Founding Director of the Latinx Project and Professor of Anthropology and Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, Dr. Arlene Dávila provides in “Local/Diasporic Tainos” a discussion of the diverse objectives and goals for which Taino-ness has been deployed. Dávila argues that the “debate over Taino is not only about the content and nature of this identity, but rather about issues of cultural authority and the role of cultural memory in the very redefinition of Puerto Rican-ness both on the island and in the diaspora (35-6).”
Dávila describes the historical transformation of the Tainos from a recognized group and a living population into a symbol of national assertion to be revived, romanticized, and manipulated.
In the comment section down below, write a 225-word response based on ONE of the following prompts (due on 3/1 before class):
Elaborate on the ways cultural policy in Puerto Rico constructed the Taino heritage as an “equal” foundational element of Puerto Rican culture. How the Taino identity was used as a “racial buffer” and a basis of racial integration despite the ongoing reality of racial discrimination directed at Afro-descendants on the island? (Pages 36-39)
How the Taino image has been interpreted politically by different groups? (37-40)
Discuss how in the United States, interest in the Taino has not been limited to its use as a symbol of national assertion (Puerto Rican-ness) but also as an organized movement of ethnic revival and indigenous advocacy. (Pages 40-43)