El Caney del Quinto Mundo (The Taino Longhouse Learning Center, Inc. or El Caney), a not-for-profit organization in Orocovis, Puerto Rico, was founded in 1993 to provide a local and international forum on Taino Earth teachings, culture, and spiritual traditions. Educate and disseminate information to local and international communities about the concerns and issues facing Taino and Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean.
- Teach, learn and practice traditional methods of stewardship of the land, its use and the conservation of our forests, natural resources and habitats
- Foster, promote, vitalize, and enrich the Taíno indigenous culture, language and spiritual tradition of the Caribbean
- Educate the local and international community about the concerns and issues facing Taino and Indigenous Peoples from a historical, traditional and contemporary perspective
- Rectify chronicled, historical distortions and stereotypes about Taino and indigenous peoples of the Caribbean
- Develop local and international campaigns to address the concerns and issues confronting contemporary Taino and indigenous peoples of the Caribbean
- Provide an environmentally safe place where people from all nations can come together to share and contribute their skills and gifts for the collective benefit and welfare of humanity, modeling the process of Nature
- Provide skills training to people of all ages and abilities in the arts, earth teaching and other disciplines to promote community pride, identity, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, inter-dependence, productivity, honor, respect and caretaking the Earth Mother
- Teach, learn and practice living skills based on honoring, sharing, and respect for all life, cultures, traditions and spiritual diversity to promote a better understandings among all peoples
- Develop faculties of observation and listening to expand our perception and awareness of the interdependence of all things
Recover, Renew, Conserve and Protect the Forests, Ecosystems and Natural Habitats and Resources of Borike (Puerto Rico)
The 400 acres of El Caney are bounded by three rivers (Toro Negro, Doña Juana, and Baldies) and many springs and streams that supply water for the municipalities in the area. The Forestry Service Bureau of the Department of Natural & Environmental Resources (Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), supported by the U.S. Federal Forestry Service has certified 318 acres of El Caney as an official private auxiliary forest. These 318 acres of primary and secondary forest are free to progress naturally and thereby revert to their original state.
The grounds of El Caney are available for special events and passive recreation such as overnight camping, hiking and swimming. Along the roads and open spaces, indigenous species of trees and plants have been reintroduced. In keeping with the traditional Taíno way of life and earth teachings, no agro-chemicals are used. This maintains the natural ecological balance of the Earth Mother and ensures a natural habitat for diverse tropical wildlife as well as the purity of the mountain streams and rivers that flow from El Caney into major water systems.
Organic Agroforestry System
In keeping with indigenous traditional farming techniques and earth teachings, symbiotic ecosystems and agroforest conservation are the agricultural methods practiced in the Caney. The Taíno Conuco system of raised beds and companion planting are used for root crops such as yuca, batata, yautia, ñames, and lerenes (an indigenous potato is propagated to prevent its extinction), beans, corn and squash. Los Tres Bolillos (triangular planting) method, following the contour of the land, stabilizes the topsoil and prevents land erosion and runoff into waterways and streams. An agroforest intercropping system of leguminous trees and other companion plants create symbiotic micro Eco-system rich in nitrogen and other earth nutrients to crops such as bananas, oranges and coffee. In 1997, El Caney received organic certification by the Organic Growers and Buyers Association. El Caney's agricultural crops, herbs and remedios are retailed under the label "Productos Kaguana."
In addition to the farm, there is an organic nursery where indigenous and native medicinal and ornamental trees, flowers, and plants are propagated. The plants are started from seeds and cuttings obtained from local and other sources. The pristine rainforest areas of the Caney provide some of the primary plant materials used in the nursery.
Natural Healing Arts of the Earth
Naniki Reyes Ocasio, co-founder of El Caney, is a practitioner of Taíno indigenous herbal and natural healing ways. She is certified by PRIDCO (Compania de Fomento Industrial) in the area of natural products. The healing ways and natural remedios made by Naniki include alcoholados (herbal alcohol rubs), clay poultices, salves, tinctures, tisanas (tisanes), guarapos, essential oils and sobos (massages). Whenever possible, the herbs and clay used in her healing practice are harvested from the land of El Caney. All remedios and practices are prepared and carried out prayerfully with love, peace, harmony and integrity. The peoples deserve the best.
