The above discussion focuses on one sense of ―reading‖ Taíno. Below I explore a more conventional reading of Taíno being taught in several public and private schools in the southeastern regions of Puerto Rico.
Teaching how to read “Taíno”
The LGTK ‘s Taíno heritage program was initiated in the schools where parents and teachers gave their support. The LGTK programs were most successful in a small elementary school in the southeastern mountains. The students met for an hour a week during their Social Studies class; Yarey taught the lesson and their regularly scheduled teacher made sure the students behaved. Yarey ‘s lessons focused on several aspects of Taíno culture, history, and language — particularly Taíno words. Classes often began with the children reciting a Taíno prayer and a poem Yarey wrote. After a short lecture, Yarey would ask the students about what she had just lectured and then organized more interactive activities for students to implement their new knowledge. Among her class objectives was to teach the students the Taíno script developed by the LGTK so that they could write Taíno words. The script was based on Taíno pictographs that corresponded with letters in the Latin script. The pictographs were selected for their iconic similarity to a letter in the Latin script.
Figure 5.4 La Piedra Escrita or The Written Rock, in Jayuya, P.R..
Source: Municipio de Jayuya
( http://www.jayuya.puertorico.pr/turismo.htm )
Figure 5.5 ―Taíno ABC‘s‖ Located on a classroom wall
Students became very adept at writing in this script. In fact, in a trip to another school, I spotted a child writing in the script. When I asked the child where they had learned it, they explained that their younger sibling went to the school where Yarey had first implemented the program. Within the context of the classroom, students were excited to learn about Taíno culture and given the space in which they learned such lessons, they were soon quite comfortable claiming that they too were Taíno. Below is an example of a child completing an assignment to write a story with the Taíno words that Yarey had used in this lesson.
Figure 5.6 Student writing a Taíno vocabulary assignment in the ―Taíno ABC‘s‖
Figure 5.7 Classroom Activity.
Each word is written in the Latin Script, translated into Spanish, and
written out in the Taíno Script.
The program had been so successful that the LGTK ‘s Taíno heritage program‘s success had even been reported in local newspapers. For example, Primera Hora reported: En el programa piloto Inmersión Cultural-Lingüística de la Liga Guakía Taína-ké
cerca de 120 menores, principalmente de cuarto a sexto grado, de dos escuelas de
Maunabo aprenden sobre el vocabulario taíno y se basan en una codificación
escrita inventada, utilizando los símbolos de los petroglifos indígena s, para
escribir las palabras. Cabe destacar que otras tribus han hecho ejercicios parecidos
- Spring '14