Roberto Múkaro Borrero is an internationally respected human rights advocate, consultant, writer, musician, and artist. His unique perspectives draw from multiple sources including his own Indigenous Taíno heritage, mentorship from Indigenous leaders and elders from around the world, and real-time experience in the arts, as well as verifiable frontline human rights and environmental advocacy.
With over twenty-five years of experience working with non-profit/non-governmental organizations, including over a decade of experience as Senior Programs Coordinator for Public Programs in the Education Department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Borrero maintains a vibrant, diverse resource network locally, nationally, and internationally among Indigenous Peoples, civil society, business, and governmental sectors.
Whether speaking out on human rights issues or focusing on policy development, organizational strategy, event production, or cultural protocols, Borrero has shared his expertise in various capacities throughout the United Nations system, as well as with numerous and prominent, non-profit and for-profit entities such as PBS; BBC; the Institute for American Indian Studies; El Museo de Barrio; Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources; Tribal Link Foundation; International Indian Treaty Council; Aveda Corporation; Natural Resources Stewardship Circle; the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, Raindrop Games; Jamaica Center for Arts and Culture (JCAL), Schaghticoke First Nations, PTM Foundation, Shift7, and the Center for Earth Ethics, among others.
Borrero participated in and directly engaged in the stakeholder negotiation processes of the United Nations and the Organization of American States Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; the World Summit on the Information Society; UN Conference on Small Island Developing States; and the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
On behalf of the International Indian Treaty Council, he served as the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change's North American Indigenous Delegation Coordinator to the UNFCCC's COP21 held in Paris, 2015. In 2018, supported by Indigenous Peoples from around the world, he served as a co-moderator for the historic first activity of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform under the UNFCCC, an outcome of the UNFCCC's Paris Agreement. Borrero also served as co-convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals from 2014-2018. At the request of the IITC, in 2021, he resumed this role.
At the local and regional level, Borrero has and continues to serve on several organizational boards and community-based committees such as the United Confederation of Taíno Peoples (UCTP); International Indian Treaty Council; Indigenous Portal; Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO); Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP); Indigenous Peoples Day NYC Coordinating Committee; Peoples Climate March NYC, Indigenous Organizing Committee, 2014; Peoples Climate March, Washington D.C., Indigenous Organizing Committee, 2017; Indigenous Peoples March, Washington D.C., 2019 Organizing Committee; NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Friends of Brook Park, and others.
His trail-blazing artwork and music continue to have international appeal and his 1994 album, Dance of the Mountain people was the first full-length traditional style, indigenous Taíno music recording to ever be released. Borrero has appeared on radio, television, and film. He was a host and producer on WBAI's Circle of Red Nations 1998-2000, part of the Pacifica Broadcasting Network. He's been quoted in the NY Times, Mother Jones, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Smithsonian Magazine; YES!, National Geographic News, Indian Country Today, and other prominent news media publications.
Borrero is a citizen of the Guainía Taíno Tribe and is counted among the verifiable pioneers of the international Taíno cultural resurgence movement. His family lineage, paternal and maternal, comes from the island of Borikén (Puerto Rico). The traditional homelands of the Taíno extend through the Greater Antilles to the South tip of Florida in the U.S. Borrero is an active traditional ceremonial participant and leader, as well as the founder of the Kasibahagua Taíno Cultural Society and co-founder of the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos, both established in 1994. In 2012, he was traditionally sanctioned a kasike (chief) of the Guainía Taíno tribal community.
Resume or CV available upon request
Education and Selected Awards
Roberto Múkaro Borrero
Kayiwa International University, Kampala, Uganda, 2013
Doctorate Degree, Philosophy in Humanities, honoris causa
Comité Noviembre, 2013
Lo Mejor De Nuestra Comunidad Award
National Endowment for the Humanities, 2001-2002
Humanities Scholar in Residence
Did You Know?
Facts on File: Roberto Múkaro Borrero
Indigenous Taíno Music Pioneer
Roberto Múkaro Borrero recorded "Dance of the Mountain People: Music of the Taíno Indian" in 1994. This was the first-ever full album recording of traditional style Taíno music made by an actual Taíno descendant anywhere in the world. This premier contribution to Taíno cultural arts continues to influence and inspire other community members to take on similar initiatives.
Speaking before United Nations General Assembly
On March 1, 2014, the UN General Assembly held a high-level discussion on the theme, "The Contributions of Women, the Young and Civil Society to the Post-2015 Development Agenda". On behalf of the International Indian Treaty Council, Roberto Múkaro Borrero was selected to address the theme, making him the first Taíno and one of a handful of Indigenous Peoples representatives to address this august body as a featured speaker during a high-level session at United Nations Headquarters at that time.
Spirits of the Jaguar: Film Consultation
Roberto Múkaro Borrero, along with Elba Anakaona Lugo, was a consultant for the PBS/BBC documentary entitled Spirits of the Jaguar: Hunters of the Caribbean Sea. Lugo, Borrero, and other Taíno community members from Borikén also appeared in the film. As a result of their inclusion as consultants for the film, this was the first contemporary mainstream documentary that did not refer to the indigenous Taíno people as extinct.
El Museo del Barrio: Taíno Exhibition
In 1997, El Museo del Barrio in New York launched a groundbreaking exhibition on Taíno culture entitled "Taino: Pre-Columbian Art and Culture from the Caribbean." Roberto Múkaro Borrero was retained by the museum to contribute materials for the portion of the exhibition that highlighted contemporary Taíno people and culture. This was the first time contemporary Taíno people were included in a major museum exhibition. Borrero's contribution was a collaboration with photographer Holger Thoss, which featured photos of Taíno descendants from throughout the island of Borikén (Puerto Rico).
UN Indigenous Peoples Day Master of Ceremonies
The United Nations proclaimed the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples in 1994. The first historic commemoration of the United Nations International Day was held on August 9th, 1995 at UN Headquarters in New York. Roberto Múkaro Borrero was the first Master of Ceremonies of this event and continued in this prominent role for a decade.
Radio Host & Producer
In 1998, Roberto Múkaro Borrero joined the Circle of Red Nations Radio show as a co-host and co-producer with Gustavo Raven Silva. The show aired on the Pacifica Radio Network on New York's WBAI. This was the first and only American Indian radio show in the New York metropolitan area at the time.
"The International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI) would like to thank you for your time and contributions during the virtual training session on the Generation Equality Forum and High-Level Political Forum to FIMI’s AYNI Fund Partners in Africa on May 11, 2021. We were honored to count on your expertise and leadership in advancing the rights of Indigenous Women and Girls. We are fortunate to be able to partner with you and we look forward to continuing working together to advocate for the rights of Indigenous Women in decision making platforms. Your contributions are invaluable and we truly appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge and expertise."