people, and houses made of cedar planks.

California – Over 100 Native American tribes once lived there. They fished, hunted small game, and gathered acorns, which were pounded into a mushy meal.

The Plateau – The Plateau Native Americans lived in the area between Cascade Mountains and the Rocky Mountains. To protect themselves from the cold weather, many built homes that were partly underground.  

The Great Basin – Stretching across Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, the Native Americans of the Great Basin had to endure a hot and dry climate and had to dig for a lot of their food. They were one of the last groups to have contact with Europeans. 

The Southwest – The Natives of the Southwest created tiered homes made out of adobe bricks. Many of the tribes had skilled farmers, grew crops, and created irrigation canals. Famous tribes here include the Navajo Nation, the Apache, and the Pueblo Indians.

The Plains – The Great Plains Indians were known for hunting bison, buffalo and antelope, which provided abundant food. They were nomadic people who lived in teepees and they moved constantly following the herds.

Northeast – The Native Americans of the Northeast lived in an area rich in rivers and forests. Some groups were constantly on the move while others built permanent homes.

The Southeast – The majority of the Native American tribes here were skilled farmers and tended to stay in one place. The largest Native American tribe, the Cherokee, lived in the Southeast.

Native American indigenous cultures map by Paul Mirocha
Languages

It is estimated that there were around one thousand languages spoken in the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans.

Today, there are approximately 296 indigenous languages across North America. 269 of them are grouped into 29 families, while the remaining 28 languages are isolates or unclassified.

None of the native languages of North America had a writing system. However, the spoken languages were neither primitive nor simple. Many had grammar systems as complex as those of Russian and Latin.

Native American tribe language map (Flickr)
There was (and is) enormous variety between the languages. Individuals from clans or tribes just one hundred miles apart may have been completely unable to communicate by speech. Neighboring tribes often used a form of sign language to communicate with each other. 

According to UNESCO, most of the indigenous languages in North America are critically endangered, and many are already extinct.

In the United States, the Navajo language is the most spoken Native American language, with more than 200,000 speakers in the Southwestern United States.

Only 8 Native American languages in the United States have a population of speakers large enough to populate a medium-sized town. These are Navajo, Cree, Ojibwa, Cherokee, Dakota, Apache, Blackfoot and Choctaw.

Less than 20 Native American languages in the United States are projected to survive another 100 years. 

Ancient Race of White Giants Described in Native Legends From Many Tribes

Several Native American tribes have passed down legends of a race of white giants who were wiped out. 

We’ll take a look at a few such legends, including those among the Choctaw and the Comanches of the United States down to the Manta of Peru.

Choctaw

Horatio Bardwell Cushman wrote in his 1899 book “History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians”:

“The tradition of the Choctaws… told of a race of giants that once inhabited the now State of Tennessee, and with whom their ancestors fought when they arrived in Mississippi in their migration from the west. … Their tradition states the Nahullo (race of giants) was of wonderful stature.”

The tradition of the Choctaws told of a race of giants that once inhabited the now State of Tennessee. — Horatio Bardwell Cushman

Cushman said “Nahullo” came to be used to describe all white people, but it originally referred specifically to a giant white race with whom the Choctaw came into contact when they first crossed the Mississippi River.

The Nahullo were said to be cannibals whom the Choctaw killed whenever the opportunity arose.

Comanches

Chief Rolling Thunder of the Comanches, a tribe from the Great Plains, gave the following account of an ancient race of white giants in 1857:

“Innumerable moons ago, a race of white men, 10 feet high, and far more rich and powerful than any white people now living, here inhabited a large range of country, extending from the rising to the setting sun. Their fortifications crowned the summits of the mountains, protecting their populous cities situated in the intervening valleys.

Innumerable moons ago, a race of white men, 10 feet high, and far more rich and powerful than any white people now living, here inhabited a large range of country.

“They excelled every other nation which was flourished, either before or since, in all manner of cunning handicraft—were brave and warlike—ruling over the land they had wrested from its ancient possessors with a high and haughty hand. Compared with them the palefaces of the present day were pygmies, in both art and arms. …”

The chief explained that when this race forgot justice and mercy and became too proud, the Great Spirit wiped it out and all that was left of their society were the mounds still visible on the tablelands.

This account was documented by Dr. Donald “Panther” Yates, a researcher and author of books on Native American history, on his blog.

Navajo

Yates also writes of the Starnake people of Navajo legend, describing them as:

“A regal race of white giants endowed with mining technology who dominated the West, enslaved lesser tribes, and had strongholds all through the Americas. They were either extinguished or ‘went back to the heavens.’”

Manta

In 1864, Pedro de Cieza de León wrote in “Chronicle of Peru” about legendary giants described to him by the Manta indigenous people:

“There are, however, reports concerning giants in Peru, who landed on the coast at the point of Santa Elena. … The natives relate the following tradition, which had been received from their ancestors from very remote times.

From the knee downwards, their height was as great as the entire height of an ordinary man. — Pedro de Cieza de León, conquistador

“There arrived on the coast, in boats made of reeds, as big as large ships, a party of men of such size that, from the knee downwards, their height was as great as the entire height of an ordinary man, though he might be of good stature.

Their limbs were all in proportion to the deformed size of their bodies, and it was a monstrous thing to see their heads, with hair reaching to the shoulders. Their eyes were as large as small plates.”

León said that the sexual habits of the giants were revolting to the Natives and heaven eventually wiped out the giants because of those habits.

Giants on Record:America’s Hidden History, Secrets in the Mounds and the Smithsonian Files

Paiutes

The Paiutes are said to have an oral tradition that told of red-haired, white, cannibals about 10 feet tall who lived in or near what is now known as Lovelock Cave in Nevada.

