3.16.2007

We, The Taíno, are the 1st Americans!

In pre-Colombian America, The Taíno and their cousins spread across the Caribbean basin and the north coast of South America. But now we learn that the northern reaches of The Taíno included the Floridian peninsula (of North America).

In Our first citizens: Florida's earliest residents developed their own societies to match their environments, Joe Crankshaw (TCPalm - 3.6.07), identifies the native peoples that lived on the land which came to be known as Florida, including The Calusa, The Tequesta, The Jeagas, The Hobe and the Ais, and The Caribes and The Taíno.

He says of The Taíno:

The Caribes and Taíno were two tribes from the Caribbean Islands, who made long voyages between the islands in their long canoes. They were skillful navigators, tradesmen and warriors. They were the first of the native peoples met by Columbus in 1492. Some historians believe they settled in South Florida around the Miami River. They traded and raided along the Treasure Coast. In the late 1940s, a Caribe burial of about a dozen individuals was found on Hutchinson Island between Jensen Beach and Fort Pierce.

Haines Brown in A brief history of the Timucua Taíno of Northern Florida makes the case for a much more powerful presence of the Taíno in North America.

For example, he writes that in the first millennium A.D. and probably earlier, much of Florida was occupied by Taíno Arawak-speaking peoples who had migrated up from the Caribbean. Furthermore, Brown claims that even the Timucua people of northern Florida (pre-Seminole Florida) and Georgia were of Taíno heritage.

One thing we know for sure is that the Taíno descended from people that migrated across vast distances across the Americas. Therefore, it is not surprising to learn that The Taíno and related peoples travelled and made their homes across modern day Florida.

We, The Taíno, are the first Americans!