“El Grito de Caguana”

Identity Conflict in Puerto Rico

On July 25, 2005, a small group of “Taino” reclaimed the Caguana Ceremonial Center in Utuado, Puerto Rico, in the name of their ancestors. The protestors demanded, “End the destruction and desecration of our sanctuaries, sacred places, archeological sites, coaibays (cemeteries) and ceremonial centers now!” The Taino had utilized the site for years to celebrate traditional rituals, but due to changes in the center’s policies, were suddenly restricted from using the site during certain hours. For the Taino, this was the final straw in an ongoing and escalating conflict with the site managers, The Institute for Puerto Rican Culture, charged by the Puerto Rican Legislature in 1955 with the task of “conserving, promoting, enriching and disseminating the cultural values of Puerto Rico.” The result was a 17-day occupation and hunger strike that brought to the fore issues regarding Puerto Rican identity that had long lay dormant and unchallenged.

Latinas in Single-Sex Schools

An Historical Overview

In 1493, Christopher Columbus wrote to Queen Isabella of a group of women encountered while sailing in Caribbean waters. He referred to these women as “These are the women who alone inhabit the island of Mateunin (or Matinino). women, moreover, perform no kind of work of their sex, for they use bows and those I have described; they protect themselves with sheets of copper, of which great abundance among them.” The native men were said to avoid these women For it was said that if any approached them outside the agreed upon time , or dared them, they would “defend themselves with well-aimed arrows – believed to be expert eye.” Columbus had learned of these women from the natives, but he had son to believe their stories. There are several historical accounts of attacks on his crew. Fernando Colon writes of one attack in which “the arrow, shot with such dexterity as to pass right through the shield was fired by … a woman.” And account it was reported that these warrior “women so fiercely held off the landing that cannons were fired to frighten them off.” Columbus searched in vain for Matinino with no success. Later, historians would claim that the island never that the story of the Amazon of Matinino was a myth. But then what of the attacks? Several members of Columbus* crew, Colon corroborated the accounts.

Finding Your Passion, Feeding Your Soul

Dear Future Educator,

I’d like to begin this letter with some brutal honesty. Public Education in the United States has come upon very difficult and trying times. Teachers have become scapegoats for a slew of societal ills, from the failing economy to our nation’s political and societal fall from grace in the international arena. Standards and assessment have become the educational buzzwords of the 21st century as they were in the early 20th century during the social efficiency movement, when intelligence tests were used as weapons of social control that effectively annihilated the dreams and aspirations of thousands upon thousands of American school children, particularly newly arrived immigrants. This time, however, the attack is more widely dispersed and it is not just students, but schools, teachers and even the teaching profession that have come under the microscope and been dissected, in order to be “assessed.” In this process many have been found inadequate, failing, or sub-standard. Many loving, caring teachers have lost their jobs as a result; many welcoming community schools have been forced to close their doors. More and more frequently I am finding it difficult as a teacher educator to encourage idealistic young people like yourselves to pursue a field that currently promises little to no creative fulfillment, inadequate spiritual, emotional or financial compensation, and dehumanizing and degrading conditions and treatment.