When they first contacted her, she turned down the award -- she did not want to be rewarded for continuing the ancient tradition of her family, the serving of her community. After insistence by the award committee, she accepted it so that the children could feel proud of their cultural heritage, and all her cultural center could be recognized for the contribution they are making in the community.
Since prior commitments would prevent her from accepting the award in
person, PRFDance Youth and Youth Dance Teacher dressed in Taino attuendo
(native dress) and appeared with Tekina-eirú in the filming of a short a
acceptance speech which was played during the awards
ceremony at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City on March 28th 2009.
Enjoy the award announcement, acceptance speech, and a sampling of
the congratulatory notes below.
Through personal example these Taino have inspired through music, art, dance, education, wisdom, spirituality and language. They are responsible for re awakening many people and touching many hearts. Through their sacrifice, hard work, dedication, love, and an undying strength, they have demonstrated what it is to be Taino. These warriors have improved our community in their many different ways and continue to advance our community on a daily basis. These nominees have shown outstanding leadership and have met the criteria of loyalty, support and dedication. They have outdone themselves in the community, and for this we honor them.
This is Dr. Ana Maria Tekina-eirú Maynard, Founding Director of the Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance & Cultural Center, and Tekina in Texas for El Concilio Taino Guatu-ma-cu A Boriken.
On behalf of my entire cultural center and the beautiful children with me today, I thank you for this Areyto Award in Dance & Theatre in recognition of the contribution we are making in Taino Community. As you know, when you originally contacted me, I turned down this award. I have dedicated my life to bringing cultural awareness to my community through education and performances in traditional music and dance, as well as off-stage celebrations of our cultural traditions. This I do as a volunteer, for my people and for God. In the end, I accepted the award for these children, so that they can feel pride in their cultural heritage. This is the only reward I need.
Thank you once again for this recognition that I share with everyone at our cultural center. From teachers to staff and my family, we are all volunteering our time and contributing together. As for me, I stand before you, the great-great-great-great granddaughter of the Taino Bujuti Macu-a -- in awe that I have been given the chance to continue the mission of my family -- answering a call I have heard since I was a child -- to serve my people.
The children with me today are standing proud in their heritage because they want to tell everyone in NY that...
[Children shouting with joy]: "We, the Tainos, are still here!"
Yes, that We, the Tainos are here, in the State of Texas.
I have to tell you that the screening of your acceptance speech in
behalf of the children with which you work was beautiful and inspiring and
everybody in the hall was taken aback. There was a wonderful shout of
approval and encouragement from all the attendees in the place when your
kids at the end made that loud final statement of resolution and conviction.
Yaya Bless you sister
Miguel Sobaoko Koromo sague