Taino: A Novel (Paperback)

Taino: A Novel By Jose Barreiro Cover Image
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“José [Barreiro] writes the true story in Taíno—the Native view of what Columbus brought. Across the Americas, invasion, and resistance, the Taíno story repeated many times over.” – Chief Oren Lyons (Joagquisho), Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation The story of what really happened when Columbus arrived in the “New World,” as told by the Taíno people who were impacted In 1532, an elderly Taíno man named Guaikán sits down to write his story—an in-depth account of what happened when Columbus landed on Caribbean shores in 1492. As a boy, Guaikán was adopted by Columbus, uniquely positioning him to tell the story of Columbus’s “discovery,” directing our gaze where it rightfully belongs—on the Indigenous people for whom this land had long been home. Revised and updated by author José Barreiro (himself a descendant of the Taíno people) with new information and a new introduction, this richly imagined novel updates Guaikán’s carefully crafted narrative, chronicling what happened to the Taíno people when Columbus arrived and how their lives and culture were ruptured. Through Guaikán’s story, Barreiro penetrates the veil that still clouds the “discovery” of the Americas and in turn gives

About the Author

José Barreiro is Scholar Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. He retired as research and program director at the National Museum of the American Indian. He is a novelist, essayist, and activist of nearly four decades on American Indigenous hemispheric themes. Barreiro is a member of the Taíno Nation of the Antilles.

Praise For…

“Jose Barreiro’s novel, Taíno, tells the first story of conquest through Native eyes. Painfully and painstakingly, Barreiro opens the Taíno Caribbean world, with a clear view of the early invasion led by Columbus, and of Caribbean Indigenous struggles to survive.”
– Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth
 “Taíno captured my imagination strongly; I was mesmerized. The landscape where the story unfolds is familiar, and the characters spoke directly to me. Friends and family have shared similar sentiments. Some have believed it was an actual historical account and not one of fiction! Hatuey, as Barreiro is known among Taíno, skillfully draws you in. You leave only unwillingly when the story eventually ends.”

Jorge Estevez (Baracutei), Taino Cacique
“José [Barreiro] writes the true story in Taíno—the Native view of what Columbus brought. Across the Americas, invasion, and resistance, the Taíno story repeated many times over.”
Chief Oren Lyons (Joagquisho), Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation
Taíno is the story of the Indigenous Caribbean, in the Taíno “ancestor time" of initial invasion. Barreiro is an internationally distinguished and beloved Indigenous warrior, activist, visionary, cultural worker, and storyteller. His novel speaks to us of the heart of these lands and peoples, their amor y dolor, told to us through words that come from the spirit of the protagonist to a writer who is keenly in touch with the memory of the original peoples of this Indigenous hemisphere called the Americas. We should all heed this story.
Inés Hernández-Ávila, Professor, Native American Studies, University of California–Davis
“A thoughtful and compelling work of historical fiction, from the pen of a Taíno scholar with a true storyteller’s heart. Dr. José Barreiro is an essential voice for our time.”
– Kate Messner, author of the History Smashers series
“José Barreiro’s masterfully written historical novel recounts the Indians’ discovery of the ways of the Europeans, as seen by Christopher Columbus’s young adopted Indian son both during their first encounters as well as in Spain. While vividly re-creating the often violent clashes of cultures and expectations that eventually disaffected and decimated the Indigenous populations, Barreiro has maintained total accuracy in his exploration of the Taíno cultures. This forgotten chapter of history makes for fascinating reading by providing an alternative view of the so frequently mythologized encounter and the men who brought it about.”
 – Kirkus Reviews
Praise for the Author
“Cornell scholar Barreiro’s first novel focuses on the early history of Spanish conquest in the Caribbean, as told by a Native serving as interpreter and intermediary during those years—a witness to the genocide against his people.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“As an interpreter, Guaikán serves as a bridge between two worlds. Similarly, this novel links to a culture that has mostly been ignored by mainstream historical literature, and Barreiro masterfully weaves in the Taíno language, traditions, foods, and cultural bond with the sea and other natural elements. The book also bridges realities during a time and place that is almost always viewed through the lens of the conquerors.”
– Michelle Tirado, “José Barreiro Bridges Two Realities and Two Worlds with Taíno: A Novel,” Indian Country Today, Sept. 13, 2018
“Sharply and lovingly written, and filled with philosophical insights and emotional musings from a life in a world turned upside down, Taíno is an engrossing, illuminating, and heartbreaking look at the world of the conquered, a world that all but disappeared in the space of a single lifetime. ‘The wounds of these forty years,’ the author’s narrator sighs in his journal, ‘cut deep into my heart and so will mostly these pages.’”
– Foreword Reviews, reviewed by Mark McLaughlin
“José Barreiro, an elder within the Taíno Community, brings to life a story that gives readers insight into the time of colonial contact and the resistance of the Taíno people. He has captured a compelling story of a Native boy named Guaikán who would live on to tell the stories of the horrors of Christopher Columbus and his crew and the stories of his people, the Indigenous Taíno. Taíno: A Novel is a riveting masterpiece that takes readers on an emotional roller coaster to learn the truth.”
– Selena Lapham, author of Ananí and the Cave of Cacibajagua

Finalist in the Historical Fiction category for the International Book Awards, presented by The American Book Festival.

Finalist in Historical Fiction for the International Book Awards, presented by The American Book Festival
Product Details
ISBN: 9781682753484
ISBN-10: 1682753484
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
Pages: 364
Language: English