An Inconceivable Indigeneity: The Historical, Cultural, and Interactional Dimensions of Puerto Rican Taíno Activism by Sherina Feliciano-Santos A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Anthropology) in the University of Michigan 2011 Doctoral Committee: Associate Professor Barbra A. Meek, Chair Professor Bruce Mannheim Professor Judith T. Irvine Professor Ruth Behar Associate Professor Lawrence M. La Fountain-Stokes
© Sherina Feliciano-Santos 2011
ii DEDICATION Para Mami y Daddy Por el apoyo incondicional y por siempre creer en mi, aún cuando a mi misma se me hacía díficil. Por ser modelos de humanidad e integridad. Por ser mis padres, los quiero. También a Abuelito, Porque fuiste ejemplo y siempre te llevaré conmigo.
iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Five years ago, in a meeting to talk about my final paper proposal on Jibaridad in Puerto Rico, Tom Trautmann asked if there were any indigenous movements in the Island. After a responding with a resolute ―NO,‖ I thought about it and remembered that the prior summer I had read an article in a newspaper about a group of people claiming to be Taíno protesting the management of the Caguana ceremonial site in Utuado, PR. It was this question and my own response to it, which led to the questions that would ultimately inform this dissertation project. For asking that initial question, I want to thank Tom Trautmann. Barb Meek has been an exceptional teacher, mentor, advisor, and friend. During my many years at Michigan, Barb guided me in thinking about language, indigeneity, field methods, and analysis. I feel deeply fortunate to have had her exceptional input and her unwavering support throughout my graduate student career. Barb, I thank you for being a role model of integrity and inquisitive scholarship. The time spent in Bruce Mannheim‘s office hours and courses were essential to the maturation in my thinking about language, culture, and society in the Spanish- speaking world and beyond. Bruce: ¡muchas gracias por todo tu apoyo! I thank Judy Irvine for her attentive readings, which offered direction to my analyses when I did not know where to go next. Ruth, your insightful comments helped me think more broadly about my project, allowing me to see how my concerns were relevant to a broader
iv audience. Y muchas gracias a Larry, who with his broad smile and discerning readings helped me contextualize my research and pushed me to circulate it to a broader audience. Thank you to all the Linguistic Anthropology Lab readers who took the time to read and give me feedback for those first, tortured drafts, especially Kate Graber and Elana Resnick. Your comments were deeply appreciated. To all of my friends at the University of Michigan with whom I shared countless hours studying for courses, for prelims, writing grant proposals, talking about the challenges of fieldwork, and who later thoughtfully read drafts of my chapters and presentations — I truly am grateful for all of your support.
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