Bigi Poika American Indian village

This video says about itself:

In the face of global development, Indigenous people in Suriname speak out about human rights. This was created for the Organization of Indigenous People in Suriname and taken to the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), April 2008.

Suriname, 15 February.

After the Hannover savanna, to Bigi Poika village.

It is a Carib Native American village; on the border between the marshy coastal region and the savanna belt.

We meet the village council, consisting of the young male chief, two other men and one woman.

Every five years, there are council elections. Last year, there were two competing slates, of which the electorate chose the younger people.

The village has now about 365 inhabitants; with about half of the original bigger number now working in Paramaribo. Or gone to Paramaribo for education: there is no high school in the village. The people staying in the village make a meagre living from small-scale agriculture and a bit of hunting and fishing. Mainly subsistence: if they catch a fish, they usually eat it themselves.

The chief says education should be improved. Health care should improve as well.

So should communication and tourism.

He himself had only three years of post-primary school, and things should become better for the next generation. The language at the village primary school is Dutch. However, the chief would like the Carib language to play a role there as well. Later, in the Marowijne district, other Indians, speakers of (another dialect of) Carib, say the same.

Biology lessons are included in the primary school: in the final year, twice a week.

A great kiskadee in the village. A swallow-tailed kite flying above it.

An older villager tells about the history of Bigi Poika. Bigi Poika (Sranan Tongo language) is a name given by city people; the original American Indian name is Akarani.

The village was founded about 1708, by Indian refugees from the coastal region who did not want to become slaves. It was founded around two then very young trees at close distance from each other. Today, these are still there, now as very big trees of the same size.

Before 1968, if people wanted to go to Paramaribo, they had to row for three days before reaching the nearest bus stop. In 1968, a road to the village was made. It is in bad condition, much to the discontent of the inhabitants.

Most of the people are Roman Catholic, a minority being Pentacostalist. In the Roman Catholic church, songs are sung both in Dutch and Carib.

There are two shops in the village.

Among the animals living around the village are bushmaster snake, teju lizard, green iguana, tapir, jaguar, and opossum.

4 thoughts on “Bigi Poika American Indian village

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