Jorge Baracutay Estevez

Kasike Atunwa Jorge Baracutay Estevez
Principle Kasike of the Higuayagua Taino People
Founder of Hiwatahia

   Kacike Atunwa Jorge Baracutay Estevez is the leader of the Higuayagua Taino people of the Caribbean. Baracutay hails from the town of Jaibon in the Cibao region of Kiskeya (Dominican Republic/Haiti).

   He has identified with his Native ancestry all of his life.

   His family immigrated to the United States during the Dominican Revolutionary war of 1965. The “Taino Extinction narrative” drove him deeper and deeper into academia throughout those early years, searching for clues about Taino survival. Although family lore reinforced his indigenous identity, encounters with paper genocide always tore through his heart. In the late 1980’s The Taino movement began rising, and Baracutay is one of the original architects of a movement that persists and is ever-growing.

   Baracutay worked at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, NYC branch for 25 years as an assistant to research and museum specialist, introducing Taino culture to museum patrons and eventually working on two Taino exhibits displayed at the NMAI-NY.

   Baracutay is the founder of Hiwatahia, a Neo- reconstructed Taino language now practiced by many people across the USA and the Caribbean. The Higuayagua Language team created a dictionary based on his work and helped the language evolve further. In Baracutay’s own words


Da iwakuma’hu-le da ixita’hu

Kena da Hiwatahia-le da wawanxi’nei

Ahan Katu

My existence is my resistance

and my language is my freedom

So be it