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Thread: arawak/taino descendants: dead or alive?

  1. #1
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    Default arawak/taino descendants: dead or alive?

    I've been researching Dominican culture and history extensively prior to my visit to DR next week, and am still confused as to whether the aboriginal tribes that were inhabiting the island of Hispañiola had any legitiment surivivors. I know this is a tricky subject matter, since it is difficult to trace the lineage via scientific, nor documentional methods, but how would someone trace, or better yet claim heritage to this supposedly extinct culture? What's the verdict: are arawak/taino descendants dead or alive? Are the groups claiming to be arawak/taino descendents legit? I'm sure there may be traces of lineage in everyone inhabiting the island, but to what extent? Is it fair to believe that it is all based on assumption?

  2. #2
    Pib
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    It is the consensus that there are no living direct descendants of the Tainos in this country. Whatever is left of them survived through mixing with the conquistadors and the african slaves who came later.

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    Kay
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    Default DNA typing

    My guess is that eventually someone needing a doctorate project will try DNA typing. I read it is giving some surprizing results. It is getting pretty good for racial mixes. -k

  4. #4
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    go to moca and bonao you'll see some lineage there, if you really want to see how an arawak indian actually looked like take a trip to aruba you'll find many.

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    Default Tainos

    According to a Dominican Republic History book I read, as I assume you know, the Tainos were enslaved by the Spanish Settlers and the vast majority of them died within a few years as the result of abuse,starvation and diseases contracted from exposure to the settlers (smallpox etc.). Apparently, however, about 500 of them escaped into the hills. Over time they would have mixed with the conquistadors and runaway african slaves which arrived later as Pib stated. We are talking about 5 centuries ago so you can imagine what the likelihood of a pure Taino would be today.

    Larry
    Last edited by Larry; 08-16-2003 at 07:35 PM.

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    Pure Tainos are the stuff of legend. The people is Neiba insist that Tainos are still hidden in the Sierra de Neiba. Every noise that they hear in the forrest is explained as coming from the Tainos. But this begs the question: If they're there, why don't they come down for a beer? I haven't seen a conquistador for a while (unless you count German tourists).

    There are plenty of places in the DR where indian bloodlines are evident. In my part of the Cibao, people with indian features are called "china" or "chino" because of their high cheek bones. I've seen lots of people who clearly have indian ancestry, but nobody who is even close to being pure Taino.

    The Puerto Rican groups calling themselves "Tainos" are really just grass roots ethnocentrics. In both Puerto Rico and the DR, there has always been a cultural preference to emphasize the indian ancestry and influence and minimize the african ancestry and influence, even though the african is clearly dominant.

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    Cool Arawaks

    My ill tempered Dominican wife is living proof the Indian heritage is still intact. If I don't shape up she's going to Arawak me!

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    ditz
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    My ill tempered Dominican wife is living proof the Indian heritage is still intact. If I don't shape up she's going to Arawak me!
    Arawaks were peace-loving. Maybe your wife is descended of the Caribs? Any heads or assorted limbs in the fridge, that sort of thing?

    Interesting article about the traces of Taíno still evident today:

    http://www.kacike.org/FerbelEnglish.html

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    Good article Jane J.

    I was told when I was younger in Puerto Rico that the Arawaks were mostly made wxtinct by the Caribs, but I have never seen documentation on this.

    I wonder though whether the prevelance of Taino words and customs in modern Dominican culture is really a significant sign that the Taino bloodline has survived, I can imagine that if blacks or latinos were to dissappear from American culture there would be evidence of their influence in our culture for many centuries, (or permanently more likely) as would be the case with any ethnic subculture.

  10. #10
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    I wonder though whether the prevalence of Taíno words and customs in modern Dominican culture is really a significant sign that the Taíno bloodline has survived.
    I don't know, but it is quite plausible to think the Spanish exaggerated their claim of total annihilation and easier still to imagine pockets of escapees exhisting in hidden communities.

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