It is unclear whether this “oral tradition” about the so-called Sitecah giants existed or if it was an exaggeration or distortion of their legends made after the Paiutes were mostly killed or dispersed in 1833 by an expedition by explorer Joseph Walker.

Brian Dunning of Skeptoid explored Paiutes legends and found no mention of the Sitecah being giants. It seems there was, however, a people who practiced cannibalism and who lived in Lovelock Cave.

Human remains have been found there, and a few of the human bones had the marrow removed, suggesting the marrow was eaten. Cannibalism seems to have been a rare practice among these peoples, however.

The remains do have red hair, but this may be because black hair can turn red with time.

The Great Smithsonian Cover-Up: 18 Giant Skeletons Discovered in Wisconsin

Lovelock Cave (Bureau of Land Management/Public Domain)
Miners unearthed the artifacts in 1912, leaving them in a pile before eventually contacting the University of California. Anthropologist Llewellyn L. Loud traveled from the university to the site to investigate.

It is commonly agreed that excavation of the site was not handled well and certainly not up to modern standards. But some proponents of the Sitecah giants theory say researchers have deliberately covered up any giant remains found there.

What Became of the Taíno?

What Became of the Taíno? | Travel | Smithsonian

The Indians who greeted Columbus were long believed to have died out. But a journalist’s search for their descendants turned up surprising results

Taino leader Francisco Ramirez Rojas
Taíno leader Francisco “Panchito” Ramírez Rojas offers a prayer to the sea near Baracoa on Cuba’s eastern coast. (Maggie Steber)

If you have ever paddled a canoe, napped in a hammock, savored a barbecue, smoked tobacco or tracked a hurricane across Cuba, you have paid tribute to the Taíno, the Indians who invented those words long before they welcomed Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492.

From This Story

a legend holds hat the sun turned Macocael to stone after the sentinel deserted his post at the entrance of the cave near what today is Santo Domingo

Their world, which had its origins among the Arawak tribes of the Orinoco Delta, gradually spread from Venezuela across the Antilles in waves of voyaging and settlement begun around 400 B.C. Mingling with people already established in the Caribbean, they developed self-sufficient communities on the island of Hispaniola, in what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic; in Jamaica and eastern Cuba; in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. They cultivated yuca, sweet potatoes, maize, beans and other crops as their culture flourished, reaching its peak by the time of European contact.

Some scholars estimate the Taíno population may have reached more than three million on Hispaniola alone as the 15th century drew to a close, with smaller settlements elsewhere in the Caribbean. Whatever the number, the Taíno towns described by Spanish chroniclers were densely settled, well organized and widely dispersed. The Indians were inventive people who learned to strain cyanide from life-giving yuca, developed pepper gas for warfare, devised an extensive pharmacopeia from nature, built oceangoing canoes large enough for more than 100 paddlers and played games with a ball made of rubber, which fascinated Europeans seeing the material for the first time. Although the Taíno never developed a written language, they made exquisite pottery, wove intricate belts from dyed cotton and carved enigmatic images from wood, stone, shell and bone.

The Taíno impressed Columbus with their generosity, which may have contributed to their undoing. “They will give all that they do possess for anything that is given to them, exchanging things even for bits of broken crockery,” he noted upon meeting them in the Bahamas in 1492. “They were very well built, with very handsome bodies and very good faces….They do not carry arms or know them….They should be good servants.”

In short order, Columbus established the first American colony at La Isabela, on the north coast of Hispaniola, in 1494. After a brief period of coexistence, relations between the newcomers and natives deteriorated. Spaniards removed men from villages to work in gold mines and colonial plantations. This kept the Taíno from planting the crops that had fed them for centuries. They began to starve; many thousands fell prey to smallpox, measles and other European diseases for which they had no immunity; some committed suicide to avoid subjugation; hundreds fell in fighting with the Spaniards, while untold numbers fled to remote regions beyond colonial control. In time, many Taíno women married conquistadors, combining the genes of the New World and Old World to create a new mestizo population, which took on Creole characteristics with the arrival of African slaves in the 16th century. By 1514, barely two decades after first contact, an official survey showed that 40 percent of Spanish men had taken Indian wives. The unofficial number is undoubtedly higher.

“Very few Indians were left after 50 years,” said Ricardo Alegría, a Puerto Rican historian and anthropologist I interviewed before his death this past July. He had combed through Spanish archives to track the eclipse of the Taíno. “Their culture was interrupted by disease, marriage with Spanish and Africans, and so forth, but the main reason the Indians were exterminated as a group was sickness,” he told me. He ran through the figures from his native island: “By 1519, a third of the aboriginal population had died because of smallpox. You find documents very soon after that, in the 1530s, in which the question came from Spain to the governor. ‘How many Indians are there? Who are the chiefs?’ The answer was none. They are gone.” Alegría paused before adding: “Some remained probably…but it was not that many.”

Possibly as many as three million souls—some 85 percent of the Taíno population—had vanished by the early 1500s, according to a controversial extrapolation from Spanish records. As the Indian population faded, so did Taíno as a living language. The Indians’ reliance on beneficent icons known as cemís gave way to Christianity, as did their hal­lucinogen-induced cohoba ceremonies, which were thought to put shamans in touch with the spirit world. Their regional chieftaincies, each headed by a leader known as a cacique, crumbled away. Their well-maintained ball courts reverted to bush.

Given the dramatic collapse of the indigenous society, and the emergence of a population blending Spanish, Indian and African attributes, one might be tempted to declare the Taíno extinct. Yet five centuries after the Indians’ fateful meeting with Columbus, elements of their culture endure—in the genetic heritage of modern Antilleans, in the persistence of Taíno words and in isolated communities where people carry on traditional methods of architecture, farming, fishing and healing.

