Intercolonial Migration

Sometimes I can still hear that conga rocking from the corner (i don't hear it as often anymore now), the smell of diesel fuel cusping with burnt rubber and grilled meats beyond the firehouse. I can hear the slapping skin on wood on skin and weight shifting on ready to break milk crates. Dominoes tap dancing and sliding on the polycarbonate covered table. I used to think the music stopped because age finally got to the old men who played; but the fate that met the old men and congas that sat every weekend is far worse than age or time could’ve destroyed. Gentrification. They call it. It’s the newest form of war produced by the gringo but what’s the same method with a new name but a remix of the same song and dance we’ve been hearing since they so forcibly welcomed themselves into our homes in 1492. Or 1466 if you count the endless invasions of Africa by the Portuguese who, in turn, seeing what was accomplished on the East Coast of Africa, capitalized on an art of war produced, and perfected (and still continued to this day) by Muslims from the Middle East some six centuries prior - but let’s not tap at that just yet.

Gentrification then; gentrification now. 

Along with the physical presence of the European in the Taino ancestral homeland came a series of assaults that included but were not limited to a biological, spiritual, and affronts that altered not only the first generations to meet the European, but every generation immediately afterwards would inherit the trauma, genetic traits, and even the psyche of the newly created caste of people known as mestizo would be curbed and eventually brought to the heel of white supremacy. The European apart from the body of, sought out to destroy the actual home of the Taino - tearing down the trees and digging into the earth, erecting the most gruesome abodes, scarring the islands’ flesh in a manner not seen by the Taino. 

If not assimilated, the Taino would face extinction brought on by disease, or be exiled within their home, creating communities of survivors in the cordilleras, sometimes later even joined by escaped slaves, that would spend generations physically and socially avoiding relationships with the European. The newer lifestyles imposed through the use of violence, genocide, and spiritual warfare, by the invaders, ironically under the guise of Christian charity, divine kindness, and salvation from eternal damnation, and the spread of European civility brought challenges that the Taino were, in some cases, ill equipped to defend themselves from the multidimensional onslaught; both then and today. 


The invaders would also later have the living descendants of the people from the Caribbean - the first victims of the European invasion - believe through a false narrative that the original inhabitants of the island were firmly, effectively, virtually, eradicated and are not, and can not be considered part of our ancestral group. History, and even recent genetic findings, refute the ill conceived narrative, and asserts the contrary because even according to the journals and diaries and letters of the first invaders to visit the Caribbean: even they testify that, even though the majority of the Taino who died at the hands of a European were in fact men, the Taino women who survived the intergenerational warfare, were baptized under a Christian name and (obviously) forced to marry a European. 

Whether or not children were produced from each illicit matrimony is subject to debate or scrutiny, however, as stated, with respect to genetic science; the overwhelming prevalence of mitochondrial DNA (maternal genetic material that passes through every generation via genetic inheritance with little mutation) in relation to the evidence of virtually little to no paternal/male TaĆ­no DNA existing in living Puerto Ricans creates, in itself, a most peculiar narrative. There’s a similar parallel in today’s society; when the lifestyle promoted and imposed by the invaders is becoming a burden to great for the (now, many generations of) displaced - so called - Native Americans and Africans.