Boriken Warrior was officially registered and established on June 9th, 2004 on the island of Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of the United States of America. The island was originally named "Boriken" by it's original Native inhabitants, The Taino. Boriken Warrior began humbly with a request from several 9th grade students who were interested in High School portraits. However, their request was a bit unusual since they wanted their images based on the Hawaiian Culture. It was an unusual request but the photo shoot went well and produced excellent results.
I later discussed with my wife the reasons why the students desired their images based on another culture and not their own.
I thus began to investigate the Taino and their history and to my surprise I found that 1) The Native Taino Culture was not taught in Puerto Rico schools as much as the Hawaiianculture was taught in Hawaii 2) Much of the Puerto Rican people knew of the Taino but for some reason were just not as interested as one would think they would be. Many, in fact, were more interested in the spanish (Spain) culture 3) As far as Native Taino images were concerned, there was basically very little to be found on the Internet. The few images that were available where photographs of statues, hand crafts, paintings and drawings. The few actual photographs found were of very poor quality and portrayed the culture in a very unflattering manner.
I was born in the Panama Canal Zone, Panama in 1960, born into the military and lived in Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii and New York. One of my favorite periods in my life was as a teenager living in Ft. Totten, New York. I can still feel the summer heat and the cool winter air from those times. Of all the places I have been to, it is the friendships I made on that military base that have endured to this day. That life will forever be etched in my soul.
I entered the United States Army in 1979 at the age of 18 as a Huey helicopter mechanic (UH-1H Iroquoise). My duty assignments included the 498th Air Ambulance in Ft. Benning, Ga, as well as the 36th Engineer Group, also in Benning, the 7th CAB (Combat Aviation Battalion) in Ft. Ord, Ca, the 45th Transportation Co. at Camp Humphreys, Korea and the 25 Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. I have also been to Thailand and Honduras. Unfortunately, about the only fond memories I have of the military is during my tour in Hawaii. I am currently living in Los Rabanos, deep in the mountainous jungles of Puerto Rico.
My Top Ten Lists
Favorite Television Shows
1. Battlestar Galactica (New Version)
3. RedEye (FOX News)
4. The O'Reilly Factor (FOX News)
5. Glenn Beck (FOX News)
6. The Addams Family
7. Doctor Who
8. Space 1999
9. The Prisoner (Original Version)
1. Same Time Next Year
2. 2001 A Space Odyssey
3. Billy Jack (Entire Series)
4. Young Frankenstein
5. The Lathe of Heaven
6. Animal Crackers (Marx Bros)
7. Dr, Shivago
8. Forbidden Planet
9. Weird Science
10. Altered States
1. Animals- Pink Flayd
2. Abbey Road-The Beatles
3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road-Elton John
4. Chicago VII-Chicago
6. Dark Side of The Moon-Pink Floyd
8. Pet Sounds-Beach Boys
9. White Album-The Beatles
10. The Cross of Changes-Enigma
1. Strikeforce Morituri
2. Howard the Duck
3. Iron Man
4. Werewolf By Night
6. Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth
7. Power Factor
9. Groo The Wanderer
10. Captain America
1. Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
2. Onion Rings
4. New York Pizza
5. Bagel with Cream Cheese
6. Diet Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper
7. Bacon Cheesburger
1. Jack in the Box
2. White Castle
3. Anything Korean
4. Taco Bell
5. Captain D's
8. Godfathers Pizza
9. Bautistas (Pearlridge Mall, Hi)
Koa with Photo and Video Crew, Sea Life Park, Hawaii 2006
Koa with Mom, Dad, brother Jeff, sister Arlene and their
spouses and children. Camera shy: Samantha, Ron & Elizabeth
When you mention Hawaii, people immediately think of beautiful sandy beaches, palm trees, native women in grass skirts dancing the hula and of course, huge waves and surfing. When you mention the Taino people, you get a puzzled look. Who? Exactly! And that is how and why Boriken Warrior was born. The Taino has basically become a lost culture. A culture which is kept alive by a few organizations and individuals who value the contributions of their ancestors. And it is a pity that, from personal experience, the Taino culture is respected, admired and revered most by those living off the island of Boriken than those who live on the island itself.
