The Amerindians are descendants of the original inhabitants of Guyana. Most of them live in tribal groups in the coastal regions and others inland. The term 'tribe' is used as a linguistic definition not a political one.
The coastal tribes The coastal tribes are the Caribe, Arawak, and Warao whose names are derived from the three main families of Guyanese Amerindian language.

    During the 19th century the Caribe tribe numbers dropped dramatically but there are still large Arawak and Warao communities near the Pomeroon and Courantyne rivers.

The Amerindians living in the interior are split into 7 tribes: Akawaio, Arekuna, Barima River Caribe, Macusi, Patamona, Waiwai,and Wapisiana. The Barima River Caribe, Akawaio, Arekune and Patamona tribes live in the river valleys of west Guyana. Two Amerindian groups live in the savannah region of Rupununi: the Macusi in the northern half and the Wapisiana in the south. The Waiwai live in the southernmost point near where the essequibo river rises. All the Amerindian tribes of the Interior speak using language derived from the Caribe group., except the Wapisiana who speak an Arawak tongue.

  On the threshold of the 1990s all the Amerindian tribes had undergone a certain loss of cultural identity, mainly in the coastal regions. Because of this, many now share a way of life with the underprivileged peoples of Guyana, namely those of African and Indian origin. Many cross-culture marriages have accentuated this tendency. The Waiwai and Barima River Caribe tribes are certainly the best examples of this loss of cultural identity.

Making coffee.
Making manioc bread.
Cooking bread.
Amerindian Father and sons
Amerindian girl.
Schoolgirls on the pontoon.
Cutter family on the Barima river. Amerindian boy and mixed race girl.
Click on the photos to see enlargements


One could say that most of the Amerindians have been affected by the contrasting European civilisation for many years but that they are now, one way or another, a part of this culture.



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Last update: 20/09/02 11:43