Dr. Tekina-eirú Maynard

Taina moin daca, nichi,bi,naniki ah!
Soy Taina, sangre, corazon, vida, y espiritu!

The Journey Back...A Lifetime Journey

Dr. Tekina-eirú Maynard is a proud blood descendant of the Tainos of Boriken (Puerto Rico). Her Amerindian Mitochondrial DNA identifying her as Taina from Boriken (Haplogroup A-1) was "confirmed" by Juan Carlos Martinez Cruzado, Professor of Genetics at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in 2008, and further identified that her family's Boriken origins were of the ancient peoples that predated the Tainos, the Arcaicos (The Ancient Ones). The DNA results were of no great surprise to her Mom, who wondered what was the question (see photo of her Taina grandmother below).

In 2006, Tekina-eirú began a project with Cacike Cacibaopil Veguilla of Concilio Taino Guatu Ma-Cu in Boriken for her Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRFDance) that would forever change her life, intensive research to build a solid foundation for a "Taino Project" that PRFDance would execute in 2008. For her, this project was a lifetime dream to learn more about her own family ancestry she thought was forever lost.

In February 2007, she journeyed to Puerto Rico to begin her education with the Cacike and his people in what she thought would be a study of Taino petroglyphs and ancient artifacts. When they begin to sing in Taino, she experienced an "awakening," the opening of a door that could never be closed again. She finally had the words to express what her heart already knew.

In March 2007, she danced in her first Areyto where she received her Taina name Tekina-eirú (maestra dulce/sweet teacher), an "efecto de Dios" (from God) Martin explained. Her name was later consecrated in a beautiful Naming Ceremony in March 2008 in the mountains of San Lorenzo where her Taina grandmother was born.

Photo of Abuelita, circa 1938.
Barrio Quemados de San Lorenzo

Of the many gifts Tekina-eirú has inherited from her Taino Ancestors -- the one that has meant the most in her life -- is the deep Taino spirituality that is present in every aspect of life. With that she rediscovered the same deep connection she has always felt to Semign (God), a visibly-active and constant presence in her life. In the years to come, she would awaken in a profound way to a deep connection to Ataabey (La Madre Tierra).

Tekina-eiru was very blessed to have been trained for 15 years in ancestral Taino traditions through oral teachings and life experiences with Cacike Cacibaopil. In 2008 Tekina-eiru began returning to Boriken annually, sometimes multiple trips in a year. That set the stage for the growing presence of education, culture, and community of Tainos in Texas under Tekina-eirú's advocacy and leadership. Through her work, a reviving of Taino consciousness is underway; many have awoken and are embracing their Taino heritage beyond the educational.

Tekina-eirú was consecrated an Elder (Naguety) in 2011 and continued growing the Taino mission in Texas that had been ongoing at her cultural center since 2008. On Sunday, February 5, 2023, her great mentor, Cacike Cacibaopil, joined the Ancestors in Soraya. She will be forever grateful to this lion of Taino heritage who changed the course of her life.

Today Tekina-eirú continues the mission of her Taino lineage by dedicating her life to serving her community, and preserving and handing down Puerto Rico's cultural traditions to the next generation, through her nonprofit Puerto Rican cultural center (founded 1997). In March 2009, Dr. Maynard received an AREITO AWARD FOR DANCE AND THEATRE from the Taino community in recognition of outstanding achievement at a ceremony at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City. But her mission goes beyond the preservation and teaching of Puerto Rico's cultural arts traditions.

Tekina-eirú is the Spiritual Leader of -- Yara Taino & Guaytiao -- the cultural center's active, spiritually-minded indigenous community who celebrate living traditions and share how we live in relationship with Nature everyday! She is a consecrated Naguety (Elder) and a Tekina -- a Teacher of Taino traditions and writer of ceremonial music and dance.

Enjoy these photos of her ongoing lifetime journey, including a visit to the forest preserve, El Bosque del Charco Azul, in the mountains of Cayey!

The Journey Back...

"You are 100% descendant of all your ancestors.
Learn all you can, become who you are."

                                                -- John Two Hawks (Native American Lakota)

See more of our
Taino Project - The Journey Back to our Primera Raiz

We hold the banner high for Puerto Rico everyday!
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For more information:
Dr. Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Cultural Center Address: 701 Tillery Street #13, Austin TX 78702-3738 (Map & Directions)
Mailing Address: 15228 Quiet Pond Court, Austin TX 78728-4555
Phone: +1.512.251.8122      Email: dance@prfdance.org          Web: www.prfdance.org      Facebook: www.facebook.com/prfdance
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