locally referred to as Apetina, was
established between 1938 and 1942 as a result of a mass exodus of
the Wayana tribe from Brazil. Existing tribal warfare in Brazil
compelled many Wayanas to seek increased chances of survival in
neighboring Guyana and Suriname. Tribe members traveled from the
Paru River in Northern Brazil, over the Tumuchumac Mountain Ridge
on the Southern border of Suriname, into the Palumeu River, finally
setting up close to 70 small camps along the Tapanahoni River.
Chief Kananoe Apetina and his family of three wives and five children established the small camp settlement, Pļrėuimė, by the Tapanahoni River in an effort to more easily facilitate trade with the Maroon tribes.
In the 1960s, missionaries arrived in the area spreading Christianity as an organized religion and establishing a medical post.
They later brought medicines that cured many
of the diseases
resulting from increased contact with the Maroons and
European expeditions. The medical post also attracted more Wayana tribe members, which led to a significant increase
of the population in this camp settlement and its
ultimate development into a village. Currently, 500 Wayanas
and 5 members from the Trio tribe live in Apetina.
The interior village of Apetina is home
to the Wayana Tribe. As researched by Karen Hough in The
Expression and Perception of Space in Wayana, the name Wayana,
by which they are known today, is in reality a collective name for
several ethnic groups
including the Upului, Opagwana and the
Kuku(i)yana, the Fire-fly People, who are known as the original
Wayana (Boven, 2006: 59)
A day in the life of a typical Wayana man or woman today includes throwing open the leaf-thatched doors of their homes at 4 a.m. to participate in an early-morning tradition of socialization. At 6 a.m. responsibilities resume, with the women in charge of food processing, cooking, agriculture, and cleaning, and the men tending to hunting and fishing. With the recent development of the Openbare School Kananoe Apetina in October 2006, children currently follow
the new lifestyle of attending school on weekday mornings. Without electricity, the day ends early. By 8p.m. most members of this village are sleeping soundly under the brilliant constellations of the night sky.
Almost all villagers wear western clothing and attend church on Sunday afternoon customs introduced by the missionaries. Still, with the daily weaving of hammocks, whittling of crafts, cooking of cassava and creation of hand-made jewelry, the rich culture of the Wayana tribe filters through the gaping holes of the 21st century.
In addition, early marriage practices, which include young men joining the bride's family, burial customs, and the preservation of the Wayana language are also a continuation of the traditional Wayana way of life.
Apetina.org - product of Suriname Environmental Advisory Services & Kuluwayak organization - design by Reshma Kirpalani