Move swiftly to retrieve Taino artefacts from the UK

Letters to the Editor

Move swiftly to retrieve Taino artefacts from the UK

Friday, December 18, 2020

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Dear Editor,

I was heartened when I read in the Jamaica Observer of Tuesday, November 10, 2020 the decision of the Government of Jamaica to retrieve postcolonial Taino wooden sculptures based at the British Museum in the United Kingdom.

I personally endorse the decision and ask for a national consensus as we encourage the Government to prioritise this important decision.

I think these artefacts are important to the Jamaican people, as they help us to be cognisant of our heritage. They are integral to who we are as a people. We should never allow these cultural artefacts to be at home in another country.

The Tainos, who were indigenous to Jamaica, were quiet and loving people. They were communal and loved to farm and fish. It is quite interesting to read about them. I think having these artefacts back home will bring life to what our children read and study in social studies.

Having these artefacts home, our schools can plan trips for the students to visit the Jamaica Museum — post-COVID-19, of course. On seeing these artefacts it will no doubt bring life to what they read and study and, therefore, build an appreciation for the Tainos, who contributed to much of our cultural heritage.

It was the arrival of the Europeans and their treatment of the Tainos that led to their massive demise. Whatever artefacts belonging to the Tainos that the British has in their custody should be returned forthwith. We, however, thank them or preserving same.

Our Jamaican National Coat of Arms, which bears the image of the Tainos, is a constant reminder of our past.

I do hope this important activity will not be put on hold. I encourage Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange to do everything possible to ensure that Jamaica becomes the final home and resting place for these Taino artefacts. It's the least that can be done as we seek full repatriation and compensation.

Nicola Johnson Richards

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