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Thread: Amerindians in Guyana

  1. #1
    Registered User Seawall's Avatar Seawall is offline
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    Amerindians in Guyana

    Real 100% Amerindians!










    The Wai Wai Tribe Guyana Then And Now
    The Wai Wai Tribe
    by Peter Halder

    The Wai Wai is now an endangered Amerindian tribe in Guyana. In 2007, according to International Cry online website, there were only 240 Wai Wai left in Guyana.

    Amerindian Tribes
    The Wai Wai is one of nine indigenous Amerindian tribes in Guyana. The others include the Patamona, Arecuna, Macusi, Wapisiana, Carib, Warrau, Arawak and Akawaio.

    Meaning
    Wai Wai means “tapioca people” and they were given that name because of the enormous amount of the tapioca (cassava) they eat.

    Early History
    The Wai Wai people and its tribal territory were discovered by the famous explorer R. Schomburgk during his exploration of the province of Essequibo in 1837.

    Religion
    U.S. Protestant Missionaries established a permanent Christian Mission near the Wai Wai tribal area in the 1950s. The Paramount Chief of the Wai Wai and his tribe converted to Christianity by the end of the 1950s.



    Location
    The Wai Wai live in small remote villages in the southernmost tropical forest of Guyana. They migrated from Brazil in the early 19th century and their population increased to some 1,250. As the tribe expanded , so too did trade and marriage contracts. When the Protestant Mission was established, nearly all the Wai Wai relocated near to it. In the 1970s, due to the uprising in the Rupununi area and events that followed, there was massive re-migration of the Wai Wai back to Brazil. By 1989, there was only one major tribal area remaining.

    Dialect
    The Wai Wai dialect is similar to that of the Carib. The Umana Yana Amerindian structure in Kingston, Georgetown, is a Wai Wai word meaning “meeting place.”

    Tribal Land
    Their tribal land, to which they hold title, covers about some 2,300 square miles. The area is known as Konashen and includes the headwaters of the mighty Essequibo River.
    The paramount Chief of the people is the Kayaritomo. The Medicine Man is called a Yaskomo.

    Culture
    The Wai Wai is an artistic tribe that makes beautiful baskets and many other craft, including pottery, woven combs, bone flutes, bows and arrows, blow guns, graters, beaded aprons and necklaces.
    Their traditional dances are known for imitating the movements and calls of various forest animals and birds.

    Livelihood
    The Wai Wai have a subsistence way of life. It is based on farming, hunting and fishing. The cycle of dry and rainy seasons produce plenty during the former and scarcity during the latter. Their main farming crops are bitter tapioca (cassava) used to make bread (cassava bread), farina, casareep and drink (pywari and cassiri). They also plant fruit trees, arrow cane and cotton. The forest provides building material, wild fruits and nuts. The men hunt with arrows, bows, trained dogs and sometimes shotguns. Their meat supply comes from the wild cow, wild hog, labba, accouri, deer and wild fowl. Many varieties of fish are caught.
    In 2007, during the second Latin American Parks Congress, the Wai Wai tribe of Guyana declared their land a “Community Owned Conservation Area” The tribe has banned mining and logging from their land in the tropical forest in remote southern Guyana near the Brazil border. They have pledged to pursue a sustainable economic strategy based on eco-tourism, research and traditional crafts. The paramount aim of the people is the preservation of their culture. Some of the tribe plan to become Forest Rangers. “We have always been keepers of the forest that support us, “ said the Kayaritomo.
    Wai Wai Fire Starter


    Major Events
    One major event for the Wai Wai was when the Governor-General of Canada, Sir Roland Michener, visited them in the 1970s. A Guyana Foreign Service Officer who was with the delegation said it was a surprise when the visitors discovered that the Wai Wai had evolved an indigenous religion, based on Christianity, which they called the “Hallelujah Religion.” He also said that when a block of ice was unloaded from the aircraft that took the official delegation to Konashen, a Wai Wai put his hand on the ice, shouted, withdrew it quickly and fell to the ground in reverence. The Wai Wai had never seen ice before.
    Another had to do with the church which served the area. The Chief requested a piano for the church from a British citizen who visited the tribe. A Grand Piano was flown by BWIA to Guyana in 2000. The 800-lb piano was then transported by Skyvan to near Konashen and then, while still in the crate, was dragged to the church where it was later installed.

    Amerindians of Guyana
    The Amerindians in Guyana, called “Children of the Forest” number 55,000 and their population is expanding. They live in 120 communities in the hinterland, mainly in : Region 1 – Barima/Waini;
    Region 7 – Cuyuni/Mazaruni;
    Region 8 – Potaro/Siparuni; and
    Region 9 – Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo.

    The tribal distribution is as follows:
    Region 1 – Warrau/Arawak/Carib;
    Region 7 – Akawaio/Arecuna;
    Region 8 – Patamona/ Macusi;
    Region 9 – Macusi/Wapisiana/ Wai Wai.


    Sources:
    Every Culture
    International Cry
    Guyana News and Information
    "Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor." — Frantz Fanon

  2. #2
    SweetfuhDayz agroDOLCE's Avatar agroDOLCE is offline
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    nice! a former professor of mine studied the wai wai. he wrote a book about them too. i did some undergrad study (ethnography) of the macusi/macushi/macusi) in surama and annai. i'll see if i can find some pics to post. i probably have to scan them in. LOL

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    DI GENERAL Dr Insane's Avatar Dr Insane is offline
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    nice read

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    Earth Angel dollbabi's Avatar dollbabi is offline
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    Thanks for sharing. I hope to visit Guyana at some point and their cultures are a major aspect of the nation that i would like to experience.

  5. #5
    NaturalBornRidah
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seawall View Post
    Real 100% Amerindians!



    Location
    The Wai Wai live in small remote villages in the southernmost tropical forest of Guyana. They migrated from Brazil in the early 19th century and their population increased to some 1,250. As the tribe expanded , so too did trade and marriage contracts. When the Protestant Mission was established, nearly all the Wai Wai relocated near to it. In the 1970s, due to the uprising in the Rupununi area and events that followed, there was massive re-migration of the Wai Wai back to Brazil. By 1989, there was only one major tribal area remaining.
    Interesting.

    I used to be roommates with a female who's Amerindian side of her family migrated to Guyana from Colombia.She was mostly East Indian though.I wonder if there is more Amerindians who migrated to GT from other countries.

  6. #6
    SweetfuhDayz agroDOLCE's Avatar agroDOLCE is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. Vega View Post
    Thanks for sharing. I hope to visit Guyana at some point and their cultures are a major aspect of the nation that i would like to experience.
    when you go, let me know. i want to come with. this time i want to see the kaieteur falls.

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    Banned Daddy V. is offline
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    big up g.t

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    Registered User MR HYPE's Avatar MR HYPE is offline
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    my family originated from the Region 7 area...place called tiger creek....

    i am part amerindian...

  9. #9
    dev
    Registered User dev is offline
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    good read..impressive.
    "What kind of mirror image do you have of yourself?"


    "TAWK YUH TAWK, DOAN BODDER ME. TAWK DOAN BUY GROCERIES."

  10. #10
    SweetfuhDayz agroDOLCE's Avatar agroDOLCE is offline
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    Umana Yana in GT--built by the Wai Wai. i read somewhere that they used no nails to construct the benab. Umana yana is wai wai for "meeting place of people."

    i tried to find pics of the inside, but they are copyrighted. it's pretty big inside.


  11. #11
    Lioness on the rise anagirldee's Avatar anagirldee is offline
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    interesting!
    "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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