José Barreiro

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José Barreiro (Cuba, 1948) is a Cuban-born American writer, journalist and former professor of Native American Studies at Cornell University. He is a member of the Taíno Nation of the Antilles.

Work with Smithsonian Institution[edit]

Barreiro currently serves as assistant director for history and culture research and also directs the Office for Latin America, at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. Barreiro was an early editor and contributor at Akwesasne Notes (1976–1984), during the years of Seneca luminary John Mohawk. At Akwesasne Notes, Barreiro led the human rights group, Emergency Response International Network. Later, he and Mohawk founded the Indigenous Peoples Network. Barreiro was an early organizer and communicator in the movement to introduce Western Hemisphere American Indigenous peoples and issues to United Nations.

Work at Cornell University[edit]

At Cornell, Barreiro was founding editor of Native Americas Journal (1995–2002). In 2003-2006, he redesigned and was Senior editor of Indian Country Today. He is also the editor of Indian Roots of American Democracy (1988), and the Cornell Akwe:kon series that included "Indian Corn of the Americas: Gift to the World," (1988) and "Chiapas: Challenging History," (1994). A book published in Cuba in 2001, the ethnographical testimony Panchito: Mountain Cacique, (Ediciones Catedral, Santiago de Cuba) is the first modern ethnography of a contemporary Taino-Guajiro community, and its leader. Barreiro's first novel, published in 1993 (republished 2012, Fulcrum Publishers) Taino: the Indian Chronicles, is presented as a pseudo-journal of the life of historical Diego Colon, a 12-year-old Taino whom Christopher Columbus takes with him to Spain in 1493, and who later returns to the Americas, where he supports the Taino resistance led by Guarocuya. A 2006 book of journalistic essays, America is Indian Country, based on editorials and commentaties from the publication, Indian Country Today, canvasses contemporary issues and personalities in Indian Country. Barreiro most recently edited the book, Thinking in Indian: A John Mohawk Reader," (Fulcrum, 2010).

See also[edit]


  • Kratzert, M. "Native American Literature: Expanding the Canon", Collection Building Vol. 17, 1, 1998, p. 4