For more than a year, I searched for these glimpses of Taíno survival, among living descendants in New York City and dusty Caribbean villages, in museums displaying fantastic religious objects created by long-dead artists, in interviews with researchers who still debate the fate of the Taíno.

My search began in the nooks and crannies of limestone caves underlying the Dominican Republic, where the Taíno believed their world began. “Hispaniola is the heart of Taíno culture and the caves are the heart of the Taíno,” said Domingo Abréu Collado, chief of the speleology division in the Dominican Ministry on Environmental and Natural Resources. He clapped on a hard hat at the entrance to the Pomier Caves, a complex of 55 caverns less than an hour’s drive from the gridlock of Santo Domingo. He led me from the eye-numbing brilliance of tropical noon into a shadowy tunnel, where our headlamps picked out the image of a face carved into stone, its eyes wide in surprise.

“That’s Mácocael,” said Abréu. “This guy was supposed to guard the entrance of the cave at night, but he got curious and left his post for a look around outside. The sun caught him there and turned him to stone.” The sentinel, whose Taíno name means “No Eyelids,” now stands guard for eternity.

More than 1,000 years before the Spaniards arrived, local shamans and other pilgrims visited such caves to glimpse the future, to pray for rain and to draw surreal images on the walls with charcoal: mating dogs, giant birds swooping down on human prey, a bird-headed man copulating with a human, and a pantheon of naturalistically rendered owls, turtles, frogs, fish and other creatures important to the Taíno, who associated particular animals with specific powers of fecundity, healing, magic and death.

Abréu, a lean man with sharp features, paused before a sweaty wall crowded with images. “So many paintings! I think they are concentrated where the points of energy converge,” he said. Abréu’s headlamp fell upon images of stick figures who seemed to be smoking pipes; others bent over bowls to inhale snuff through long tubes. These were the tribal leaders who fasted until their ribs showed, cleansed themselves with vomiting sticks and snorted cohoba powder, a hallucinogen ground from the seeds of the Anadenanthera peregrina, a tree native to the Caribbean.

The cohoba ritual was first described by Friar Ramón Pané, a Hieronymite brother who, on the orders of Columbus himself, lived among the Taíno and chronicled their rich belief system. Pané’s writings—the most direct source we have on ancient Taíno culture—was the basis for Peter Martyr’s 1516 account of cohoba rites: “The intoxicating herb,” Martyr wrote, “is so strong that those who take it lose consciousness; when the stupefying action begins to wane, the arms and legs become loose and the head droops.” Under its influence, users “suddenly begin to rave, and at once they say . . . that the house is moving, turning things upside down, and that men are walking backwards.” Such visions guided leaders in planning war, judging tribal disputes, predicting the agricultural yield and other matters of importance. And the drug seems to have influenced the otherworldly art in Pomier and other caves.

“Country people are still afraid of caves—the ghosts, you see,” said Abréu. His voice was accompanied by the sound of dripping water and the fluttering of bats, which swirled around the ceiling and clicked in the dark.

The bats scattered before us; we trudged up into the daylight and by early the next morning we were rattling through the rain-washed streets of Santo Domingo bound for the northeast in search of living Taíno, in Abréu’s opinion a dubious objective. Formerly an archaeologist for the Museum of the Dominican Man, he was skeptical of finding real Indians but was happy enough to help scout for remnants of their influence. The first signs began to appear around the town of Bayaguana, where the road narrowed and we jounced past plots of yuca, plantains and maize, some of which were planted in the heaped-earth pattern favored by Taíno farmers of

old. New fields, cleared by the slash-and-burn methods Indians brought here from South America, smoldered along the way. On the fringes of Los Haitises National Park, we met a woman who had set up shop beside the road to sell casabe, the coarse, flat Taíno bread made from yuca. “None left,” she said. “I sold the last of it yesterday.” We began to see simple, sensibly designed houses with thin walls of palm planks and airy roofs of thatch, like those depicted in Spanish woodcuts from Columbus’ day.

The road ended at Sabana de los Javieles, a village known as a pocket of Taíno settlement since the 1530s, when Enrique, one of the last Taíno caciques of the colonial period, made peace with Spain and led some 600 followers to northeastern Hispaniola. They stayed, married Spaniards and Africans, and left descendants who still retain indigenous traits. In the 1950s, researchers found high percentages of the blood types that are predominant in Indians in blood samples they took here. In the 1970s, dental surveys established that 33 out of 74 villagers retained shovel-shaped incisors, the teeth characteristic of American Indians and Asians. And a recent nationwide genetic study established that 15 percent to 18 percent of Dominicans had Amerindian markers in their mitochondrial DNA, testifying to the continued presence of Taíno genes.

None of this would surprise Ramona Primitiva, a villager whose family has long embraced its indigenous antecedents. “My father used to tell us we came from the Indio,” she said, using another name for the Taíno. “My family has always been here. We didn’t come from somewhere else.” We sat in white plastic chairs at the local store, grateful for the shade of an overhanging roof and happy to have neighbors join the conversation.

“My father used to tell us we were descendants of the Indians,” said Meregilda Tholia Johelin.

“My ancestors were Indio,” said Rosa Arredondo Vasquez.

“My grandmother said we came from the Indians,” said Gabriela Javier Alvarez, who appeared with an aluminum guayo, Taíno for the grating boards once fashioned from rough stone and used for shredding yuca roots.

Jurda Arcacio Peguero wandered by, eavesdropped for a moment, then dashed next door to fetch a batea, Taíno for a long wooden tray for fruits or vegetables. “It’s an old one,” she said, handing over an object fragrant of garlic and worn buttery smooth from use.

The villagers did not call themselves Indian or Taíno, but they knew how Indian traditions had shaped life in the community. Most had kept a long silence about their indigenous heritage for fear of being ridiculed: Indians were country people—uneducated campesinos stereotyped as gullible or backward. The bigotry has softened somewhat, but nobody wants to be considered a rube.

