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Taino Indians Counted Out Of Existence

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Uploaded on Mar 9, 2010

There are those who self-identify as Taino Indians today and they are making sure that they are counted in the upcoming 2010 census.

The Taínos were the original indigenous people of the Caribbean islands that include Puerto Rico and have long been considered historically extinct.

Christopher Columbus encountered the Taínos during his maiden voyage to the New World and according to history books the natives were eventually exterminated by the Spaniards through slavery, mass killings and disease.

Present day Taínos argue that they were not entirely killed off and that many of them escaped into the mountains and others intermarried with their conquerors and survived.

The Neo-Taínos also claim that during the 1500s the Spanish colonizers did not use a fixed standard for counting people and that the enumerators intentionally reported inaccurate numbers of the Taínos decline to the Queen of Spain in order to get her permission to seek slaves from Africa to be able to continue their work.

A 1798 census was done by the Spanish and they found more than 2000 inidans in San German, it also mentions another group of about the same numbers in Anasco barrio Miraflores contradicting earlier historical documents that claimed their extermination in the 1500s. In 1898 Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States during the Spanish-American War and the islanders were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917.

As the self-identified Taínos organize for the 2010 census they understand its significance. Proof is in the numbers and they feel that the same way that history tried to count them out of existence they will use the census to count themselves back into existence.

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