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In conclusion: Haitians & Tainos are as ONE.

If you are Haitian, you should know that


Voudou ties us to our Taino roots and African roots. It is both Taino & Fon. In our
ethnic language, which is Haitian Creoole (keep in mind that other Islands that
speak a similar language to Haiti reference themselves as Creole whilst saying
"mwen pale patois."). We have more words than in French even when they tried to
shackle us. We survived through the occupation of the U.S. We are still here even
with our own people constant stigma of Voudou. We are Tainos. Tainos with an
African origin as other Aborigines in this world! Yes, I am acknowledging enslaved
Africans coming to the Americas, but I am also saying we were already here too.

The Haitian author Baron Emile Nau who published the Histoire des Caciques
dHaiti in 1894, Ms. Maya Deren in the 1940s who introduced questions on the
Tano heritage in Vodou after the seminal archeological works Edouard Mangones
and Louis Maximilien on Tano artifacts and Jeannot Hilaire, in the domain of
linguistics. Not one Haitian archeologist works on this heritage today.

This neglect is tragic since the Haitian people is a composite one, a gumbo,
blending many heritages, combined in the struggle against oppression throughout
centuries. Many elements of African, European or Indigenous ascent only survived
because they were meaningful to all the ethnic groups present on the land.

Assuredly, the politics of dividing to conquer has played an important role in


restricting our knowledge of the past. While the ruling classes of the Dominican
Republic have done all they could to conceal their African ancestry, those of Haiti
have historically held an ambiguous position on all elements of indigenous or
African past, according to the political orientations of the regimes.

Presently, current trends of Caribbean archeology are bent upon the use of leading
edge technology to reveal genetic evidence of indigenous survivals. The founders of
modern anthropology, particularly Dr. Boas, would certainly cringe at this often
crude linking of race and culture.

II. A fundamental relationship continues to exist with our indigenous past, as


strong, substantially, as its potential projections. Indeed, all temples of traditional
religion, Vodou are our existing real Haitian museums. It is the duty and the honor of
traditional Haitian to gather all traces of our momentous past and render them
homage. So, although national and especially international looters have
scandalously pillaged the Haitian subsoil since decades and even centuries, many
artifacts and traditions remain, secretively conserved in the Vodou altars which are
the true repositories of our history.

Splendid stonework, ceramics, beads and shell work. Astonishing are some objects
from the North-West particularly, large stone spheres and caterpillar-formed objects.
More common are the ritually used axe heads and amulets, the former used for
healing sessions and the latter as protectors.

VIII. The Bwa Kayiman is where Haitian Vodoun conglomerated, leading to the
unprecedented revolutionary wars of the first successful slave revolution, in a place
that was an indigenous hiding spot in the North. Caman is a Tano term, signifying
the crocodile, the Crocodile Woods. In this place, representatives of different
origin met to declare liberty or death. Accounts tell that the place was dedicated
by a flower bouquet, which was actually flat cactus, and which the people of there
and abouts recognized the symbol.

KOW!

With this onomatopoeia, accompanied of conch blowing and whistling, begin the
Haitian Bizango (secret society) ceremonies, initiating their highly clandestine
weekly nocturnal rituals.

The past Emperor Ferdinand of a renowned Society in the region of St Marc (center
of Haiti) narrated thus the origins of secret societies in Haiti, dating back to the
Hispanic confrontations with the First People:

At this time, the island of Haiti was headed by four Kasi Makal (Caciques). They
were the kings of Traditional Indian Societies, at the time of the Spanish conquest.
The Caciques, upon understanding what was happening to their society, assembled
and resolved to fight the Spaniards, developing strategies and tactics. Just as all
seemed to be taking shape, attacks and blows successful, a series of defeats
ensued. The Kasi Makala realized that there was a leak in their internal information.
This caused them great prejudice as resistance warfare cannot handle having
breaches and as such they met all together again in great secret and decided to
find the leak. That is how they found out that it was one of the daughters of a Kasi
Makala that had been indiscrete, and her sentence was execution. This is where
there the name San fanmi without family was born: Bizango-Sanfanmi. This is
to state their matters as in Warfare: -we do not belong to family, mother, brother,
sister no family at all, we take care of one issue which is Community under
Aggression. That is why Bizango war stands as a community affair, rejecting
common or simple family matter in favor of community defense.

