Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Joyce Kubiski

Second Advisor

Nicholas Andreadis

Third Advisor

Juan Tavares


This thesis focuses on three Greater Antillean artifacts used in Taino shamanism. Because this Native group is preliterate , materi~l culture is particularly important when studying their way of life and belief system. The duho , the purging stick, and the zemi are all decorated objects from pre-Columbian Caribbean culture , and are analyzed for their symbolism and purpose in the cohoba ceremony , performed by a Taino behique , or healing man. When Columbus first landed on what he thought to be a New World , the Taino were the first indigenous people he encountered . Disease and mistreatment almost eradicated their gene pool and their traditions and beliefs suffered greatly due to a sudden decrease in population. While there is still much left to understand about the Taino people , this study attempts to summarize the uses of these three particular objects based on physical observations of the artifacts themselves, analysis of primary sources , and other scholarly works dealing with the life of the behique and the spiritual world they believed to be living in.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted