"A people thought to be dead for 500 years hope to prove they're still very much alive, thanks to the 2010 census. The census counts everyone in the United States, including territories like Puerto Rico. Thousands of Puerto Ricans are rediscovering their indigenous heritage and plan to ensure that the U.S. government knows about them. On a blustery day at the Texas state capital building in Austin, members of the Taino tribe rally to raise awareness about the 2010 U.S. census. Dr. Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard leads the group in song. She's the tribe's tequina suania, meaning she directs and teaches ceremonial dances to Tainos in the United States. She explains that the Tainos greeted Christopher Columbus when he landed in the New World in 1492, but the Spanish conquistadors who followed him decimated the tribe. Some Tainos managed to survive by fleeing to the mountains. But in the 1800s, Spain stopped counting indigenous people in the census of its colonies. Tekina-eirú Maynard says that stripped thousands of full-blooded Tainos of their identity. "If you happened to be a Taino who lived up in the mountains and you weren't in the sun a lot and maybe your skin was a little lighter, then they threw you in the 'white' bucket."" Get the Story:
Decimated Tribe Seeks Recognition Through 2010 Census (Voice of America 4/5)
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