Researchers have started to reconstruct the genomes of individuals from an extinct indigenous population known as the Taino, who lived in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and Lesser Antilles before the Caribbean was colonized by Spanish settlers in the 1500s. The Taino population appears to have become extinct within around 100 years after they came into contact with Europeans...The team found genomic patterns that corresponded to the three-way European, African, and Taino ancestry that exists in the Puerto Rican population...The overall sequence patterns in the Puerto Rican genomes point to a rapid decline in the Taino population...as evidenced by a pulse of Taino ancestry that seems to have percolated down through the Puerto Rican population over time.
I am no expert on the politics of Taino identity. I understand in basic terms that the "extinction" of Taino is contested, and that there are individuals and groups that identify in some way as Taino, or as indigenous to Puerto Rico. What this article says to me is that we are to take the presence of genetic ancestry in "Puerto Rican genomes" from Africa and Europe in greater percentage as meaning that Taino don't exist. Not that having genetic ancestry alone from pre-contact indigenous groups (especially absent social affiliations) should be conflated with an indigenous identity. But what is interesting about this article is that I've seen scientific communities also conflate in that way too. These correlations of genetic population with cultural group identity just seem so arbitrary.
And one more question: aside from a purported decimation of Taino identity, what does the "extinction" narrative do, and how does it fit with a narrative of amalgamation or mestizo identity? That's a genuine question. If anyone out there is writing about the cultural politics of Taino genome research, please comment here with links.