The Taíno term and concept has traditionally been used as a designation of some form of cultural identity for the groups that occupied the Greater Antilles at the time of contact. This perspective assumes that these groups shared a cultural background because of a common ancestry. However, this position has been questioned in recent years, and many problems with the concept have been brought to light. This article presents the history of the concept and discusses three recent studies that have proposed new ways to approach the problem. It ends by presenting the implications of this new perspective for future research, their limitations, how they may be misapplied, and to what extent they are applicable in different situations.

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