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  1. #1
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    Default Any Taino experts here ?

    There's a controversy going on with the word "Taino" , some people are suggesting that it's not really a native word and that it came from Italy since there's a town there called Taino. The term was first was used by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque to identify the Indigenous of Hispañola and other Caribbean Islands. Can any one prove this word " taino" is what the natives called themselves ?

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    You should contact Baracutey, he's definitely the expert on all things Taino.

    I would not be surprised if the Spanish misinterpreted the Tainos and thought that is what they called themselves. There are plenty of examples of Spanish misinterpretation that became mainstream. For example, one of the Taino names for the island was Haití, but today we know that Bartolomé de las Casas confused the name the Tainos had for a small area near the bahía de Samaná and applied it to the whole island. Today the original Haití is known as Los Haitíses (Haitíses is the pural form of Haití, which in the Taino language means highlands or mountainous lands). This confusion became mainstream, that Haití's founding fathers chose that name for their country, in honor of the suppose name the Taino had for the island.

    There are other controversies surrounding other Taino names for the island, such as Quisqueya, Babeque, Bohío (this word is also used for hut) and a few others.

    And even names of entire regions were confused. Today the Cibao refers to the valley because that's how the Spanish interpreted the Taino name for said valley, but in reality Cibao was the Taino name for the cordillera Central.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NALs View Post
    And even names of entire regions were confused. Today the Cibao refers to the valley because that's how the Spanish interpreted the Taino name for said valley, but in reality Cibao was the Taino name for the cordillera Central.
    According to Rough Guide, the name “Cibao” struck a cord in Columbus’ ear, because it sounded like “Cipango”, then the European name for Japan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NALs View Post
    You should contact Baracutey, he's definitely the expert on all things Taino.

    I would not be surprised if the Spanish misinterpreted the Tainos and thought that is what they called themselves. There are plenty of examples of Spanish misinterpretation that became mainstream. For example, one of the Taino names for the island was Haití, but today we know that Bartolomé de las Casas confused the name the Tainos had for a small area near the bahía de Samaná and applied it to the whole island. Today the original Haití is known as Los Haitíses (Haitíses is the pural form of Haití, which in the Taino language means highlands or mountainous lands). This confusion became mainstream, that Haití's founding fathers chose that name for their country, in honor of the suppose name the Taino had for the island.
    I would not be surprised either, but I had never heard that the name Taino itself was subject to any doubt or controversy (I had heard about some of the others you mention).

    Taino is listed in dictionaries as a word of Arahuac origin. The Tainos hailed from South America (today's Venezuela) where there are still today native communities related to them, who may speak a similar language. So, that may provide a way for linguists to do some research on that matter.

    As for the other words, I only wonder if there is controversy on their meaning, WHOM to believe? Why are some people so sure that Cibao, Haiti, etc were misinterpreted (as opposed to these people making the misinterpretation)? After all, the people known today as Tainos did not have written language, and were brutally exterminated centuries ago...and so was their language...so that makes the various theories about word meaning hard to verify...again, whom to believe?
    Last edited by Dominicaus; 10-23-2012 at 02:05 AM.

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    What's the correct pronunciation for Taino?

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    Here is a commentary by Peter Mora from a facebook group of which I am a member:

