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Indio Demystified: Do we use it to deny our blackness?

In minds of many it would seem that Dominicans use an evasive term to Negro/Moreno called "Indio" which in the United States circles has become a bit of a justapoxing story. An island of very black Afro-descendants who say they are native-americans (Indios). This couldn't be further from the truth. I came to this realization one morning in Los Minas, Santo Domingo. Talking to my grandmother and when asking her about her heritage she said one of her lines was "Guajiro, gente de raza India" (Native-looking of the indian race). So I couldn't help but ask "Is this the same as being called indio" she said NO! "color indio, y raza india son dos cosas diferente" (Indian color and Indian race are two different things)

The Origin of the term Indio:

Indio at the begining of colonial times was used as a racial term, and over time it evolved into only being attached to color, when this happened exactly is not well documented however there are colonial…
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Black Spaniards In the Colony of Santo Domingo

When we think of our blackness or Africanity we often think of our ancestors coming directly from the mother continent or other colonies in the new world. While these are the major sources, there are exceptions to this norm.

The black presence in Iberia dates back to the time of the moors in which both the ruling class and the enslaved class had black-African individuals. These Iberians of African descent where numerous both in the free, servant and enslaved classes and many traveled out of their free will as well as accompanying their patrons.

These individuals and families would have brought with them in some cases an Afro-Iberian culture that would have then melded into the Afro-creole culture of the colony of Santo Domingo.

Quick Facts:

Sevilla, Spain has the oldest Afro-catholic brotherhood which was founded in 1399 (La Cofradia de los Negritos de Sevilla)Has living descendants of these African-descendants who have been in Spain for centuries such as the Perez family in Huel…

Moren@: Language of Resistance

It is often that Dominicans come to mind when it comes to self-hate or anti-blackness. "Dominican's don't like to be called black"- is a common term. I remember back close to a decade ago I watched one of my first afro-dominican documentaries "Congo-Pa-Ti" which featured the community of Villa Mella in North-Santo Domingo and although one part featured the outstanding traditions of the people, the other almost in mockery asked residents of villa mella what they considered themselves as far as "race", some respondents said yellow, cinnamon and where quite precise with their color. The ones that said "moren@" where translated in the subtitles as "mixed black" or "light skin black". In the end it seemed to illustrate for the English speaker that Dominican's don't use the term "negro" "black" and therefore use other terms to avoid it. Growing up as a person who gets called "moreno" by…

Confirming African Matches: Abuelo's Peul(Fula) Relatives

As African-descendants in the new world its probably the most asked question. Where from? Whom from?

The first thing to know is there is no such thing as static identity, Ethnic groups in all corners of the African continent have been moving, mixing, adapting at and endless rate. We in the new world often romanticize that we come from "a place" where "our people" live, but it will always be many peoples and many places and not just in the now but in the before as well.

Case #1 My maternal grandfather:

Paternal: Half his fathers family is from Tamboril Santiago and the other half Camaguey, Cuba.
Maternal: San Francisco de Macoris all the way to late 1700s on every single line

Most numerous ethnicity of his African relatives: 4 Fulani Relatives

Location of relatives: Most with connections to or from Fouta Djallon, Guinea, but some with parentage in Senegal, Gambia and Niger.

Match Strength: This is determined by CM (Length) and SNP (Density) the longer and more dense the hi…

Gitanas in Santo Domingo: Small DNA admixture Segments

There is a common word you will hear in the genetic-genealogy world which is "noise".

What is noise? Noise in the DNA world can be very small ancestry segments that have a possibility of being "fake" or from another ancestry. For example in most Native Americans get some "Central Asian" admixture <2%. As more and more of the worlds diversity is added to these tests, the more refined they become to get rid of these "noisy" segments. Most noise segments are under 1%.

Are all small segments <1% noise?: Absolutely not, in either case you should always try to prove or disprove the validity of small segments. Using multiple DNA companies or tools is the best way to be absolutely sure, and even better if combined with genealogy.

The Case of real South-Asian (east-Indian) ancestry in my grandfather Antonio

23andme shows him having 0.2% which can be in the noise range. All of this 0.2% is located on the X Chromosome (Th…