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#168: Galvan novel : Wucker adds
In your review of Manuel de Jesus Galvan's book you so rightly point out the
irony of Galvan's attributing the Taino cacique Enriquillo's thinking and
strategic skills to his Spanish education. Therein lie the roots of many
Dominican attitudes toward Haiti and Africa. The novel played a huge role in
portraying the Taino Indian in Dominican history as someone who could pick up
European traditions and values --and by doing so serve as the perfect
counterpoint to Africa and Haiti. The book is seen in the DR as a classic
of Dominican literature not so much for its literary value but instead for
its ideas and role in creating the myth of Dominicanness --"lo dominicano".
By romanticizing Enriquillo, the novel also plays a role in "atonement" for
the European crimes against the Tainos.
By attributing their dark skin to Indians and not to Africans, Dominicans can
perpetuate the myth that it was Haiti that was touched by Africa and not the
DR. This has been part of the official description of Dominicanness. I go
into this theme in depth in Chapter 3 of Why the Cocks Fight but am visiting
my parents in Milwaukee right now so don't have it handy to pass along at the
It's only been very recently that there has been a movement to celebrate
African roots and acknowledge that the glorification of the Taino Indians has
been distorted for other ends.