Mashantucket, Connecticut (UCTP Taíno News) - As a part of their historic commemoration of Native American Heritage Month 2011, the Mashantucket Pequot Nation ceremonially received the flag of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) for permanent display at their Museum and Research Center in Connecticut, yesterday. The Confederation flag is now included as part of the on-going exhibition, “Honoring the Nations: Tribal Flags Today”.
In a special ceremony at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, UCTP Liaison Officer Hector Barakutey Gonzalez offered the opening prayer after the sounding of guamo (conch shell horns) that reverberated throughout the museum. The prayer was followed by a statement from UCTP President, Roberto Múkaro Borrero, who after inviting the Taíno delegation up on to the stage, remarked on the historic significance of the occasion. The delegates then presented the Confederation flag to Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Elder and Cultural Preservation Officer, Kathleen Knowles.
On behalf of the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, elder Knowles stated that it was an “honor to receive this beautiful Taíno flag” and that it would be “displayed proudly” at the Museum among the flags of many American Indian Nations. She then read from the informative plaque that will also be on permanent display along with the flag. The plaque provides details about Taíno people and the spiritual symbolism of the UCTP flag.
The information was received with applause and great enthusiasm by the audience that included Peqout elders, Taíno community members, members of local area tribes, Museum staff, and museum visitors.
Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana, a founding Council Member of the Confederation also shared words at the ceremony. In an emotional presentation, Inarunikia gave thanks to the Mashantucket Pequot Nation for “receiving Taíno People with such dignity.” She also remarked how proud she was to know that “future generations of Taíno” visiting the Museum would be able to note with pride that their people are “welcomed among the circle of indigenous Nations represented in this exhibition.”
After an exchange of gifts, the ceremony closed with the delegates sharing a song to Attabei, the Earth Mother, followed by a friendship dance to the beat of the Taíno maiohuakan log drum.