AOC remembers being awakened to her “indigenous heritage”
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Saturday her connection to her “Indigenous heritage” rekindled as she protested the Dakota Access pipeline with Native American tribes on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
Responding to a comment on Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez said she wanted to connect more with the ancestral roots of the Taíno, an indigenous group in the Caribbean, and that Native American tribes welcome her like family.
“One of the things that started to reawaken me and connect me deeply to my native heritage was connecting with the Lakota Sioux of Standing Rock,” Ocasio-Cortez says in the video.
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“It really clicked that it’s crazy, like, the grace that they extended to say, ‘no, you’re a parent,’ was really formative for me. Although we might not be and that we are not of the same exact bloodline, there is a and it is important for us to recognize that we were raised and we were told growing up that we were extinct, that Tainos do not exist , and it’s really important for Puerto Ricans to understand that this narrative is being challenged right now.”
In addition to indigenous and Hispanic roots, Ocasio-Cortez, whose family immigrated to New York from Puerto Rico, has claimed over the years to have Jewish, European and black ancestry.
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“Like the history of Puerto Rico, we are a people who are an amalgam,” she told a Queens synagogue in 2018. “We are not one thing. We are black, we are indigenous, we are Spanish, we are European.”
Ocasio-Cortez said during the Hannukah service that “long, long, generations and generations ago, my family was made up of Sephardic Jews” who escaped forced conversions at the hands of Spanish Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries. centuries. Ocasio-Cortez is also Catholic, which she says has informed her views on the environment.
In her Instagram Stories on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez explained that Taíno culture has influenced modern American culture and language without being credited, an issue she says is tied to colonization. As an example, she pointed to the word “Juracan”, the name of a Taino deity of chaos and disorder, which formed the root of the word “hurricane”.
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Ocasio-Cortez is in Puerto Rico this weekend with a congressional delegation to attend forums on whether the U.S. territory should become a state. In Instagram posts, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that island politics are complicated. Its official position is that Puerto Ricans should determine their own status and vote on whether to seek statehood, independence, or some other arrangement, as long as no unincorporated “colonial” U.S. territory remains.
Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats released a draft Puerto Rico Status Act discussion, which would allow Puerto Ricans to vote on “permanent, non-territorial, fully self-governing political status.”