The Taino

I suppose most of us go to the Dominican Republic for the beautiful beaches and dreamy sunsets. Culture, heritage, and traditions are not really on top of our agendas. So it was with us when we travelled there last December – but after roughly 4 days on the beach, I kinda got “tired” (one may ask who gets tired of beaches?!!!).

The visit to the regional archaeological museum with its collection of pre-Columbian artefacts was the most memorable part of the visit to Altos de Chavon. (Dec 2016)

So, we took a day trip to Altos de Chavon –  a re-creation of a Mediterranean-style European village located atop the Chavón River in La Romana. It is a very popular attraction and hosts a cultural center, an archeological museum, and an amphitheater. The archaeological museum is where I spent the most amount of time… amongst all the resorts and beaches, it is easy to forget that the indigenous people of Dominican Republic have such a rich cultural heritage and the museum, though small, does a remarkable job of reminding us of that.

The museum is small, but has a really good collection and the corresponding information is very well displayed. In the middle of the museum is this island with the museum office on one side (Dec. 2016)

On the other side, there is a small memorial to the Taino people – the original native inhabitants of this island – in form of this bust. Titled as “A Homage to the Taino”, the sculpture is created by a contemporary artist by the name of Mark Lineweaver. (Dec. 2016)

At first the blank eyes seem a little haunting … empty. But eventually, there is an awareness of how some of the native culture has survived and evolved through the tragedy of colonization and slave trade. So, there is hope. (Dec. 2016)

I was sufficiently moved to buy this small statue of one of the Taino gods of old – the Dios del Sol (the Sun God), which now sits by my bedside along with a dead coral I picked up on the beach. It is a reminder of all that has been almost lost (Dec. 2016)

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