Areyto is the traditional Taino dance and poetry form. Awon ilu, tambores, the drums- congas, bongos, pleneras, atabales, cajón, batá-are Afro-descendant hearts of communities, guiding our voices and movements through prayer, healing, seasons, kinship; shifting in call and response relationships to our bodies and the elements. Life is an areyto, is being moved by awon ilu, by our ceremonies, cultural and educational exchanges. Being in relationship with the land, water and all of our relations is areyto, is ilu, is to be moved towards laughter, joy, love.
We foster Traditional Education. Throughout the year, we gather to share teachings about our cultural histories; to study traditional mathematics and science; to develop our relationship to our cultures and traditions; to teach songs and dance forms; to teach traditional agricultural practices and to teach traditional management of food and medicines.
We care for water and land, and teach Environmental Stewardship. We integrate our traditional Caribbean Indigenous and Afro-descendant practices with local tribal forest management practices. Our past, current and future work includes: indigenous seed protection; water protection; a healing garden; a food forest garden; and a Caribbean foods greenhouse; the development of a forest garden sacred commons for our PNW tribal kin to gather traditional foods and materials.
We enact Solidarity through sustained relationship with traditional leaders from a range of tribal, Indigenous and Afro-Diasporic traditional communities.
Traditional Ceremonies are opportunities to assist community members in shedding grief, trauma and illness. They are also opportunities to affirm our cultural identities and ancestral knowledge. We host healing ceremonies, ceremonial dances, rites of passage and community celebrations.
Learning and teaching our cultural histories and culturally-rooted knowledges.
Tekatek. Ilé. Calmecac. Mi escuelita.
Our peoples have rich and powerful stories of survival, resistance, and relationship. We share these stories through our teachings and time spent together in formal and informal gatherings. We host virtual and in person workshops throughout the year and teach through traditional ceremonies. We also work with community members to generate opportunities for the sharing of knowledge across the generations.
Ni’a-ota-ke’a, omi & ará: water & land stewardship
We care for water, we care for seeds, we care for the land. We teach others how to do this, too – whether directly, through our own acquired knowledge, or in partnership with elders, traditional ecological knowledge keepers, and other land and water stewards.
Afro/Indigenous Math and Science
Iya Alaí is a student of the Diloggun and ancestral stewardship practices, and Abuela Ana Nanichi is a student of the Tonalamatl and Caribbean Indigenous calendars. Both pass on this knowledge to others using traditional teaching methods and practices. In addition, they work to create opportunities to learn from elders.
We are the medicine.
It is our sacred responsibility to work with our communities to recuperate and sustain our traditional medicine practices, seeds, knowledges and forms. At Bohio Cibanani, we use our natural landscape to teach and learn about the tending of, the harvesting of, the preparation of, and the uses of traditional medicines.
Creating a sacred commons for Caribbean Afro-Indigenous peoples and our allies.
Ni’a ota Watu’a, omi and aina: Water & Fire
The balance between water and fire are central to the sustenance of Indigenous life and livelihoods. At Bohio Cibanani, we practice water stewardship, and are also working with friends in our broader community to learn about the culturally-rooted preventative fire practices that have sustained life in Kalapuya Ilihi since time immemorial.
The conuco is an Afro-Indigenous Caribbean agricultural form. Both Iya Alai and Abuela Ana grew up with distinct understandings and love of the conuco. In 2025, we will seed a conuco, incorporating edible and medicinal plants to feed and care for our local communities, focusing on Caribbean cultural foods necessary to sustaining a culturally-rooted ceremonies and diets while living far from home.
First Nations Sacred Commons
In collaboration with local tribal partners we are caring for the small forest on the land, tending the hazel, the Douglas Fir, Maple, Alder, Salal and many other native plants that are present here. We are learning how to tend to this sacred resource with the goal of incorporating this forest into local first nations seasonal rounds: providing traditional foods and materials to sustain cultural practices.
A Sacred Orchard
In 2024, Bohio Cibanani will inaugurate a sacred orchard dedicated to fruit & nut trees to sustain our Afro-Indigenous communities and our allies. This orchard will also incorporate honeybees and elements to foster a deeper understanding of the relationship between first foods and the foods of migrant communities.
Community & Solidarity
Loving relationship is at the center of our work.
We love our elders, giving thanks for the road they have traveled and shared with us through teachings, ceremonies, and laughter. We honor elders, and create special opportunities to gather with them throughout the year. In 2022, we brought a CAYUCO – a small canoe – from the Dominican Republic to Oregon. Our entire journey was dedicated to gathering with our beloved elders along the way, honoring them as we also shared stories.
Youth are our future ancestors, and for that reason they play a key role in the Bohio Cibanani community. Through partnerships with youth organizations and groups, students and classrooms, Bohio Cibanani creates opportunities for young people to be in relationship with each other, our teachers and the land.
For many of our BIPOC/2SLGBTQ communities, trying to go out to nature can feel scary and uninviting. Through Open Forest, our BIPOC/2SLGBTQ friends and communities are invited to come to Bohio Cibanani to rest, read, walk, meditate and be renewed by the forest.
We visit with our various Afro-Indigenous, Afro-Diasporic and Indigenous/Native American communities across the continent on an going basis. These visits are opportunities to spend time together, to learn from each other, and to laugh. From time to time we open these visits up to community members, so as to strengthen the ties between the nations and the generations.
Caribbean Canoe Delegation
We have been graciously accepted as a Caribbean delegation, an Afro-Taino delegation, with the Chinook Canoe families. Beginning in 2023, we will actively take part in the Northwestern canoe journeys, learning from our Pacific kin with the ultimate goal of renewing Taino canoe journeys in the Caribbean. To learn more about joining us, please contact us directly.
We host community celebrations for friends and families. We also maintain a ceremonial calendar, which determines additional celebrations that take place. Some examples of our celebrations are our New Years, the solstices, the equinoxes, and feast days.
Rites of passage.
Both Abuela Behike Ana Nanichi Tlahuicoatl and Iya Alaichemi are invested with the knowledge and teachings to carry out rites of passage in the Taino, Mexica, Ocha and Congo traditions. This includes: naming ceremonies, rites of passage for children entering into adulthood and adults transitioning into elder status, and marriage. For our LGBTQ2s+ kin, we also hold ceremony honoring transitions.
Bohio Cibanani is home to the Xinachtli Meztli – Tisa’a Caraya Moon Dance. This Dance is ceremonial in nature and follows traditional protocol. To learn more, please contact us directly. We also host an annual Tambor to Yemayá, as well as areyto and other ceremonial dances throughout the year.
To learn more about the our healing ceremonies, please contact us directly. Healing ceremonies follow traditional protocols.
Bohio means home in Taino. Starting in 2024, we welcome our community to make home – even if for a little while – when visiting us at Bohio Cibanani.
Throughout the year, we will make the Bohio available to elders, defined as someone age 52 or older, to come to the land to recharge, regenerate and rest.
LGBTQ2S Artists, Healers, Activists, Scholars
Starting in 2024, the Bohio will be available to LGBTQ2S artists, healers, activists and/or scholars to come to the land to rest, to create, to re-imagine, and to recharge.
Beginning in 2023, the Bohio will provide a small camping area for BIPOC/LGBTQ2S groups of folks to come and to be in a safe outdoor space.