Lynette Ramos on “Borikén: Land of the Valiant and Noble Lord,” Her Project Examining Her Puerto Rican Heritage


  • Courtesy Lynette Ramos

The Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center today presents a virtual event at 7 p.m. discussing dancer and shamanic-inspired healer Lynette Ramos’ trip to ‘Borikén’ (Puerto Rico). Ramos was awarded a grant from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and received additional support from her local community to study The Tainos, the indigenous people of the island.

The project is called “Borikén: Land of the Valiant and Noble Lord” and documents Ramos’ continued research, including but not limited to her journey from October 7 through the 21st of 2020, to explore her cultural heritage.

Her intention is to “…pay tribute to them by integrating the indigenous ways into our modern day times.”

One element of her research will focus on the lineage of the Puerto Rican traditional dance “Bomba.”

Bomba is rooted in the island's history of African slavery and therefore derived from their African ancestry. The dance evolved into a community expression and at one time was considered, what Ramos referred to as, “the newspaper of the people.” While she was in Borikén she took a workshop and interviewed an expert about Bomba.

In 2011, Ramos received a Bachelor’s of Divinity from The University of Metaphysical Sciences. Her areas of study included world religion, psychic skills, shadow work, meditation, channeling, astrology, breath work, divination and healing the inner child. It was in 2013 when Ramos began her travels to Central and South America, participating in sacred plant ceremonies, connecting with ancestral energy, and experiencing the healing of spirit through what she refers to as our ‘plant allies.’

“Over the last several years, I have traveled to a few countries in Central and South America, as I have a strong interest in Shamanism, plant medicine, ancient culture and sacred lands,” said Ramos. “I wanted to explore my own roots and the land of my ancestors, so that I could share this experience with my community. I wanted to inspire people to do the same, no matter their ethnic ties. I believe that learning about our history allows us to understand ourselves more and helps us to preserve our traditions and culture.”

Through this expedition Ramos collected pictures, videos and recorded an interview from a tour guide from Caguana Ceremonial Indigenous Heritage Center, considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in North America. Since Ramos is exploring her lineage, it is apropos that her son, Christion Ramos, shot the footage of her trip. During the virtual event Ramos will be sharing footage they gathered during their expedition accompanied by narration as they explore the rich cultural history of the island.

“The virtual event will include a mini documentary of my travels,” said Ramos, “including my visits to caves, sacred lands and museums.”

Ramos will be joined by her sister on Tuesday, local poet and artist Marisol Ramos, who graduated from the Cleveland School of the Arts, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing as well as her Master’s Degree in Humanities. She also published a book called, “Where I’m From,” a photo/poetry book created to uplift her community of La Villa Hispana. Lastly Cleveland artist Yanilka, whose paintings are folk art rooted in Taino and Afro-Latino culture, will be chiming in. Yanilka makes engraved woodwork of flags and shields highlighting culture from countries around the world.

Lynette Ramos has always lived in Ohio, grew up in the Tremont neighborhood being fed the notion that her ancestors were uncivilized but later in life and through her travels she came to understand that her people lived symbiotically with the earth and with one another. she learned about the vibrancy the culture. “They were artists, healers, farmers, and fishermen,” Ramos said. “They enjoyed music and community. They were well organized and thrived on the island.”

The Tainos are responsible for the name “Borikén” in their native language, or "Land of the Valiant and Noble Lord.” The island is what many refer to as Puerto Rico. The Taíno Indians inhabited the island when Christopher Columbus landed in Puerto Rico on November 19, 1493 when he renamed the island, San Juan Bautista (“Saint John the Baptist”) and claimed it for the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand II and Isabella I. Borikén was a Spanish colony for over 400 years. The island was under Spanish rule through 1917, when Puerto Rico became an unincorporated territory of the U.S.

All three artists in the event are supported, in part, by the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center. Julia De Burgos was a poet, educator, activist and a feminist. The Cultural Arts Center (from their website) “…was founded in 1989 by Daisy Rivera and the combined efforts of the Cultural Educational Institute for Boricua Advancement (CEIBA) and the Hispanic Parents Union. These organizations united to realize a long time dream of establishing a family oriented center to serve the Latino youth and their families through programs and activities designed to foster cultural pride and art appreciation.”

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