It was late in the day when we said our farewells and turned for the capital, back down a rutted road through lumpy green hills. “I’m sorry we couldn’t find an Indian for you,” Abréu said, sensing my disappointment. Brooding in the passenger seat, I wondered if the prevailing academic wisdom might be true—that the Taíno had been extinct as a distinct people for half a millennium, existing at best as hybrids in fragments of their old homeland. Did any pure Taíno survive?

That question was the wrong one to ask. It took a nudge from Jorge Estevez, a self-described Taíno from New York City, to remind me that notions of racial purity went out the window with Adolf Hitler and the eugenics movement. “These concepts are really outdated,” said Estevez, who coordinates educational workshops at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York. “There’s no such thing as a pure Taíno,” he continued, “just like there are no pure Spaniards. It’s not even clear about the ethnicity of Christopher Columbus! The guys who came with him were mixed with Moors, with Sephardic Jews, with Basques—a great mixture that was going on. That story continues.”

Even the Taíno evolved as a distinct people only after centuries of traveling and merging with other populations in the Antilles. “So when people ask if I am pure Taíno, I say ‘yes,’” said Estevez, who traces his roots to the Dominican Republic and has the shovel incisors to prove it. “My ancestors were from a plethora of different tribes. They mixed with a lot of others to become Taíno. What you have to look at is how the culture persists and how it is being transmitted.”

Estevez, a former pugilist who retains a boxer’s brawn and grace, unzipped a black suitcase and began unpacking objects to bolster his argument for the survival of a Taíno culture: a feather-light makuto, a basket woven from palm fronds; ladles, cups, plates and a musical instrument known as a guiro, all made from gourds; a wooden batea for carrying produce, like the one I had seen in the Dominican Republic a few days before. These were not dusty artifacts from a museum but utensils made recently by Antillean villagers who still use them and call them by their Taíno names. “My mother knew how to weave these things,” he said, holding up the makuto. “We also made casabe.” As he got older, Estevez steadily collected Indian lore and objects from a network of uncles and aunts in the islands, adding new evidence to his suitcase every year. “All my life I’ve been on this journey looking for all these Taíno things to see how much survival is there,” he said.

Relegated to a footnote of history for 500 years, the Taíno came roaring back as front-page news in 2003, when Juan C. Martínez Cruzado, a biologist at the University of Puerto Rico, announced the results of an island-wide genetic study. Taking samples from 800 randomly selected subjects, Martínez reported that 61.1 percent of those surveyed had mitochondrial DNA of indigenous origin, indicating a persistence in the maternal line that surprised him and his fellow scientists. The same study revealed African markers in 26.4 percent of the population and 12.5 percent for those of European descent. The results encouraged a Taíno resurgence, with native groups urging Puerto Rican schools to take note of the indigenous contribution to Caribbean history, opposing construction on tribal sites and seeking federal recognition for the Taíno, with attendant benefits.

Though the question of Indian identity is often fraught with political implications, it is especially pronounced in Puerto Rico, which still struggles with its status as a territory of the United States. The island enjoys neither the benefits of statehood nor the independence of a nation, with deep divisions between proponents for each. Ardent nationalists view the recent surge in Taíno activism as a threat to political unity. Activists say their adversaries are promoting Eurocentric history and a colonial class system. Even Taíno leaders occasionally view one another with hostility.

“Here in Puerto Rico, power plays are rampant,” said Carlalynne Melendez Martínez, an anthropologist who has launched the nonprofit group Guakia Taina-Ke, Our Taíno Land, to promote native studies. Her goal is to boost Taíno culture by reviving the Arawak language, preserving cultural sites and establishing preserves for indigenous people. “We’re teaching the language to children and teaching people how to farm. We don’t do songs and dances for the tourists,” she said, referring to a competing group.

In Puerto Rico’s central mountains, I came upon a woman who called herself Kukuya, Taíno for firefly, who was getting ready for a gathering of Indians in Jayuya, a town associated with both revolution and indigenous festivals. She had grown up in New York City but had lived in Puerto Rico for 35 years, having been guided to this remote community, she said, by a vision. Green-eyed and rosy-cheeked, she said her forebears were Spanish, African, Mexican and Maya as well as Taíno.

“My great-grandmother was pure-blooded Taíno, my mother of mixed blood,” she said. “When I told people I was Taíno, they said, ‘What, are you crazy? There aren’t any left!’ But I don’t believe you have to look a certain way. I have all of my ancestors within me.”

Like Kukuya, thousands of Puerto Ricans have been discovering their inner Taíno in recent years. In the 2010 census, for example, 19,839 Puerto Ricans checked the identity box marked “American Indian or Alaskan Native,” an increase of almost 49 percent over the 2000 count, when 13,336 checked it. Neither canvass provided a Taíno option.The native population represents less than 1 percent of Puerto Rico’s 3.7 million people, but indigenous leaders consider the latest head count a milestone—further proof that some Indians live on long after they were thought to be annihilated.

“What I’m really excited about is that there’s a lot of youth coming into this and challenging the status quo,” said Roberto Mukaro Borrero, president of the United Confederation of Taíno People. Borrero, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican parentage, has tried to soothe fears about a Taíno land grab based on Indian identity.

“I want to make it clear that we’re not here to take back Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic,” he said. “Or to establish a casino. If you just look at the statements we’ve made over the last ten years, there’s not one mention of casinos, kicking anybody out of the country or being divisive in any way. We just want a seat at the table.”

