The National Puerto Rican Museum Presents ¡Taíno Vive! Caribbean Indigenous Resistance

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By La Voz Staff

On Saturday, January 6th, Three Kings Day, The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (NMPRAC) opened ¡Taíno Vive! Caribbean Indigenous Resistance, an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian Institute (SITES) in collaboration with the Field Museum of Chicago and the Concilio Taíno Guatu Ma Cu-a Borikén.

This exhibition tells the story of the Caribbean from the perspective of Indigenous survival and resistance. It is dedicated to affirming Taíno life and valuing Indigenous knowledge for the people of the Caribbean and beyond.

During the opening, Verónica Ocasio, Director of Education and Programming, said, “Taíno Vive stands not just as an exhibit but as a concerted effort to reclaim our history, identity, and culture while preserving and promoting our rich oral histories and traditions. Central to this effort is education. Who tells our story, how it’s presented, where it’s shared, and who has access to it are all critical questions that shape our understanding of who we are as a people.”

¡Taíno Vive! aims to educate visitors on the colonial narratives that have historically erased and omitted our incredible contributions from the pages of history. The exhibit’s title harnesses its essence: ¡Taíno Vive! Caribbean Indigenous Resistance. As laws are enacted in this country to censor the history of our people, the LGBTQ+ community, people of color,
and indigenous communities, there is no better time than the present to educate oneself.

Almost 500 visitors attended the opening weekend celebration, including Congresswoman Delia Ramírez, Senator Omar Aquino, State Representative Lilian Jiménez, Alderperson Jessie Fuentes, and Judge Jesse G. Reyes. Maraliz Salgado opened the exhibit with a Taíno blessing that incorporated a land acknowledgment honoring the indigenous people of Illinois and our Taíno ancestors.

The exhibition includes 20 educational panels curated by the Smithsonian, 21 Taíno
artifacts on loan from the Field Museum, as well as traditional Taíno attire, jewelry, objects,
and instruments on loan from Concilio Taíno Guatu Ma Cu-a Borikén of Puerto Rico. Jesse
and Maria Sanchez, Puerto Rican contractors, constructed a life-size Bohío to add an immersive experience to the exhibition. All visitors can create Taíno inspired works of art, watch a short video, read books, or play the güiro, claves, or maracas. NMPRAC proudly commissioned artist Cristian Roldán to create a Taíno-inspired mural to adorn the stairwell leading up to the exhibit; it is visually captivating and sets the tone for the exhibit.

You can visit NMPRAC Tuesday – Friday from 10 am – 5 pm and Saturday from 10 am – 2 pm. This exhibit runs through June 16, 2024. To schedule a private tour or field trip, please visit our website at nmprac.org