The Taíno Indians
When Christopher Columbus stumbled upon Puerto Rico in 1493, it was populated by dozens of indian tribes composed of several thousand Taíno Indians. The Taínos were a subgroup of the Arawakan Indians from northeastern South America. The head chief of the Taíno tribe was known as the "Cacique". The Taínos were friendly and peaceful Indians who were farmers and fishermen. They called their island paradise "Borikén". Their written language was in the form of petroglyphs which were symbols carved in stone. They spoke Arawakan.
Christopher Columbus wrote in his journal that Taínos had beautiful, tall, slender bodies. Their color was dark or olive, and they wore short haircuts with a long hank at the back of the head. They were clean-shaven and hairless. According to Columbus, the Taíno tongue was "gentle, the sweetest in the world, always with a laugh."
My Interpretation of Taino Art
The Taíno Indians selected flat stones on which they engraved intricate patterns and other geometric shapes. I enjoy bringing these petroglyphs or rock engravings to life with oil based pastel colors. It takes me on a spiritual journey to my ancestors and reminds me I am Puerto Rican, I am Spaniard, Taíno Indian and of African descent. I am the result of the rythym of the tambores, La Plena, our dance from the Barrio of San Anton de Ponce, the savory mixtures of latin spices in my mother’s Arroz con Gandules. From a Taína to a Boricua, all this beautiful history of Borikén, Puerto Rico, lives within me.
For more information on the Taino Indian Tribe and their history please see the following link: