By Laurie Guthmann
It had taken her more than 30 years--plus research and genetic testing--to discover her ties to the indigenous Taínos of Puerto Rico, to claim her identity and re-learn what she thought she knew of her history.
She's not the only one. Since 2000, the number of Hispanics who identified themselves as Native American grew from 407,073 to 685,150, according to the 2010 census.
Some attribute the increase to immigration from parts of North and South America where there are large indigenous populations. In some cases, it's because of recently discovered ties to native cultures.
If the huge mass of Latinos in the US started identifying as Natives, we'd really see the depth and breadth of America's indigenous roots. It would make our history of conquest and colonization that much clearer.
And that's why the white Euro-American mainstream fears and hates immigration. It's a stark reminder of our historical crimes. And a stark reminder that it's not too late to redress those crimes--to establish a more fair and just America where white people don't rule (as much).
For more on the subject, see What's the Difference Between Indian and Latino? and "Most Mexicans Are Indians."
Below: "Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard, right, dances at the 2010 Taíno Day ceremony in Puerto Rico."