LV is my grandmother, who was born in Moca, Puerto Rico. Her father was from Aguadila, Puerto Rico. Her mother was from Moca, Puerto Rico. Moca is a small town that’s 50 miles away from the major cities. It’s known for its landscapes and agriculture. LV lived there until she was 17 years old and now resides in Chicago, Illinois. She only speaks Spanish, but the following is translated into English in literal form.
DO (Interviewer): Thank you for telling me so many stories from your childhood. Do you have any from later on that you remember. Maybe specifically ones about Moca.
LV: La Cacica, Ana (The Female Chief, Ana).
DO: What did Ana do?
LV: She was a leader of the Taíno who fought against them when they came.
DO: Who are “they”?
LV: The Spanish. The conquistadors. Ana was known as being powerful. She used her knowledge to outsmart them, but she was also smart. She fought them hard. She led the fights and she won. But, they got her. And she died. Many say she still wanders the forests. The ones you see right about the town.
DO: Why was Ana’s story one that you remembered?
LV: She taught me pride. I was proud to be from Moca. I was proud to be morenita (translates to brown-skinned). I was proud to be a woman. She believed in fighting for what is right. There is a festival to honor her now.
As my grandmother said, this legend is one of pride and honor. Ana represented the Taínos who often get overlooked in modern Puerto Rican culture or stories. When Spain came to conquer Puerto Rico and its land, people like Ana’s character stood up in the midst of oppression. There is a festival that happens every year to showcase Moca’s culture and history, and Ana is celebrated. This legend encourages resistance, resilience, and pride in not only the town but in its Taíno roots. While the Spanish may have conquered Puerto Rico, stories like these teach the importance of remembering those who fought for the island. Today Puerto Rico still struggles to gain independence and representation, allowing characters like Ana de Moca to serve as an inspiration even in modern times.