by Carmen Ruggero
They were peaceful. They were called the Guaraní.
They were peaceful, the natives called Guaraní.
Without warning, their savage blast fell
Anahí leaped to her tribe’s defense — strong,
Torches flaring, weapons drawn, crosses waving,
She fought. She was strong; they were many.
She endured in silence — no tears — no moans,
[Author’s note] The Guaraní lived in the Paraná delta of Argentina. The Spanish attacks on them are a historical fact.
Men were enslaved and forced into labor. Women were captured and raped, the result of which gave birth to the Argentine Mestizo — half native, half white. The belief was that the combination of Natives’ physical strength and the Whites’ taller stature would create a stronger working class. These children were later abandoned by the Spaniards.
The legend goes on to say that on the morning following Anahí’s agonizing death, a tree possessing her qualities grew on the very spot she died. Its name in Spanish is Ceibo or Seibo — the coral tree. It has hardy brown limbs, a soft interior, and red blossoms.
On the 24th day of November of 1942, the Ceibo was declared the national flower of Argentina.
Copyright © 2006 by Carmen Ruggero