It is difficult burying an elder, especially if the elder is a parent or a mentor. It is the natural order of things; however, and ultimately must be faced. In our culture, when a beloved and respected elder passes, they become an Ahau, or Spirit Voice / Ancestor.
A little over ten years ago, Arthur Joseph Kushner - an amazing man involved in the core of a myriad of cultures and communities - crossed orbits with the northern branch of the Matouac-Taino, who were noodling around, re-exploring and re-discovering the uppermost reaches of Manahatouac. Arthur, always playful, practical, and focused, happily joined in the Matouac adventure-eering, and, as things often happen, the lineage Tareigua and Arthur got wound around, and braided together. Arthur's interest in things Indigenous - started many moons pasada in California among the Karouk of the Klamath River - came home to roost in his Native New York, less than 100 miles north of where he was born and raised. At the time of his passing, Arthur was a Chuch'kahau in the Matouac-Taino lineage, and one of my head advisors. He was also a friend, a brother, and a father to my Guatiaos and I.
Arthur was beloved by our community, and is sorely missed. He has entered our oral tradition, and now, the written as well. As with everyone he encountered in his lifetime, his impact, influence, and watermarks are visible now, and will be for quite some time. His memory will not be forgotten on the rounded face of the Earth, and we Matouac-Taino will teach our children and grandchildren about him.
-Tareigua Behique Joaquin Quitze Coqui Raymundo Wesley Rodriguez-Jackson
Nissequogue-Matouac-Tainos House of Cacimarex