Still, some scholars remain skeptical. “You have to be aware of people running around saying they’re Taíno, because they are after a federal subsidy,” said Bernardo Vega, a former director of the Museum of the Dominican Man and the Dominican Republic’s former ambassador to the United States. Yvonne M. Narganes Storde, an archaeologist at the University of Puerto Rico agreed. She gives the activists credit for preserving important sites on the island, but she sounded wary of their emphasis on establishing a separate Taíno identity. “All the cultures are blended here,” she said. “I probably have Taíno genes. We all do. We have incorporated all these cultures—African, Spanish and Indian. We have to live with it.”

A few pockets of Taíno culture remain in eastern Cuba, an area shaped by rugged mountains and years of isolation. “Anybody who talks about the extinction of the Taíno has not really looked at the record,” said Alejandro Hartmann Matos, the city historian of Baracoa, Cuba’s oldest city, and an authority on the island’s earliest inhabitants. Hartmann, a Cuban of German ancestry, had invited me to meet Indian descendants from the island’s Oriente region, as well as to mark the 500th anniversary of Baracoa, founded in 1511. Joining us was José Barreiro, assistant director of research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. With Hartmann, Barreiro has been tracking descendants of the Indians since 1989. Based on their research, the pair estimate that at least 5,000 Indians survive in Cuba, while hundreds of thousands likely have indigenous roots.

Late one night, after a day of quincentennial celebrations with live music, dancing, poetry recitations and occasional tots of rum, Barreiro and I sat bleary-eyed around a kitchen table as the indefatigable Hartmann raced through a list of historical references to Indians of the Oriente, beginning in 1492, when Columbus sailed into Baracoa harbor, planted a wooden cross on the shore and praised the place for its “good water, good land, good surroundings, and much wood.”

“Indians have appeared in the record ever since,” said Hartmann. Indigenous people established the city of Jiguaní in 1701 and formed the all-native Hatuey Regiment in the Cuban war against Spain in 1895. José Martí, founding father of Cuba’s independence movement, frequently mentioned Indians in his war diary. Mark Harrington, an American archaeologist conducting fieldwork in 1915 and 1919, found natives still hanging on in eastern Cuba. He was followed—in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s—by anthropologists who scoured the region recording the skeletal structure, blood type and other physical attributes of Cuban villagers with indigenous ancestry. “So if you look to the past,” said Hartmann, “you see this long record of Indians living here. Anyone who says otherwise is speaking from ignorance.”

And today?

“Just look around!” said Hartmann, spreading his arms wide. In a week of exploring Baracoa and its environs, we had encountered many Cubans with the high cheekbones, coppery skin and other features that suggest Amerindian ancestry. And while it was clear that indigenous families have intermarried with Africans and Europeans, we met villagers in Baracoa and the nearby settlements of Playa Duaba and Guirito who proudly identified themselves as Indian. They kept the old traditions, planting their dense gardens, praying to the moon and sun for strength, gathering wild plants for healing and marking the passage of time without clocks or watches.

“When I see the vivijagua ant come out of his nest and crawl across the rafters in the morning, I know it’s time to go to the fields,” 75-year old Francisco “Panchito” Ramírez Rojas told us. “When the chipojo lizard comes down from the palm tree to get a drink of water, I know it’s noon. I also know it’s noon when my shadow disappears and I’m standing on my own head,” he said, getting up from our lunch table to illustrate his point.

A lean man bronzed by years in the sun, Panchito radiated a natural authority, which had earned him the title of cacique in the community of La Ranchería, not far from the U.S. naval station and prison at Guantánamo Bay.

Ramirez took the opportunity to search for useful plants in the woods along the Toa River. Striding up to a cedar, he patted the rough trunk as if it were an old amigo. “This tree is a relative,” he said. “It has feelings like we do, so it should be treated with respect. If you make tea from the bark of this tree, it has a lot of power. It’s good for colds and respiratory problems. But if you don’t ask permission before you cut the bark, it may not work. So I always say a little prayer so the tree knows I’m serious and I want to share its power. ‘Give me your strength for healing.’ That’s what I ask.”

Hearing Ramirez, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck bristling: His method of conversing with plants was almost identical to one described by 15th-century Spanish chroniclers. Although those accounts have been widely published, it is doubtful that Ramirez ever read them: He is illiterate. He learned his craft from a great-uncle and other elders who were natural healers in his mountain community.

“If we expect to get food from the earth,” he says, “we have to give something back. So at planting time we always say a prayer and bury a little stone or a coin in the field, just a little message to the earth, so that she will help with production.”

Like those who taught him, Ramirez is passing his knowledge on, to a son, Vladimir Lenin Ramírez Ramírez, and to other family members, so they will keep the traditions going. “The young ones will carry on for us,” Panchito Ramirez said. But he admitted concern over the dwindling of Indian communities, which have been reduced by marriage to outsiders. “I’d like for my children to marry Indians, but there just aren’t enough of us. So our people are leaving the mountain to find new families. They’re scattered all over.”







The Legacy of Fifteenth Century Religious Prejudice

When Christopher Columbus first set foot on the white sands of Guanahani island, he performed a ceremony to “take possession” of the land for the king and queen of Spain, acting under the international laws of Western Christendom. Although the story of Columbus’ “discovery” has taken on mythological proportions in most of the Western world, few people are aware that his act of “possession” was based on a religious doctrine now known in history as the Doctrine of Discovery. Even fewer people realize that today – five centuries later – the United States government still uses this archaic Judeo-Christian doctrine to deny the rights of Native American Indians.

