Alexander Addams

Hi, I’m Alexander Addams.

Director of Linguistics Technology for the Higuayagua Taino, Historian, Traditional Story Teller and all-around Tech Guru.

Story time.


     Hatuey was a Taino Chief born and raised in Quisqueya( Dominican Republic + Haiti), modern day Hispaniola. After seeing the destruction from the Spaniards of the Taino people after the landing of “he who should not be named”, he traveled with all the warriors he could find to Cuba to warn them of the coming of destruction. After attempting a resistance and being captured and being forced to watch his fellow warriors be burned alive by El Bastardos (not real Spanish), he was also tied to a stake.


     Before he was burned, a priest asked Hatuey if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven. Hatuey, thinking a little, asked the religious man if Spaniards went to heaven. The religious man answered yes… The chief then said without further thought that he did not want to go there but to hell so as not to be where they were and where he would not see such cruel people. Then, he kicked the cross from the priests hand as they burned him alive.


     Horrific, I know.


     But this always fascinated me, not just because the same blood of resistance that flows through him also flows through me, but, because -he could communicate with them-.


     Let me explain as simply as I could. The Spaniards arrived, attacked almost immediately after the Taino rescued them from crashing into a reef (you’re welcome) and in short order, all was chaos.


     During all this, Hatuey was able to figure out that the sailors were actually speaking multiple languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Latin, etc) and learn it well enough to be able to communicate complex ideas like spirituality and religion. All in weeks to a few months while under siege and running for their lives.


     If you were dumped today in Mongolia, chased through the streets and caught and then tied to a post and threated with death, would you be able to speak to the Mongolians about spirituality? Would you even be able to comprehend that they are speaking a dozen languages? Would you be able to do this under duress? How much we lost due to genocide. The level of intelligence. The capacity to learn. A way of life that we will not be able to retain until we relearn these ways.


     All of this brings us to Hiwatahia.


     Taino, the name that the Spanish called my people, because we tried to explain that we were “Good People” (that’s basically the gist of what the word means). Our true name is lost. Most of our language is lost. Most of our culture has been uprooted. But… we are still here.


     From that which remains, the few words and phrases, songs and ways, we, the Higuayagua, have chosen to rebuild.


     Learn, grown, live, love and by all that our ancestors hoped for us, walk in the sun with your heads held high as we speak with pride to each other in a way We have chosen.



October 8th, 1492