The Modern Jíbaro

  • Tony Castanha


The Jíbaro man told me a story that profoundly influenced him and one he could never forget. His mother was ill and had been unconscious. His family had taken her to the hospital but because it was a Sunday, they would not receive her. Desperate, he began driving around and took a side road to the end where there was a two-story house. The man saw a woman on the second floor, who soon asked him what he wanted. He said his mother was sick, unconscious, and they could not find help. The woman told her daughter she was going to help them and to keep an eye on the beans on the stove. They carried the woman into the house, into what the man described as a “temple.” He remembered seeing candles and images of saints. The woman then did something he had never experienced before. She gathered a good bundle of certain plants and began to ceremonially wave them, as if to extract something out of the sick woman. The woman woke up and walked out of the temple on her own two feet. When they got home, she ate abundantly. She had been unconscious for a week and is still alive today.2


Nineteenth Century Indigenous People Native People Oral History Indian People 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    María Teresa Babín, “Introduction: The Path and the Voice,” in María Teresa Babín and Stan Steiner, eds., Borinquen: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Literature, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974), xii–xiii.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Franke Wilmer, The Indigenous Voice in World Politics: Since Time Immemorial (Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1993), 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    Adalberto López, “Birth of a Nation: Puerto Rico in the Nineteenth Century,” in The Puerto Ricans: Their History, Culture, and Society, ed. Adalberto López (Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing Company, 1980), 59.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    José C. Rosario, The Development of the Puerto Rican Jibaro and His Present Attitude towards Society (San Juan: The University of Puerto Rico, 1935), 17.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Stan Steiner, The Islands: The Worlds of the Puerto Ricans (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), 97.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Fernando Picó, History of Puerto Rico: A Panorama of Its People (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2006), 118–19.Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    Ronald D. Arroyo, “Da Borinkees: The Puerto Ricans of Hawaii” (PhD diss., Union Graduate School, 1977), 3.Google Scholar
  8. 31.
    Déborah Berman Santana, “Indigenous Identity and the Struggle for Independence in Puerto Rico,” in Sovereignty Matters: Locations of Contestation and Possibility in Indigenous Struggles for Self-Determination, ed. Joanne Barker (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005), 213.Google Scholar
  9. 41.
    Loida Figueroa Mercado, History of Puerto Rico: From the Beginning to 1892 (New York: L. A. Publishing Company, 1978), 281.Google Scholar
  10. 42.
    Juan Angel Silén, We, the Puerto Rican People: A Story of Oppression and Resistance, trans. Cedric Belfrage (New York and London: Monthly Review Press, 1971), 31.Google Scholar
  11. 45.
    Manuel Maldonado-Denis, Puerto Rico: A Socio-Historic Interpretation, trans. Elena Vialo (New York: Random House, 1972), 46.Google Scholar
  12. 59.
    Daniel B. Schirmer and Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, eds., The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance (Boston: South End Press, 1987), 16.Google Scholar
  13. 71.
    Jesse Walter Fewkes, The Aborigines of Porto Rico and Neighboring Islands, 25th Annual Report, B. A. E. (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1907), 24–26.Google Scholar
  14. 74.
    Photos printed in Roberto Martínez Torres, “Nuestros Primeros Artistas,” in Revista Catey, ed. Roberto Martínez Torres (Moro-vis, Puerto Rico: Revista Arqueologica, Antropologica e Historica, 1994), 11–14.Google Scholar
  15. 78.
    Juan Manual Delgado, “Sobrevivencia de los apellidos indígenas según la historia oral de Puerto Rico,” Revista de Genealogía Puer-torriquena, 2, no. 1 (April 2001): 77.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tony Castanha 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Castanha

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations