Hummingbird Way

The Code


Haru’tucuma Code of conduct



Higuayagua is a tribal community first and foremost. We pride ourselves on expressing our indigeneity based on handed-down tangible oral traditions, through information gathered from relentless research, as well as interviews with elders and community members across generations.


During our evolution, we have learned things such as the true meaning of community and commitment. We have evolved from a group into a true tribal family and learned important lessons that ensure the collective’s survival. 


Our Arawak brothers/sisters from Guyana introduced us to what they call Hariraro Woboroko, a highly complex belief system. Within this tradition are suggestions of how tribal family members are to treat each other and get along. Harirari Waboroko translates to “The Milky Way,” which is the path to the land of the Sacred Colibri.  In our Higuayagua language we call it Haru’tucuma.


These are our Codes of Conduct, Ethics and Tribal Rules.


1)     The below rules can and will be amended by council vote.


2)    Your Higuayagua brothers and sisters may not be as spiritually and culturally enlightened as you. Be tolerant, therefore, of those who are not as far along the path of knowledge, or who are lost, ignorant, conceited, angry, possessed by jealousy, envy, or greed.


3)    One of the qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. Agreeing on any subject is great, just as agreeing to disagree is great, too. Friendships are not measured by what we agree upon, but on how we tolerate the values and opinions of those with whom we disagree.


4)   Social media does not allow a person to speak to specific audiences. Thus, personal pages where one posts his or her opinions should not be hijacked with a counter argument. That invites negative energy on both sides.  Others’ personal opinions must be respected. If confronted with an offensive negative comment,  LEAVE IT alone—leave the page, change the channel, etc. To engage invites rebuttal that, in turn, invites more negativity. We do not need this AT ALL.


5)    If the offensive comment DIRECTLY involves you, speak to the person in private and handle it as positively as possible. Do not let the other person drag you down a negative path. Whatever you do, DO NOT ENGAGE IN PUBLIC. It makes the entire tribe look bad.  Take a screen shot of the comment. Present it to the council members.


6)   Treat guests to the Higuayagua pages with consideration.  Some questions or comments are truly based on lack of knowledge or experience. We must be careful not to offend people who do not understand our culture and customs.


7)    Do not take what is not yours, whether it is from a person, a community or culture. If you have not earned it, it is not yours. There is a difference between borrowing and appropriating. For example: In our Language Reconstitution Efforts, we borrow words from related languages, but we do not appropriate their entire language and claim it as our own.


8)   Honor the thoughts, wishes, and words of others. Never interrupt or mock them. Allow everyone the right to express themselves. We are seeking harmony and balance. There is enough strife in the world as it is.



9)   Never speak of tribal members in an ill way. The negative energy you put out into the world will multiply and return to you. If you do not like or do not get along with a tribal member, stay away from him or her.  You don’t have to fight and you don’t have to leave the tribe. We do not stop being Dominican or Puerto Rican because of disagreements with others or from our own birthright nations. We must learn peaceful coexistence.


10)        All people make mistakes. These can be corrected and forgiven. Continuation of the same mistake or behavior, however, will lead to expulsion.



11)   Children are our future. Be kind, loving, and giving. Teach them, show them. Explaining is key. As tribal people, we also look out for the welfare of each others’ children. Establish that bond with your tribal members so there are no future misunderstandings.


12)         Be truthful at all times. Be honest and direct. Our Southern relatives have a saying: “There are three Indian rules—don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t be lazy.”


13)           Make a conscious effort be responsible for your actions and in your decisions about how you will react to those who do not agree with you. Please re-read that sentence. Often we speak when we are upset or excited, which makes matters worse by our words and/or actions.


14)        Respect the privacy and space of others. Do not touch others’  personal property without permission.


