Telford Taylor – A Hero of the Lokono-Arawak Tribal Nation! by Damon CorrieTweet
Every Lokono-Arawak of Pakuri Territory knows the name of Telford Taylor, he has been a living legend for YEARS, but the world knows Telo (as we who love him call him) as a Great Wood Sculpting Artist, he made THE largest woodcarving ever done by an Amerindian in the recorded history of Guyana (the Totem Pole you see above), fewer are those of us who know him as a Great Warrior as well, for Telo was the ONLY Amerindian in the history of Guyana to receive military training (for one year) in North Korea in 1980 – 1981 under the late founder/leader Kim Il Sung – when Telo was in the Jaguar Battalion of the Guyana Army at the time.
Since I am the only one who benefitted from private military lessons from BOTH our great military minds – Ernest Courtney Simon (aka ‘Rami’) – who had the most combat experience of any Lokono-Arawak Warrior in recent memory from his 2 years fighting in the bloody Suriname Guerrilla War (which lasted from 1986-1992), and Telford Taylor – who had the most formal combat training of any Lokono-Arawak Warrior in recent memory…I feel it is my place to shed some light on this lesser known – but equally valid and important side of the man, the legend – we know as ‘Telo’ Taylor.
In our many talks I recall Telo laughing when he heard talk of ’10 to 1 odds’, because based on his military training in North Korea – 10 urban coastlander/foreign soldiers against him in a jungle warfare setting (where Telo was THE expert) was ‘unfair odds to the 10’ – because ‘they would not survive 24 hours before he killed them all one by one”….and indeed the tactics he taught me (when put to experimental practice in tests among fellow Farareeno) proved his insight to be 100% accurate.
I recall once some years ago – when Telo’s brother got a fish hook stuck in the skin of his belly, Telo pulled the skin with the imbedded hook and sliced the flesh off with a hunting knife (Telo always had a knife on him – just in case)…because it was easier to do – than to try to get a hook out of skin.
I recall too the one occasion when Telo ‘almost’ killed me with his hunting knife, it was an honest mistake, it was a Heritage Day celebration in the early 1990’s, an urban coastlander (non-Amerindian) Guyanese Policeman was on our territory of Pakuri, and this Policeman felt to himself that because he had a uniform and a gun, that he could ‘bully’ the natives around him and get away with it.
The Policeman began to hurl insults about ‘stupid Buck people’… not realizing several hard core warriors were near him, my brother-in-law among them – and he had heard enough – no outsider is going to come onto OUR land on OUR special day and push us around like sheep, so my brother in law smashed a coke bottle (made of glass in those days) on the Policeman’s forehead, when the Policeman saw his blood flowing his eyes opened wide and he reached for his gun – another warrior (I forget who) kicked the gun out of the Policeman’s hand – and the Policeman ran for his life (not so tough anymore without his gun obviously) – our Chief at that time was His Excellency Ernest Dundas, and Chief ran behind the Policeman and grabbed him from behind in a bear-hug to throw him down on the sand – this was to save the Policeman’s life because he was running right towards the house of 6 hot tempered warriors who had the look in their eyes that a Cat about to snuff out the life of a fleeing mouse has.
The foolish Policeman tries to use a broken piece of glass bottle to stab our Chief instead of staying quiet and letting the Chief save his life…THAT was when war cries rang out through the village, Telford came rushing towards the scene of the commotion – ever ready to defend his people with his life, I was observing the drama unfold and thinking about retrieving my father-in-laws shotgun – fully-well expecting this night to end up in a shootout as Police Reinforcements could arrive in our village within an hour if not ambushed on the trail in.
The Sun was setting now as Telford leaped in ‘full combat mode’ from the side of the co-op shop to my left with hunting knife drawn and caught me off-guard – and with his blade inches from me I had to shout “TELO IT IS ME DAMON!” (he did not recognise me as I had my face covered with black war paint that evening and was in camo uniform) as I was looking at our Chief and the crowd of warriors descending on the Policeman with arrows drawn in their bows, some had spears, some had cutlasses etc, then suddenly the Chief shouted out at everyone to GET BACK NOW!…..all the men obeyed and stood down, the Policeman was probably pissing in his pants in fear, the Chief raised the Policeman up and took him into his house for safety, until his Police vehicle could pick him up and rush him out of our village – before someone decided to kill him anyway.
However, even more than being a great artist and warrior, Telford Taylor has always been a great Diplomat for the tribe, he has met with more foreign Ambassadors as a member of Tribal Council Governments over many decades – than anyone else alive, our greatest sports sponsorships breakthroughs were due in great measure to the tireless efforts of Telford Taylor, so I teach all the young people in the tribe that I get a chance to speak to….to always remember what Telo has done for us over the years, and give this great HERO of our people ALL the love and respect he so justly deserves! I have made posters of ‘General Telo of the Lokono-Arawak Tribal Nation’ in his camo uniform with knife in hand, and provide them free of cost to any tribal member who requests one.
I am proud and honored to call YOU my brother, my teacher, and my wife & children’s blood relative Telo! Your name will live on among the Lokono-Arawak people FOREVER!