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.

While the name of this village is officially registered as Pļrėuimė, it is commonly referred to as, Apetina.  This name was established by the pilots who used to refer to the village by the name of Chief Apetina, rather than the tongue-twisting pronunciation of Pļrėuimė. Indeed, all visitors used to only have contact with the chief of the community, thereby encouraging the prolific reference to this village as: 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