Promotion of Taíno Culture and Earth Teachings
El Caney endeavors to provide accurate, positive historical, traditional and contemporary insight about the culture, language, spiritual traditions and contributions of Taíno people, the indigenous people of the Caribbean. Taino culture, language, foods, and spirituality have and continue to touch, nurture and influence and enrich the world community today.
Our intimate connection to Mother Earth is linked and essential to who we are as a Peoples. Through awareness of Mother Earth, the waters, land, air, plants, animals and all our relations, we edify respect, honor and learn to live in harmony. Because our Ancestors maintained our intimate connection to Mother Earth and Ancestral teachings, the Taino peoples have been able to live through the brutality and changes brought by the colonizers. We continue to walk and pass on the way of our Ancestors for present and future generations to share.
In keeping with Taíno tradition, El Caney provides a forum where people of all ages and abilities can gather to learn how to re-establish, maintain, conserve and protect the ecosystems of the Earth Mother for present and future generations. The natural pristine grounds of El Caney provide an environmentally safe place where Peoples from all nations can come together to share and contribute their skills and gifts for the benefit of humanity. In this way, we model the process of Nature through service.
The way of life, traditions and teachings of the Taíno indigenous people of the Caribbean is our fundamental guiding principle. In living and practicing these principles, we learn to honor, share, and respect all life cultures traditional and spiritual diversity. As we master these fundamental living skills, we develop our faculties of observation, listening and active cooperation in life. This allows us to expand our perception and awareness of the interdependence of all things. We promote, foster, vitalize, and enrich Taíno traditions, language, culture, and spirituality.
Skills sharing and training in indigenous earth and farming practices, the arts and other disciplines provide the foundation for building community pride, identity, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, interdependence and productivity.
Formats for the educational programs include:
- Artesania (Arts & Crafts)
- Educational, workshops, conferences and presentations
- Cultural, educational workshops, conferences and presentations
- Develop local and international campaigns to address issues facing Taino and Indigenous Peoples
- Educational & Cultural Web Site
- Special Events and Activities
The Caney grounds are available to organizations, groups and individuals for special events and activities that are in keeping with the principles of El Caney.
Multimedia Resource Center
El Caney's Multimedia Resource Center strives to provide accurate, positive information about the culture and contributions of the Taíno people, the indigenous people of the Caribbean.
El Caney's resources include:
- Multimedia Library
- Art Gallery
- Educational & Cultural Web Site
Full Moon Kansi (Community Sweat Lodge)
Council Lodge Community Building
Based on our Guaitiao ceremony (making relations), people of all nations gather to share, develop and promote ways to bridge the gap of separation and bolster a better understandings between peoples of all cultures and spiritual traditions
The Council Lodge Community Building provides a place where our community and others gather to share and learn from each other, promote community pride, identity, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, inter-dependence, wholeness, collaboration and productivity
Prisoner Rehabilitation Program
In cooperation with Guatibiri, the first prisoner collective in Puerto Rico, members of the collective worked the land in a rehabilitation program. They received a short course in the propagation and cultivation of coffee as well as other farming skills, and obtained a certificate of participation. Through this program members of the collective developed self-esteem, effective decision-making and basic job skills as preparation for reintegration into the community.
They were encouraged to use their innate artistic abilities to create works of art from fallen trees, vines and other materials available to them from the land.
El Caney offers a limitless number of volunteer opportunities to experience the Taíno culture by working directly with the land and through its various projects. Volunteers work interdependently or directly with individuals and groups of all ages and abilities.
Direct and inter-dependent participation creates a more valuable awareness of the way Taíno Peoples live today and promotes a better understandings among all peoples.
It is a rewarding experience to share our Earth teachings, cultural, and spiritual traditions with all our relatives.
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