Wednesday, January 9, 2008

In honor of Anacaona

I speak in the name of Anacaona (? – 1503), the sixteenth century Taino queen who ruled over the island of Hispaniola before the arrival of the Spaniards. Anacaona was a warrior-poet whose court was famed for its cultural contributions; the “Golden Flower” surrounded herself with beauty and was renowned for her ballads, ballets, poetry, and plays. But the Taino queen was equally cunning and strong: Xaragua, the kingdom she commanded after the death of her brother, was the last to succumb to Spanish conquest.
I am drawn to Anacaona for the diversity of her talents. She shows that a warrior may also love beauty, that strength is more than mere physicality, and her status as founding mother for both Haitians and Dominicans alike attests to her ability to bring disparate cultures together. For those of us focused on international justice issues, these are lessons well learned.
I am grateful to Diane Amann and this community for providing such a forum. For more information on Anacaona’s legacy, I suggest Edwidge Danticat’s 2005 book Anacaona: Golden Flower.


Jaya Ramji-Nogales said...

Welcome, Marjorie/Anacaona! We're excited to have you join us.

Marjorie Florestal said...

Thanks Jaya! I'm looking forward to joining the conversation.