TAINO INDIANS MAY MAKE LAST STAND AT CEREMONIAL CENTER
- TAINO INDIANS MAY MAKE LAST STAND AT CEREMONIAL CENTER
UTUADO, PUERTO RICO A group of indigenous Taíno Indian community
leaders have been occupying a state run archeological park in
Utuado, Puerto Rico since Sunday. The Taíno are protesting the
desecration and destruction of sacred sites around the island as
well as other violations of their human rights.
After local authorities in Utuado assured the group there would be
no arrests, police may be set to vacate the Caguana Ceremonial
Center as earlier as tomorrow afternoon. The authorities have now
served the leaders with a citation to appear in court tomorrow
morning at 9m. Naniki Reyes Ocasio, a Taíno leader from Orocovis has
stated that they will not vacate the ceremonial grounds, which they
consider sacred. "We are exercising our basic human rights to bring
attention an issue that has been ignored by this and previous
administrations" she said. "We have still not heard anything from
the Governor's office."
Police and park officials have now barred any persons from entering
into the park including press and the group's lawyer. A large crowd
of Taíno descendants and supporters continues to gather outside the
gates while the leaders remain inside the ceremonial grounds.
"We are now going through a process of purification physically and
spiritually" stated Elba Anaca Lugo a Taíno leader who was born in
Utuado. "Seven of us have decided to begin a hunger strike until the
Governor decides to meet with us here."
The group states that the occupation was necessary to bring
attention to the continued violations of indigenous rights on the
island. Past calls for official dialogue have been ignored. The
Taíno are calling for increased local and international pressure on
Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vila to secure a meeting to discuss their
issues formally. Support letters and phone calls to the Governor's
Office are urged as the threat of police action draws closer.
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> TAINO INDIANS MAY MAKE LAST STAND AT CEREMONIAL CENTER
> UTUADO, PUERTO RICO A group of indigenous Taíno Indian community
> leaders have been occupying a state run archeological park in
> Utuado, Puerto Rico since Sunday. The Taíno are protesting the
> desecration and destruction of sacred sites around the island as
> well as other violations of their human rights.