Hight: 5' 7"
Birthday: 12 March, 1960
College: Associates Degree Leeward Community College/University of Hawaii
High School: Bayside High, Ny / Washingtonville H.S, Washingtonville, NY
Smoke: No, I am a non-smoker
Drink: No, I am a non-drinker
Political views: I am not a prograssive, liberal nor socialist. I do believe in what the United States Constitution stands for
Other: When I am not frowning, I love to laugh, kid around and just flat out make funny faces
Boriken Warrior Interview Part I
Boriken Warrior Interview Part II
A well known actress of Puerto Rican decent visited Puerto Rico and later did the talk show circuit to promote her new movie. During those interviews, the subject of the Taino Culture came up and in both instances she called the Taino "savages". And that is the attitude I aim to correct with my work. I am not perfect and have made mistakes, But I continue as best I can and I sincerely hope I am doing the culture justice.
One last note. Many people ask, "What is Boriken Warrior"? By the look of things, it is a photography studio. However, if you take a closer look, it is much more than that. Boriken Warrior is an entity which corrects and promotes the stereotype of the Taino. In fact, even though the company is photographically based, you may note that the photographic aspect is used as a tool and is actually a means to an end. Many people use the written word to disseminate the thoughts and feelings within their heart and soul. I use imagery to convey what is in mine. I hope, that by enjoying the images produced, you find a sense of respect, pride and honor for the Taino people and thus from within yourself. Somehow, I think we speak the same language. -Koa-
The task which I threw upon my shoulders was unforgiving. I had to learn about the Taino and I am still doing so to this day. Finding models for the work was very difficult at first. The first individuals to take a
of marvel that were the Taino. My desire was to create a world that not only replaced but surpassed the image whichpeople had of the culture But to my dismay many people, private and state organizations fought and dismissed me. This made the work very difficult.
Very few people offered to help and even fewer when asked. Many of these people and organizations were created to promote and educate the world about the Taino culture and it is to my dismay that they actually did the opposite. It's because of such negativity, closed mindedness, selfishness and the desire of some to actually steal the work that I decided to go this alone. To this day I am supported and encouraged by one official group dedicated to the Taino. Other than that, I do not depend nor do I desire to work with other organizations or government entities. The in-fighting among most is incredible and does nothing to propagate this beautiful race. I have close friends within the Taino community who's only desire is to help and get the word out. And to those I extend my most heartfelt "Thank You"!
My education came from many places but in particular, William H. Carr
in Whitestone, Ny , Bayside H.S. in Bayside, New York and Washingtonville H.S.,
Washingtonville in upstate New Yor k. I entered college for the first time at the
ripe old age of 36. I attended Leeward Community College in Pearl City, Hi and the
University of Hawaii, Manoa campus also in Hawaii. It was in Hawaii where I got
interested and eventually studied photography. I have many fond memories of LCC
It was at Leeward Community College (LCC) that I met my wife, Lilson Kristine and we have a lovely boy named Raven Akira. I also have to mention my daughter from a previous marriage, Samantha and my grand daughter, Elizabeth.
My parents are Salvador Feliciano Colon and Gladys Maria Burgos. My father was in the Army Infantry and pulled two tours in Vietnam. He was was wounded during his second tour and was awarded the Purple Heart. My mother pulled double duty with us kids when he was gone. I would not be where I am today if not for their love and support. I have a brother who is a Sergeant First Class and a recruiter for the United States Army. He and his family are currently based in Puerto Rico. My sister is a math teacher at the local high school.
Koa with wife Lilson and son Raven Akira
Upon investigating further, I found that the Taino Culture was special and in fact had just as much and if not more history than the Hawaiian culture. Looking at the students request, I could see and even forgive them for choosing another culture. Considering the attention their own people were receiving, I could see why they chose to go "Hawaiian".
chance on me were a Godsend. They worked in difficult, hot and humid terrain but the images produced were nothing short of spectacular which was what I was hoping for. In making these images, it was a primary goal of mine to produce work that would do anyone associated with the culture proud. My intention was to produce images that did not portray the Taino as backwardssavages. In essence, portray the beauty, pride, innocence,love and the sense