Origins of the Doctrine of Discovery

To understand the connection between Christendom’s principle of discovery and the laws of the United States, we need to begin by examining a papal document issued forty years before Columbus’ historic voyage In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued to King Alfonso V of Portugal the bull Romanus Pontifex, declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world, and specifically sanctioning and promoting the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories. Under various theological and legal doctrines formulated during and after the Crusades, non-Christians were considered enemies of the Catholic faith and, as such, less than human. Accordingly, in the bull of 1452, Pope Nicholas directed King Alfonso to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.” [Davenport: 20-26] Acting on this papal privilege, Portugal continued to traffic in African slaves, and expanded its royal dominions by making “discoveries” along the western coast of Africa, claiming those lands as Portuguese territory. Thus, when Columbus sailed west across the Sea of Darkness in 1492 – with the express understanding that he was authorized to “take possession” of any lands he “discovered” that were “not under the dominion of any Christian rulers” – he and the Spanish sovereigns of Aragon and Castile were following an already well-established tradition of “discovery” and conquest. [Thacher:96] Indeed, after Columbus returned to Europe, Pope Alexander VI issued a papal document, the bull Inter Cetera of May 3, 1493, “granting” to Spain – at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella – the right to conquer the lands which Columbus had already found, as well as any lands which Spain might “discover” in the future. In the Inter Cetera document, Pope Alexander stated his desire that the “discovered” people be “subjugated and brought to the faith itself.” [Davenport:61] By this means, said the pope, the “Christian Empire” would be propagated. [Thacher:127] When Portugal protested this concession to Spain, Pope Alexander stipulated in a subsequent bull – issued May 4, 1493 – that Spain must not attempt to establish its dominion over lands which had already “come into the possession of any Christian lords.” [Davenport:68] Then, to placate the two rival monarchs, the pope drew a line of demarcation between the two poles, giving Spain rights of conquest and dominion over one side of the globe, and Portugal over the other. During this quincentennial of Columbus’ journey to the Americas, it is important to recognize that the grim acts of genocide and conquest committed by Columbus and his men against the peaceful Native people of the Caribbean were sanctioned by the abovementioned documents of the Catholic Church. Indeed, these papal documents were frequently used by Christian European conquerors in the Americas to justify an incredibly brutal system of colonization – which dehumanized the indigenous people by regarding their territories as being “inhabited only by brute animals.” [Story:135-6] The lesson to be learned is that the papal bulls of 1452 and 1493 are but two clear examples of how the “Christian Powers,” or “different States of Christendom,” viewed indigenous peoples as “the lawful spoil and prey of their civilized conquerors.” [Wheaton:270-1] In fact, the Christian “Law of Nations” asserted that Christian nations had a divine right, based on the Bible, to claim absolute title to and ultimate authority over any newly “discovered” Non-Christian inhabitants and their lands. Over the next several centuries, these beliefs gave rise to the Doctrine of Discovery used by Spain, Portugal, England, France, and Holland – all Christian nations.

The Doctrine of Discovery in U.S. Law

In 1823, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was quietly adopted into U.S. law by the Supreme Court in the celebrated case, Johnson v. McIntosh (8 Wheat., 543). Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice John Marshall observed that Christian European nations had assumed “ultimate dominion” over the lands of America during the Age of Discovery, and that – upon “discovery” – the Indians had lost “their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations,” and only retained a right of “occupancy” in their lands. In other words, Indians nations were subject to the ultimate authority of the first nation of Christendom to claim possession of a given region of Indian lands. [Johnson:574; Wheaton:270-1] According to Marshall, the United States – upon winning its independence in 1776 – became a successor nation to the right of “discovery” and acquired the power of “dominion” from Great Britain. [Johnson:587-9] Of course, when Marshall first defined the principle of “discovery,” he used language phrased in such a way that it drew attention away from its religious bias, stating that “discovery gave title to the government, by whose subject, or by whose authority, the discovery was made, against all other European governments.” [Johnson:573-4] However, when discussing legal precedent to support the court’s findings, Marshall specifically cited the English charter issued to the explorer John Cabot, in order to document England’s “complete recognition” of the Doctrine of Discovery. [Johnson:576] Then, paraphrasing the language of the charter, Marshall noted that Cabot was authorized to take possession of lands, “notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens, and, at the same time, admitting the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous discovery.” [Johnson:577] In other words, the Court affirmed that United States law was based on a fundamental rule of the “Law of Nations” – that it was permissible to virtually ignore the most basic rights of indigenous “heathens,” and to claim that the “unoccupied lands” of America rightfully belonged to discovering Christian European nations. Of course, it’s important to understand that, as Benjamin Munn Ziegler pointed out in The International Law of John Marshall, the term “unoccupied lands” referred to “the lands in America which, when discovered, were ‘occupied by Indians’ but ‘unoccupied’ by Christians.” [Ziegler:46] Ironically, the same year that the Johnson v. McIntosh decision was handed down, founding father James Madison wrote: “Religion is not in the purview of human government. Religion is essentially distinct from civil government, and exempt from its cognizance; a connection between them is injurious to both.” Most of us have been brought up to believe that the United States Constitution was designed to keep church and state apart. Unfortunately, with the Johnson decision, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was not only written into U.S. law but also became the cornerstone of U.S. Indian policy over the next century.

From Doctrine of Discovery to Domestic Dependent Nations

Using the principle of “discovery” as its premise, the Supreme Court stated in 1831 that the Cherokee Nation (and, by implication, all Indian nations) was not fully sovereign, but “may, perhaps,” be deemed a “domestic dependent nation.” [Cherokee Nation v. Georgia] The federal government took this to mean that treaties made with Indian nations did not recognize Indian nations as free of U.S. control. According to the U.S. government, Indian nations were “domestic dependent nations” subject to the federal government’s absolute legislative authority – known in the law as “plenary power.” Thus, the ancient doctrine of Christian discovery and its subjugation of “heathen” Indians were extended by the federal government into a mythical doctrine that the U.S. Constitution allows for governmental authority over Indian nations and their lands. [Savage:59-60] The myth of U.S. “plenary power” over Indians – a power, by the way, that was never intended by the authors of the Constitution [Savage:115-17] – has been used by the United States to:

