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U N I T E D  C O N F E D E R A T I O N  O F  T A I N O  P E O P L E

October 31, 2001

Mr. Mike Graham
United Native America
1008 So East 10th street
Muldrow, OK  74948

Dear Mr. Graham:

On behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), please allow us to commend you and United Native America on the composition of your petition calling for a National Native American Holiday in the United States. We recognize it is an important step in promoting the rights of Indigenous Peoples; therefore we wholeheartedly put forth our support for the declassification of Columbus Day as a federal holiday.

As the people to be the first to meet Columbus, we Taino have gone through the same statistical genocide that most Indigenous Peoples have endured since the imperialistic "Encounter Era." We intend to do our part to dispel the myth of the “vanishing Indian” and with this understanding, please add the UCTP to the list of respectable peoples from whom you have garnered support.

With this in mind, we would like to encourage all of our relatives to recognize that a National Native American Holiday need not infringe on our sovereignty or diminish the importance of our own ceremonies and holy-days. For the UCTP, it is equally important to acknowledge the uniqueness of our individual communities as well as the connections we all share as Native peoples.

We congratulate you on the work you have accomplished and hope to see you prevail in your goal to make a presently mournful day, for our people particularly, into a day of honor for all Indigenous communities and Nations.

Roberto Mucaro Borrero President, United Confederation of Taino People

CC: DeAnna Rivera, Roger Hernandez, Claudia Foxtree-McGrath, Naniki Reyes Ocasio, Elba Lugo, Tony Castanha, Genetha and Tony Ali, Damon Corrie              

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