Saturday, October 20, 2018

Anansesem’s GOLDEN STOOL OF ASHANTI


 Anan-se-sem: (Twi) AnansiStories, the stories of Kweku Anansi the Spider-Man, owner of all stories. The name "Ashanti is also spelled "Asanti". 


  • While some Western Europeans were caught up in the American Slave Trade, in the17th century history was being made in West Africa.

Panel 45 from "The Golden Stool of Ashantu (Asanti)", an Anansesem story by Michael Auld that illustrated the rise of the Asantehene (King) Osei Tutu and the 17th century creation of the formidable Ashanti Confederacy.


Panel 49: On a Friday at a gathering of royalty and Queen Mothers in Kumasi, Anokye the Priest, brought down from a cloud of  white dust, a decorated Golden Stool that gently perched on Asantehene's Osei Tutu's knees. They witnessed the birth of the Ashanti Confederacy.


The Story of the Golden stool of Ashanti not only belongs to these people of Ghana, West Africa, but many descendants who arrived in the Americas during the period of enslavement. It is evident that before their gaining of political power, some were traded to the English as prisoners of war. While the Americas were embroiled in the African Slave Trade, some Akan people were sold into slavery by the more powerful surrounding West African nations. The area became to be called the “Gold Coast” because of its rich deposits of alluvial gold.

This is the reason why the Ashanti Kingdom’s dignitaries, ornamentation, jewelry and sculptures area dripping with gold.(See Ashanti gold weights used for measuring gold.) The most revered object to the Ashanti was the Golden Stool, created in Heaven.

  • That the Ashanti became formidable warriors is evidenced not only in Ghana, but by historic Maroon (“Maroons are people who escaped the sugar plantations to join the island’s Yamaye Taíno “Cimarrones” in the mountains). Their leaders in Jamaica were those who successfully and strategically fought the English military in Jamaica. Under Captain Kojo and Nanny and his brother, Quao, obtained independence from the British before the American Revolution.

Starting in the late 17th century, the Ashanti king Osei Tutu ( c. 1695 – 1717) and his adviser Okomfo Anokye established the Ashanti Kingdom, with the Golden Stool of Ashante as the sole unifying symbol for the kingdom. 

This Anansesem was a researched, published comic strip of a folkloric story about the Golden Stool of Ashanti, Asantihene Osei Tute and his cousin Okomfo Anokye,
the Priest and the founders of the Ashanti Confederacy.
For a video on the Golden Stool of Ashanti go to:

anansistories.com

Monday, October 8, 2018

JAMAICA'S TAINO DAY


The very first Taíno Day in Jamaica was in 2007.
(Jamaica annually celebrates Taíno Day with educational programs, lectures performances and exhibitions.)
 
Indigenous Yamaye (Jamaican) Taíno  symbols

While the US observes Columbus Day in October, Jamaicans, instead,  celebrate Taíno Day on May 5th. By way of many conferences, the day for honoring the Taíno was in 2007. Conversely, the USA is stuck with Columbus Day to placate its influential Italian émigrés who revere their hero, Saint Christopher. And a deep Eurocentric need to discover people into existence. Where as Jamaicans, once removed from under British yoke in 1962, began to challenge old notions and charted their own course and reality

Yet, a growing number of Americans have arrived at the same conclusion as Jamaicans did in 2004, by wanting to abolish the celebratory day that honors a man whom caused the Amerindian Holocaust. Jamaica, by way of much deliberation, has led the way to honoring the Indigenous people of this hemisphere instead.

How Jamaica Did It.

“In 2004, during the Haitian Bicentennial, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) discussed the possibility of replacing the contested “Encounter Day”, an annual commemorative event on the organisation’s calendar usually held on May 5 to mark the meeting of the cultures, with the equally contentious “Taino Day”. Actually, my preference as a historian was for “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” in order to be more inclusive of the civilizations which existed in the island before the invasion by the Europeans.

