Our Celebrando 2008 project brought The Concilio Taino Guatu-Ma-Cu A Boriken to Austin so that our community could come to know, for the very first time authentic traditions of our Taino Heritage. For many, this participation of real-life traditions -- native dance, music, ceremony, and the learning of history and craftsmanship -- was a life changing experience that brought to us that which has always resounded in our soul. This project awoke a Taino consciousness in the Central Texas area, especially among parents and children of Taino descent who embraced these traditions with more enthusiasm than we ever could have imagined. Today, many continue to live their Taino heritage beyond the educational. Thanks to this project, we will never be the same. This project was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, Texas Commission on the Arts, and Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.
For PRFDance Director, proud blood Taino descendant Ana Mari-á Tekina-eirú Maynard, the project began almost two years earlier as all Celebrando projects begin, with intensive research investigation to build a solid foundation for the project to come. Under the tutoring of the Concilio's Cacike Caciba Opil Veguilla, research that began in the study of ancient petroglyphs and history to teach her more about her own family ancestry, became the opening of a door to her own lost heritage that can never be closed again. Enjoy these photos from when the project began, our Journey Back to our Primera Raiz...the Beginning (2007).
After almost two years of ongoing teaching of our PRFDance Director, El Concilio Taino's key leaders came to Austin in 2008 to personally teach our performing company, teachers -- and our cultural center families -- about Taino culture and history. On April 3-8, 2008, our cultural center was excited to host the Cacike and his people for Phase 1 of our Celebrando Project. The Concilio taught a variety of important Taino traditions, including native percussion and dance, songs in Taino, how to make maracas, our own jewelry, and paint our native dress. We even learned how to play the ancient Taino ballgame of Batu! But the most beautiful experience was a sacred ceremony to consecrate our ceremonial Mayohuacan (native drum), held in a beautiful forest in McKinney State Park, where our people danced in their very first Areyto! Enjoy these photos from the Mayohuacan ceremony, La Ceremonia Consagrando El Mayohuacan.
On June 15-22, 2008 The Concilio Taino returned to Austin for Phase 2 of the Celebrando project. Cacike Caciba Opil held a Naming Ceremony at the beautiful McKinney Falls for 20 of our own who wanted to embrace our Taino heritage by taking on a Taino name. Enjoy these photos from the naming ceremony, La Ceremonia de Nombres en Austin.
Our Celebrando project culiminated on June 21-22, 2008, with an amazing Celebrando Performance for our Community. During this trip El Concilio built on the knowledge we had gained in April, and joined us for a joint live music and dance performance which would give our community a first-exposure to our native music and dance and scenes of life depicting Ancestral traditions before colonial contact.