'I am not extinct' - Jamaican Taino proudly declares ancestry

Olive Moxam-Dennis (left) said though she always knew she was Indian (Tainos), they never discussed. It was her daughter, Dr Erica Neeganagwedgin (right), who helped her to embrace her Taino heritage.

Olive Moxam-Dennis (left) said though she always knew she was Indian (Tainos), they never discussed. It was her daughter, Dr Erica Neeganagwedgin (right), who helped her to embrace her Taino heritage.

CHARLES TOWN, Portland:

WHEN ERICA Dennis of south St Elizabeth was in class at Hampton School in the said parish, a teacher told the students the Tainos in Jamaica were dead. There she was being told that she, a Jamaican Taino, was extinct.

But she said because at the time, students could not talk back to teachers, she kept quiet. Yet, she said she and another Taino girl resisted by calling themselves the 'Taino Girls'. In her own family, consisting of a Taino mother and an African father, there were eight children.

In the lot, five of them look distinctly Taino and one of her sisters embraces her Taino heritage. And an older brother has always believed he was Taino. But the siblings, who were born in England, are not interested in their Taino identity . . .

Read more by Paul H. Williams at The Gleaner