    Sample from my book on Tainos from my introduction not yet published:
    Relating to the history of the Antilles, the name/title Taino applied to all island natives including those in the Lesser Antilles, locally the Tainos referred to themselves by the name of their location. In page 15 of Taino Pre-Columbian Art and Culture from the Caribbean it says “The earliest evidence for people in the Caribbean dates to around 4000 B.C. and comes from sites in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Taino Culture and its people reached its highest development in Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and eastern Cuba [p.45]. Arroyo writes in the Cave of the Jagua (p.xlii) “The name Taino has been used sometimes in archaeology in reference to artifacts produced at a particular time of cultural development of these Native Americans. Taino is a derivative of Nitaino (tracing the origin of the word)… *An+ adjective that the Tainos used to distinguish themselves from the Cariban people.” The Tainos who lived in the Caribbean are subdivided into three main groups: 1st Classic Taino, from Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, 2nd Western Taino or sub-Taino from Jamaica and Cuba, and 3rd the Bahamian archipelago and eastern Taino from the Virgin islands to Montserrat. Taino society was divided into two classes, the first being Naborias (commoner/Osirian cycle), and the second Nitainos (nobles/Horian cycle).
    The average reader finds it difficult to become familiar with the individual peculiarities of these gods because the necessary illustrations are usually found in numerous scattered numbers of professional magazines, in museum collections, or in odd, unclassified volumes…”
    Eugenio further reveals in his book that “According to Loven, the very oldest primitive hunting and fishing peoples of the Antilles were not from South America but were of North American origin. At the time of the Discovery, a remnant of these people, the Guanahatabeyes still existed in the extreme western part of Cuba (p.17).”
    Arroyo elaborates further in page 26 of the Cave of the Jagua “There is some dispute over the cultural identity of these first inhabitants, where they came from and when they got there- certainly by 2100B.C., and possibly as early as 5000 B.C. - but there can be no doubt that the Tainos displaced their earlier population of the Caribbean islands. It is likely that the Tainos both warred on these more simple peoples, sometimes called Archaic Indians, and also intermarried with them. By the time of the Spanish arrival, the survivors of these original peoples, who had little or no ceramic tradition, were found only in western Cuba and possibly in neglected areas of the other island where they lived in small isolated villages.”
    The term Arawak was unknown to the early European explorers of the Antilles. Referring the Tainos as part of the Arawak family of South America, in the field of archeology as this came much later, based culturally on the artifacts and myths the Taino ancestors left behind. This was started by Daniel G. Brinton [Rouse 1992, p.5] in 1871 and his followers. Calling the Tainos Island Arawak and then later shortened to the phrase Arawak. According to Rouse this was a mistake.
    Irving Rouse defines the Tainos as “The ethnic group that inhabited the Bahamian Archipelago, most of the Antilles, and the Northern part of the Lesser Antilles prior to and during the time of Christopher Columbus.”

    As the term Arawak has been, and still is mistakenly used to denote the indigenous tribes of the Antilles and what became known of the Taino were all of these various tribes that gave rise to them. Loven Sven wrote in chapter one of his book Origins of the Tainan Culture, that the Tainos were more advanced than the Arawak tribes of South America; and that the Natives of North America were more culturally advanced than the tribes from South America. And in page 22 of his book he writes “It is only in recent times that
    Harrington has concluded to identify things found in certain Cuban caves, as originating from a primitive race of fishers being of North American origin.”

    Jesse Walter Fewkes wrote in the Aborigines of Porto Rico page 215 “Moreover, it is evident that when man came to Porto Rico he had advanced in knowledge of navigation that [they were] no longer in a primitive condition, but possessed culture sufficiently developed to make long voyages in seaworthy canoes, to fashion polished implements, and was otherwise well advanced in technical arts.”

    Thus the Arawaks and Tainos, and the theory of its migrants coming up from the Lesser Antilles is a contradiction, because the ancestors of the Tainos immigrated in waves as shown by Loven and others; that the people and culture didn’t just come from South America alone, but parts of Florida and the Yucatan as well. Froelich G. Rainey wrote (p.180) “It is probable that the late Shell Culture found throughout the Greater Antilles can be associated with the Arawak stock, but there is no definite proof of such a conclusion.”With Loven writing that they may well have started either from North America or South America (p.24), while keeping in mind that they are all connected. Froelich G. Rainey added that these conclusions, to a large extent, support Fewkes’ belief in a South American source for all Antillean cultures, but do not exclude the possibility of a movement from North America to the Antilles (p.181). As the terms Arawak and Taino have been used interchangeably.
    “The Arawaks were the ethnic group that lived in the Northern part of the Guianas, which formerly extended on the high land around the Orinoco delta.”
    In the Earliest Inhabitants page 2 “Rouse writes that the term Arawak does not appear in the literature until the exploration of the Guianas that began in the late 1500s, almost a century after the arrival of Columbus in the New World.”
    (Rouse 1992, page 173 –see the Earliest Inhabitants by Lesley Gail Atkinson)

    In his book The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the people who greeted Columbus [p.25], Irving Rouse wrote “These events must have happened some
    time ago, for the Tainos did not recollect having come from the mainland; they
    believed that they had emerged from caves in Hispaniola.”

  10. #8
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    Here is a link to Taino studies: The Tainos: Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink

    There are works by Jorge Estevez (Dominican) and Dr. Lynne Guittar (PUCMM) who are both personal friends of mine.

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    Jorge Estevez is also Baracutay in this forum. That's why I suggested to contact him.

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    The Dominican Studies Institute at City College in NYC recently had a forum on this topic. Frank Moya Pons has some interesting things to say on the subject.

    The City College of New York

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