Puerto Rican community proud of indigenous roots

Taino heritage is the center of attention at the annual celebration in Jayuya, a community known as the indigenous capital of Puerto Rico.

Jayuya is named after a Taino chief, whose statue was dedicated in 1969. That was the year of the first National Indigenous Festival of Jayuya.

The beauty pageant plays a big role in the festival. Contestants are awarded extra points for their indigenous features.

"It’s not white culture and blue eyes; it says that the part of our blood that comes from indigenous culture is just as important," Félix González, the festival's president, told The New York Times.

A 2003 DNA study found that 61 percent of Puerto Ricans share Taino genetic markers.

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Tradition Counts More Than Beauty at a Pageant (The New York Times 12/2)