Resource Page: Caribbean Indigeneity

What is Caribbean Indigeneity? I considered classifying this project as Pre-Columbian Indigenous Caribbean Peoples but seemed too restrictive. It also perpetuates the notion that these Indigenous peoples live strictly in the past. I thought it’d be more interesting and a fuller picture if I gathered a wider perspective on what Caribbean Indigeneity or Indigeneity in the Caribbean might mean in different contexts. Shona Jackson’s groundbreaking text Creole Indigeneity: Between Myth and Nation is on a topic that is not my central interest but certainly deeply related. Jackson looks at the treatment of indigeneity as a category of belonging and to how the those referred to as “Amerindians” in Guyana are dispossessed in postcolonial nationhood. (I include a couple sources about Guyana specifically below.) But what Jackson also compels me to consider is the ways in which Indigeneity is a contested identity in the Caribbean and the histories of migration, diaspora, dispossession that have occurred there for hundreds of years provoke. Another perspective is present in the recent collection on the work of Sylvia Wynter, Being Human as Praxis, authors take up the question of whether African-descended peoples can be considered “Native” to the Caribbean while considering marronage to processes of “indigenization.” With this plurality of views in mind, this resource page then is an attempt to trace the contours of several ongoing discussions and identity formations around the Indigenous Caribbean.

taino name map

Map

  • Taino Names of the Caribbean Islands Map: I first saw this map being circulated on Facebook as a shared photo. I shared it on my wall and a couple of friends shared it from me. When I did a google search for the image I found it came from this wordpress site, Decolonial Atlas. There is a lot of interesting conversation happening in the comments and some in Spanish that I can’t fully translate.

Social Networks

  • Indigenous Caribbean Network: A strange mix of constantly updated and seemingly dated. The interface evokes an early age of the internet, but only five or ten years ago. It reminded me of Myspace at first, with the banner of member photos on the side bar. Unlike a lot of message board sites I’ve seen recently (that exist outside platforms like Reddit) this one was very active with posts occurring every few hours. The site is described as “A network for Indigenous Caribbean people interested in discussing our culture/society: past, present and future.”
  • Indigenous Caribbean Tumblr: The personal blog of someone named Keyla who posts blogs about a wide range of Indigenous issues spanning the geography of North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Tribal Webpages

  • Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Guyana: “This website has been established to inform the public about the work of the Ministry on issues affecting Guyanese, especially indigenous peoples, and to provide another useful communication route. It has also been established to provide information about our beautiful country and links to online resources that you may find useful.” The website is very reminiscent of government websites I am familiar with in the Unites States.
  • Tribal Government of the Jatibonicu Taino People of Puerto Rico:  This website has a very dated appearance but was last updated in July of 2015 (when viewed in November of 2015). It contains informational pages about the Jatibonicu Taino peoplesand links to tribal documents, all of which is presented in comic sans font and with animated graphics. It’s interesting to see the use of the term “Native American” in different points on this website and to consider the relationship between the Taino people with America vis a vis the territory of Puerto Rico.
  • United Confederation of Taino People

Articles

  • I am Taíno: Exploring the Indigenous Roots Throughout the Caribbean published by Indian Country Today Media Network, one of it not the largest online news sites covering global Indigenous news. The primary interlocutor for this article is a Taino/Puerto Rican man born and raised in Brooklyn. The article explores efforts in Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and diasporic locations in North America to increase research, information, and community organization around Caribbean Indigenous identity and heritage.

Resource Pages

  • The Indigenous Caribbean Center (ICC) is hosted on the ubiquitous WordPress blog platform but it’s not so much a blog as a database of information on different Indigenous groups in the Caribbean. The site was previously the Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink which started in 1998. Archived pages from the Centrelink website can be accessed on the “About” tab of the ICC. Contributors to the site are almost all academics and are based in a range of geographical locations from Canada, the Unites States, Trinidad, the Dominican Republic, and France.
    • https://indigenouscaribbean.wordpress.com/directory/ This is a golden egg of research: an entire webpage with links “to pages that list sites that are BY or ABOUT Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean, organized by country, not hosted on the ICC.” It’s basically a resource page of resource pages and contains a wide range of information spanning different Caribbean nations.
    • The site also contains other specified sub-directories such as this one on the Arts with links to visual art, poetry, and music sites. Some of the links are outdated and lead to dead ends but many are still active. Many of the sites are personal websites of artists.
    • Also impressive is the online journal, Issues in Indigenous Caribbean Studies, which appears to be the work of the website’s contributors and is hosted on the website.
  • Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean Category Page on Wikipedia: This category page is robust with links to many different Wikipedia articles on specific Pre-Columbian Indigenous peoples
  • Indian Tribes and Languages of the Caribbean: A detailed linguistic index of eight different languages of the Arawak, Island Carib, Caquetio, Shebayo, Taino, Carib, Garifuna, and Inyeri tribes. Also lists a short bibliography of recommended books about Indigenous Caribbean tribes and languages.

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