  1. Circumvent the terms of solemn treaties that the U.S. entered into with Indian nations, despite the fact that all such treaties are “supreme Law of the Land, anything in the Constitution notwithstanding.”
  2. Steal the homelands of Indian peoples living east of the Mississippi River, by removing them from their traditional ancestral homelands through the Indian Removal Act of 1835.
  3. Use a congressional statute, known as the General Allotment Act of 1887, to divest Indian people of some 90 million acres of their lands. This act, explained John Collier (Commissioner of Indian Affairs) was “an indirect method – peacefully under the forms of law – of taking away the land that we were determined to take away but did not want to take it openly by breaking the treaties.”
  4. Steal the sacred Black Hills from the Great Sioux nation in violation of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie which recognized the Sioux Nation’s exclusive and absolute possession of their lands.
  5. Pay the Secretary of the Interior $26 million for 24 million acres of Western Shoshone lands, because the Western Shoshone people have steadfastly refused to sell the land and refused to accept the money. Although the Western Shoshone Nation’s sovereignty and territorial boundaries were clearly recognized by the federal government in the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty, the government now claims that paying itself on behalf of the Western Shoshone has extinguished the Western Shoshone’s title to their lands.

The above cases are just a few examples of how the United States government has used the Johnson v. McIntosh and Cherokee Nation v. Georgia decisions to callously disregard the human rights of Native peoples. Indeed, countless U.S. Indian policies have been based on the underlying, hidden rationale of “Christian discovery” – a rationale which holds that the “heathen” indigenous peoples of the Americas are “subordinate to the first Christian discoverer,” or its successor. [Wheaton:271] As Thomas Jefferson once observed, when the state uses church doctrine as a coercive tool, the result is “hypocrisy and meanness.” Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court’s use of the ancient Christian Doctrine of Discovery – to circumvent the Constitution as a means of taking Indian lands and placing Indian nations under U.S. control – has proven Madison and Jefferson right.

Bringing an End to Five Hundred Years of Injustice to Indigenous Peoples

In a country set up to maintain a strict separation of church and state, the Doctrine of Discovery should have long ago been declared unconstitutional because it is based on a prejudicial treatment of Native American people simply because they were not Christians at the time of European arrival. By penalizing Native people on the basis of their non-Christian religious beliefs and ceremonial practices, stripping them of most of their lands and most of their sovereignty, the Johnson v. McIntosh ruling stands as a monumental violation of the “natural rights” of humankind, as well as the most fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples. As we move beyond the quincentennial of Columbus’ invasion of the Americas, it is high time to formally renounce and put an end to the religious prejudice that was written into U.S. law by Chief Justice John Marshall. Whether or not the American people – especially the Christian right – prove willing to assist Native people in getting the Johnson ruling overturned will say a lot to the world community about just how seriously the United States takes its own foundational principles of liberty, justice, and religious freedom. As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Inter Cetera bulls on May 3 and 4 of 1993, it is important to keep in mind that the Doctrine of Discovery is still being used by countries throughout the Americas to deny the rights of indigenous peoples, and to perpetuate colonization throughout the Western Hemisphere. To begin to bring that system of colonization to an end, and to move away from a cultural and spiritual tradition of subjugation, we must overturn the doctrine at its roots. Therefore, I propose that non-Native people – especially Christians – unite in solidarity with indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere to impress upon Pope John Paul II how important it is for him to revoke, in a formal ceremony with indigenous people, the Inter Cetera bulls of 1493. Revoking those papal documents and overturning the Johnson v. McIntosh decision are two important first steps toward correcting the injustices that have been inflicted on indigenous peoples over the past five hundred years. They are also spiritually significant steps toward creating a way of life that is no longer based on greed and subjugation. Perhaps then we will be able to use our newfound solidarity to begin to create a lifestyle based on the first indigenous principle: “Respect the Earth and have a Sacred Regard for All Living Things.”

References

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 1, 8 L.Ed. 25 (1831). Davenport, Frances Gardiner, 19l7, European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, Vol. 1, Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington. Johnson and Graham’s Lessee V McIntosh 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 5 L.Ed. 681(1823). Rivera-Pagan, Luis N., 1991, “Cross Preceded Sword in ‘Discovery’ of the Americas,” in Yakima Nation Review, 1991, Oct. 4. Story, Joseph, 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States Vol. 1 Boston: Little, Brown & Co. Thacher, John Boyd, 1903, Christopher Columbus Vol. 11, New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons. Williamson, James A., 1962, The Cabot Voyages And Bristol Discovery Under Henry VII, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wheaton, Henry, 1855, Elements of International Law, Sixth Edition, Boston: Little Brown, and Co. Ziegler, Benjamin Munn, 1939, The International Law of John Marshall, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.  ]]> 1610 2016-05-16 16:06:51 2016-05-16 16:06:51 open open five-hundred-years-of-injustice publish 0 0 post 0 publicize_google_plus_url _rest_api_published _rest_api_client_id _publicize

Interesting Facts About Puerto Rico

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By Luis Torres

Celebrating 127 years of our flag Puerto Rico: Did you know? Originally populated for centuries by indigenous aboriginal peoples known as Taino the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain during his second voyage to the Americas November 19, 1493. Puerto Rico is also popularly known in Spanish as ‘la isla del encanto’ meaning “the island of enchantment”. Puerto Ricans are commonly called “Boricuas” as they call the island Borinquen, from Borikén, its indigenous name, which means “Land of the Valiant Lord” Puerto Rico (Spanish for “Rich Port”) comprises an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona.

