The weekend's opening activity included a hike to the beautiful Pedernales Falls -- in Taino style -- with mayohuacan (log drum) and maracas. The hike to the amazing falls culminated in an opening ceremony and blessing on the rocks between the cascades! Later that day the sun continued to shine down on all who wished for a Taino name, as El Cacike conducted a formal Naming Ceremony in the beautiful Pedernales river.
During the weekend, sports lovers enjoyed playing the 1000 year old ceremonial ballgame of batu', the game that introduced Europeans to the rubber ball. With the seed of an Algarroba tree tied on a string, kids of all ages competed in a traditional game of "Gallitos" -- striking their opponents seeds, to see who would remain with the last unbroken seed. The Cacike treated us to a discussion on traditional Taino foods that brought insight and appreciation to a Taino cooking contest -- Ladies (Guariche) against the Men (Gaumi'). One evening, we enjoyed a special campfire-side workshop by Bohike Majuri' on medicinal plants. Our warriors enjoyed a two-part, hands-on Macana workshop that taught the history of ancient Taino warfare, and how to make and use an authentic Taino Macana, the hardwood war club our Ancestors used to defend our yukayekes (villages) in hand-to-hand combat. Enjoy photos from the earlier Macana building workshop.
In addition to all the fun activities, new Concilio members in Tejas were recognized, and families enjoyed meaningful ceremonies dedicated to our youth, including a celebration of the children (Guayli' Caribo) that treated the kids to a personalized dibujo (drawing) of a Coqui in Bija (achiote). Nothing that weekend could top the a tearfully-sentimental Coming of Age Ceremony (Guaili'-Charo) for 14-year-old Ili-coa.
We enjoyed a weekend full of keepsake memories thanks to Cacike Caciba Opil whose generously shares his mission to rescue and restore Taino heritage with us. For some, it was a beautiful weekend of learning about Taino traditions that are the foundation of Puerto Rico's heritage. For others, the weekend was a reclamation of a lost and personal family heritage.
Tekina-eirú is Taino by blood. She is a Tekina in the Suania -- a Teacher of Taino traditions in the Americas, and a leader of ceremonial dance. She has dedicated her life to transmitting her heritage to the next generation.