“We wanted to introduce Jamaicans to Taíno, their knowledge of the rest of the
Caribbean; their regionalism; their belief system; their economic, social and political systems. The idea then, that our history should always be determined by what happened after the European colonization was unpalatable to some of us.”
--Prof. Verene A. Shepherd, former Board Chair, JNHT—

The first Taíno Day was a historic occasion, with the participation of two members from the Kalinago (“Carib”) community in Dominica (who were then students at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies and who were sponsored by that campus). Our guest lecturer was Professor Rita Pemberton from the St. AugustineTrinidad, History Department and there were in attendance hundreds of visitors and students from schools around the island. Those who could not attend were kept abreast of the day’s excitement by IRIE FM.

The second reason was to cement the idea firmly in the consciousness of youngsters that people were living in the Caribbean before Columbus’s invasion of the region.
“Why Taino Day? By Prof. Verene A. Shepherd, historian and former Board Chair, JNHT --  www.jnht.com/news/WHY TAINO DAY.pdf

Sunday, October 7, 2018

WHAT DOES COLUMBUS DAY MEAN TO AMERINDIANS?


Wooden sculpture titled “Rape of the Carib Woman” is an analogy of the European rape of the Americas.

A STOLEN HEMISPHERE

This day above all, reminds Amerindians of the suffering from hemispheric genocide. To some non-Natives the day is one of celebration of their successful inheritance of “free” if not stolen Indian lands. Conscience of territorial theft does not matter to this latter group. Alter all, we have transferred the blame of Amerindian genocide to a distant past and massacres to anonymous “Spanish” and English “settlers”. Some even prefer to blame diseases over the wanton killing of human beings via destruction of their societies and anti-Indian policies. Currently, many Amerindians throughout the hemisphere are at risk. In the US (as it is in the Americas) suicide, poverty, alcoholism, TB  and many other maladies plague the survivors. These health issues are the direct result of displacement and stolen territories.

“The Receiver Is Worse Than the Thief”

This is a Jamaican saying about receiving stolen property. In this Columbus Day instance, we celebrate our fortunes inherited from holy "Saint Christopher".

I was born on a Caribbean island visited and stranded on for a year by Christopher Columbus. The island was Jamaica, that has changed the honoring of Columbus to Taíno Day

The Yamaye (Jamaican) Taíno attacked Columbus’ ship in war canoes as it first entered Yamaye waters. He was not welcomed. Columbus retaliated by killing a number of Taíno with war dogs and crossbow fire. His intent was to not retreat from people who did not want his presence. But he forged ahead to begin the destruction of sovereign nations in the Americas' Cir-cum Caribbean..

News had traveled fast among the Taíno in the Northern Caribbean and his presence was suspect. On Kiskeya (Haiti & the DR), just in the first year of his arrival, his stranded men, not satisfied by a Taino welcome, demanded more food and women from their host, a local Kacike.(ruler) They were subsequently killed after a skirmish for breaking a code of honor. Upon his return during the Second Voyage, he randomly killed many Taíno who were not even responsible for the massacre of Spanish barbarians. 

The Yamaye were right. Columbus and his crew turned out to be barbaric slavers, claiming Taíno territory under the name of foreign gods and a foreign country. As far as the Taíno were concerned the main Spanish god was Guanin, the Taíno’s 14k gold.

Hatuey a Haitian kacike said this to the Cuban Taíno after he had escaped the Spanish hanging of his queen, Anacaona in Ayti,


To paraphrase Hatuey;
“If you swallowed your Guanine trinkets to hide their god from them, they love him so much that they will cut open your bellies to retrieve him.” He advised the Cuban Taíno to gather their guanin in baskets and throw it into the rivers.


Who are the people that revere Columbus on his special day? 

They are the followers of a murderous, violent and racist man who also brought devastating diseases. He came through the Caribbean as a slaver collecting a people whom he said “would make good servants.” His men were the first European rapist of the Amerindians who stole entire islands. 

One story recorded by his friend, Cuneo, off the coast of St. Croix, described his rape of a Carib woman. 


“A captured woman from a canoe had accurately shot an arrow into the chest of one of a boatload of Spanish pursuers.” 
Her Carib companions were immediately killed, while she was brought on board Columbus’ ship. The Admiral gave her to Cuneo who described in detail how he thrashed her into submission with a rope, then he raped her.

This man, Columbus, responsible for starting the Amerindian Genocide, larger than Hitter’s Jewish extermination, is given a day of honor?