JIS News

The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) will be hosting its first Taino Day on Friday, May 4, at Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann.
This observance seeks to commemorate the life and legacy of Jamaica’s first inhabitants, who were formally referred to as the Arawaks.
Speaking with JIS News, Executive Director of the JNHT, Laleta Davis-Mattis pointed out that Taino Day was a part of the Trust’s annual observance of Encounter Day, which is “a day set aside to highlight the meeting of the various worlds or cultures that underpin our history and our ethnic composition,” including the Spanish, English, Africans and Tainos.
The Executive Director explained that this year, “more historical significance and credence will be placed on the Tainos and their contribution to our history and where we are as a people today.”
Activities to mark the celebration will include lectures and discussions; exhibition of Taino artifacts; display and sampling of Taino food, Taino quiz and a mini zoo with Taino animals.
Special guests and presenters will include Dr. Rita Pemberton from the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, Barbados; Leslie-Gail Atkinson, author of ‘The Early Inhabitants:Dynamics of the Jamaican Tainos’, two Carib descendants who are originally from Dominica and studying at Cave Hill campus and the chief of a group of Tainos living in Mocho, Clarendon.
Mrs. Davis-Mattis noted that through the staging of Taino Day, the JNHT aims to increase public awareness of the contribution of the Tainos to Jamaica and strengthen the mechanisms for the retention of the Taino heritage.
Taino Day is open to the public, particularly students. The day’s activities will commence at 10:00 a.m.

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