15)   Respect others' religious beliefs and do not force your beliefs or views on others. Although Higuayagua follows Taino spiritual beliefs, we understand that there are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Wiccans, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., among us, too. We will not, cannot discriminate against them. How they choose to honor Creator is their business. We only ask that they not express their religious beliefs during Taino ceremony, social gatherings, or about our Taino research projects. Part of our mission is trying to understand our ancestral worldview. We do this by looking at the matter through unfiltered Taino lenses.


16)     Respect and consideration must be bestowed for those serving the community as Casike, Behike, Matunheri, Waxeri, Bahari, and Elders.  Native people have always treated elders with respect. It is a tradition that must be revived.


17)         Never walk between people who are conversing.


18)        Wait until you are acknowledged before speaking.


19)        Never interrupt when someone else is speaking. Wait until they are done before speaking.


20)       Speak in a soft clear voice. Do not yell.


21)         Do not speak unless invited to speak at gatherings or in Council.

Never speak about others in a hateful or negative way, whether they are present or not.


22)       RESPECT the wisdom of the people in the Council. Once you have spoken a complaint, idea, or solution. It is no longer yours alone. It belongs to the people and Council. Respect the ideas of others and listen to what others have to say. Once the Council has made a decision, respect the decision.

23)       Once the Council has decided something in unity, respect demands that no one speaks against the Council or the decision that was made.



It is important to understand that no decisions are made at the spur of the moment.  Councils are chosen carefully. We look for individuals who are fair and not swayed by emotions or personal loyalties to join our councils.


Cacike—Cacike have the last word in all decisions. They are the only ones who can overturn or over rule decisions. They alone pick the council members and instruct them. Cacike may overrule or disband councils, but councils cannot disband the cacike.  Councils are only disbanded if the Cacike feel that they have shown bias or favoritism in decisions regarding conflicts among members. Council members cannot choose sides but rather find solutions to the problems.


Utukuno Council—This council is composed of respected grandmothers, bibi. Their job is to settle disputes and misunderstandings among members when lower councils cannot resolve them. The Higuayagua way is to seek resolution and harmony, not animosity and strife.


Tekina Council—Tekina are the right and left hands of the Cacike. They are in charge of teaching new and old tribal members songs, dances, culture, etc. They are there to offer advice on CULTURE only.  Members with questions on spirituality may call upon them as well. They should not be burdened with problems. They are teachers. The Behike is also a part of the Tekina Council.

Tekinas will NOT be disbanded or relieved of duty UNLESS they have behaved in a way that is harmful or disrespectful to a member or the tribe. If this is the case, the Cacike, Behike, and Bibi will decide expulsion.


Behike—Behike are in charge of teaching and guiding tribal members in Spiritual matters.  People may approach them seeking advice or spiritual guidance. The Behike or Bohuti are not to be approached to resolve complaints or arguments. Behike are also in charge of training Bohuti.


Bohuti—Bohuti are healers who offer advice on healing. They are training to become Behike. They are there to HEAL the tribe, not as ADVOCATES for any individual members.


Bahari—Bahari are the personal advisors to the Cacike, Behike, and Tekina.


Council—The Council consists of chosen individuals who help Cacike with day-to-day operations. The Council is called up when situations or problems arise between or among members, or when decisions have to be made about day-to-day operations or projects. Council members must be fair-minded people. They must never take sides.  In resolving any situation, the council members always look for common middle ground between adversarial parties.  If there is a conflict of interest, that council member will be excused and someone else will be appointed to the council.


Witness—The Cacike have visible (public) and invisible (hidden) Witnesses who have been picked for their ability to stay neutral and report faithfully about how they perceive a situation. They do not vote, nor do they advise, they simply sit in during Council deliberations and give the Cacike an unbiased report of their perceptions.  The “invisible” Witnesses are those who travel throughout social media and report on the goings on within the larger Taino community and Native community in general.



Community Relations—Community Relations are tribal Community Liaisons. They are point-of contacts for our community members as well as contacts with community organizations, events, and services that can aid communities. They also offer hands-on assistance during meetings by being on hand to field any questions from members who are streaming our meetings.