So actually, paradoxically, that which is so often considered the most ancient of


vodoun, the Fon-Dahomey basis, appears to be a more recent component. The
encounter of Tano with the Senegambian enslaved occurred earlier, dating back to
the 1500s and explains the construction of the strong Haitian culture, the Creole
language and, above all, the Haitian revolution.

Ceramic evidence from the North confirms the mixing of indigenous and African
earthenware. Linguistic evidence reveals how present-day Creole evolved from a
first Spanish influenced Creole. Historical material poorly known to the Haitian non
Spanish speaker - reveals this too.

But the most intriguing and compelling testimony lays in present day devotions as
well as the analysis of the Haitian defensive systems construction.

Indeed, all is built around: our grottos.

Haiti being of karstic terrain, 70% is cave friendly. From the North to South, East and
West. Those enslaved, whether indigenous or deported from Africa, fled to the
mountains. Although relatively unknown to the Tano, who had much more cultural
resemblance in horizontal than in vertical terms (Jamaica with the south of Haiti,
Dominican Republic Vega Real with the North), they were mastered and became
the basis of the Haitian nation.

The knowledge of the woods, of the territory, was landed through centuries of
arduous maroon struggle, that are now held in respect, for example, by the placing
of broken shackles on vodou temples in these areas.
These are the areas that would become the future territory of the Indigenous
Army able to lead the country towards independence.

And this newly formed territory continues to be honored in Vodou pilgrimages up


to today.

So we say: Ayibobo.The spirit Ayizan being wife of Loko/Louquo, she creates our
spaces. Spaces we created and that we continue to honor.

From: Concerned Haitians League/Asanblaj Ayisyen Konsene <chl@ic.sunysb.edu>

> ... If we decompose the word 'haitiens,' phonetically we

> get 'Hai Siens' qui hait les siens (One who hates his own)

>

> Isn't it quite a reality in our country, where hatred is

> like a desease acid that corrodes our country, where one

> hates the other and usually for no particular reason...

> it's been like this since the beginning...

>

> I believe that a name can have an important impact or

> influence ....

Dear all,

This is in response to the erroneous breakdown of the word Haitiens into Hai Siens
and the negative association of such breakdown. The Concerned Haitian League, in
its concern to educate all (including ourselves), considers it an imperative to point
out any attempt to diminish the dignity of our nation.

Ayiti as used by the native inhabitants -- at the time of the arrival of the Europeans
-- meant mountainous land. The decision of our forefathers in 1804 to revert to Ayiti
from the French name Saint-Domingue signified that we Haitians claimed back the
land that was taken from the original inhabitants and on which we were forced to
toil. From this accepted origin of the name of Haiti, I do not see how a superposition
of a breakdown of Haitiens as Hai Siens could have any linguistic significance and
psychological validity.

Yet the breakdown above seems to convey the intention to characterize all Haitians
as mean-spirited, hateful beings. Having been a victim of ethnic stereotypes (and
having been trained as a linguist), I must stress that such a breakdown is based on
completely false premises. I hope this message will limit the potentially-negative
consequences of MIS-analyzing Haitiens as Hai Siens.

Morphologically, Haitiens does not break down into Hai Siens. Such attempt shows a
lack of understanding of basic linguistic rules. One must not confuse phonetic
breakdown of a word -- the way it is actually realized in the spoken language -- and
the spelling of that word -- the way it is represented in writing. The Haitiens->Hai
Siens breakdown fails to use the spelling, morphological and phonetic rules of
French --- the correct morphological analysis is: Haiti-en-s

Furthermore, the different components of your breakdown, Hai and Siens do not
have any meaning in Haitian Creole. Worse yet, the proposed translation (One who
hates his own) would be rendered in French by Qui hait les siens or Hair les Haitiens,
but definitely not Hai(t) Siens -- a textbook on French grammar would be very
helpful to elucidate this point.

Finally, as mentioned by more than one on the list, the origin of the root Haiti in
Haitiens could not have anything to do with French since it was the word used by
native inhabitants of the Island way before the coming of the French.

Let's try to promote tolerance and love of one another and not perpetuate ill-formed
negative stereotypes.

Respectfully,

Francois Canal, Coordinator

Concerned Haitian League

Stony Brook Union Building

Room 252

Stony Brook, New York, 11794

Telephone: (516) 632-4131