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Puerto Rico has won the Miss Universe beauty pageant crown 5 times in the last 43 years (1970,1985,1993,2001,2006)

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Wiflredo Benitez

Puerto Rico has more than 40 champions in the sport of Boxing, including the first world champion: Sixto Escobar and the youngest boxer to ever win a world championship: Wilfredo Benitez (1976) he was 17

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Puerto Rico has a larger population  3,978,702 (July 2010 est.)  than Jamaica, Bahamas, Panamá, Costa Rica, Belize, French Guyana, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and has an equal or greater population than 30 of the 50 states of the U.S. It has a greater population than 10 of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada. Given its population, it’s one of the most densely populated islands in the world (roughly the size of the State of Connecticut) According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are now more Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. mainland than in Puerto Rico.

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WKAQ

WKAQ Radio, an AM radio station in San Juan was the second station to broadcast in latin america and the fifth in the world. First air day  December 3, 1922

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Puerto Rico is the country with more radio stations and TV stations per square mile in the world.

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In 1858, Samuel Morse sets up the first telegraph in Latin America, was located in the City of Arroyo.

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The ‘Puerto Rico Trench’ is the deepest point of the Atlantic Ocean and the second deepest in the world

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Rita Moreno, a Puerto Rican actress living in New York City, is the first person in the world to win an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony Award.

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Puerto Rico’s coat of arms is the oldest in Latin America (1511)

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Puerto Rico has  more pharmaceutical companies per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

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Old San Juan is the second oldest city in the Americas

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El Morro is one of the biggest Fortress in the Americas

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The first scientific experiment in the Americas was done in the late 1500’s. An eclipse under the Puerto Rican sky.

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Playa Quique Bravo in Rincón is one of the top beaches in the world for surfing and windsurfing

A Puerto Rican helped in the writing of the Irish constitution when the Irish Free State was established, Dr. Albizu Campos.

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The Puerto Rican flag and the Cuban flag are identical but with inverted colors.

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Famous Puerto Rican baseball players in the Hall of Fame..Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda and Roberto Alomar, Ivan Rodriguez.

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The only place in the world where the option ‘None of the Above’  has won an election was in Puerto Rico, during the 1998 referendum that option got over 50% of the votes.

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Today’s Puerto Rican flag was actually illegal in Puerto Rico during the first decades of the U.S. dominion over the Island.

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There are are more persons of Puerto Rican descent in the Greater New York City area than in Puerto Rico’s capital city San Juan.

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The second largest single-dish radio telescope in the world is located in Puerto Rico almost 20 acres. It’s the only radio telescope that can accurately predict when and where an asteroid might collide with Earth, and was responsible for the first asteroid images in history. (Now destroyed)😫

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The bats sound effects in the Batman Movies were recorded at Las Cuevas de Camuy in Puerto Rico.

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The Coqui frog is native to Puerto Rico and is considered a Puerto Rican Symbol, but recently they have invaded the Hawaiian Islands, where they are considered (ironically) a pest.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Puerto Rican coffee was exported to Europe and still is one of the finest in the world. Today, Puerto Rican coffee is what is served at the Vatican.

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The central town of Jayuya was almost entirely destroyed by air raids when the U.S. Army went there to extinguish the Revolt of 1950, the latest attempt for Puerto Rican Independence.

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The University of Puerto Rico graduates more doctors and medical specialists per capita than does the United States.

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El Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez has approximately 300 engineers working for NASA.

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The hammock and  the cooking  “grill” were first invented and used in Puerto Rico by the Taino Indians. The English words canoe, hammock, barbecue, manatee and hurricane and others also came from Taino Indian words.

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Puerto Rico has 3 of the 5 bio-luminescence in the world.

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The Rio Camuy Cave system in Puerto Rico is the third largest cave system formed by water in the world.

El Yunque (The Caribbean National Forest) is the only tropical rainForest in the U.S. national park system.

The PIÑA COLADA was invented at the San Juan Caribe Hilton Hotel bar in 1963.

Two of the oldest churches in the Americas lie in Old San Juan Built in the 1530s, the Iglesia de San José which is the second oldest church in the western hemisphere, and the Catedral de San Juan.

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Puerto Rico has its own “Galapagos Island.” The Mona Island. 270 species of fish and endangered sea turtles and Iguanas.

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Puerto Rico has more than 270 miles of beaches including 8 beaches that have been listed under the prestigious Blue Flag Programme

San Juan is the second largest cruise port in the Western Hemisphere and one of the busiest commercial ports in the world.

The Island has 239 varieties of plants, 39 types of reptiles and amphibians, and 16 bird species that are endemic only to the area.

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Puerto Rico has more rivers per square mile than any other place in the world

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Almost every town has its own coliseum built for rooster fights. In Puerto Rico, cockfighting is considered to be a ‘gentleman’s sport’ and is legal, unlike other parts of the United States.

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Major General Luis R. Estevez, was the first Hispanic to graduate from West Point (1915).

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Lieutenant Colonel Teófilo Marxuach, (July 28, 1877 – November 8, 1939), was the person who ordered the first shots fired in World War I on behalf of the United States on an armed German supply ship trying to force its way out of the San Juan Bay  on March 21, 1915.

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La Fortaleza it’s the oldest executive mansion in the world (since 1533)

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James Watson, co-discovered of the DNA, and winner of the Novel Price, published that the closest Perfect Human, was a Puerto Rican woman (Taina).

https://liorpachter.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/the-perfect-human-is-puerto-rican/

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The monster in Puerto Rico has been confirmed as the longest zip line cable in the world by Guinness World Records at the Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. The new exciting ride is 7,234 feet long, or 28 football fields, and about 1,200 feet high. Riders can reach speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.

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The Birth of the New World (colloquially known as La Estatua de Colón, literally meaning “The Statue of Columbus”) is a colossal sculpture located on the Atlantic coastline of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. In 2016, it became the tallest statue in the hemisphere, surpassing Mexico’s Guerrero Chimalli (which measures 60 metres including its base).

Puerto Rico is the country with the most churches per square mile in the world