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The Amerindians of St. Ignatius Village

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This article was first created on the 22nd of December 2014 and last updated on the 16th of January, 2016 by Patrick Carpen.

Categories: Guyana, Amerindians in Guyana, Amerindian Culture, People and Places, Civilizations, Diminishing Amerindian Culture.

This article is a response to an article by an Amerindian writer where he asks, “Can our culture survive in ever changing world?” See:

My response: I think “Amerindian, black, white and all races and cultures are only “temporary human conditions” and it is changing all the time, or moving from one place to the other.

It’s been over one year since I’ve been living in the Rupununi Savannahs of Guyana and my experience has been a mostly beautiful one. The Rupununi Savannahs is populated mainly by Amerindians, but many of them are not pure Amerindians: they are mixed with other races, such as the black race, the Portuguese, the white and the East Indian races.

I have found the people of the Rupununi to be warm and friendly, entertaining and fun loving. Naturally, there will be slight differences between the different cultures and races, but the difference is just that: slight.

As I may have mentioned before, the inherent characteristics, dreams, thought processes, fears and desires of all people across the globe appear to be basically the same.

Related: People are the same everywhere.

I remember mentioning in one of my business projects articles that the Amerindians (that I knew at that time) are not commercially oriented: they don’t seek to exploit resources to make a profit.

Related: To Exploit is not such a bad verb.

They’re not in a hurry to sell stuff available to them. This was my observation some time in the past when interacting with people from an Amerindian community – St. Cuthbert’s Mission. But it seems like all this is changing slowly, or in fact, very rapidly.

Related: Myara’s encounter with a Zombie.

In fact, it’s my observation that the Amerindians of the Rupununi are now going through what the East Indians of Berbice were going through about twenty years ago: they’re struggling to get a grip of the socio-economic ladder.

Related: Nothing Ever Changes.

I remember while chatting with my Amerindian friend Myara, she told me that Amerindians no longer walk long distances they used to: they prefer to go with car even five minutes away.

Today, Dec 22 2014, I rode my bicycle about twenty miles back from the center of the Brazilian city of Bom Fim. As I entered Lethem, the sun was so blazing hot, and my skin was so scorching, that I headed straight to a nearby creek to cool my engines down. But first I needed something to eat. I saw a fruit stand nearby and I headed straight to it. Behind it was a group of Amerindian folks. They were selling all kinds of fruits and I bought some really big slices of watermelon and gulped them all down. This fruit stand business struck me as a step in the commercial direction for the Amerindians, and one that illustrated a “moving away” from traditional Amerindian way of life.

The Loss of Natural Eating Habits.

I was shocked when Valtony walked into the lobby of Takutu Hotel one day rubbing his belly and complaining of ‘burn stomach’. He was an Amerindian guy, and my initial impression was that Amerindians (because of their natural lifestyles), were so “naturally strong” and able to survive in nature that they were above and beyond “burn stomach”.

As I expressed this view to Roger, the chef, he said “your initial views are correct, but the Amerindians are stepping out into the world of ‘curry and masala’ and all things of the more civilized races and consequently they are becoming more susceptible to the same ailments experienced by other races”.

Related: You Are What You Eat.

This morning at the Bus station, I met Peter, who runs the KUMU WATERFALLS. His work is to keep the area clean, organized and presentable for both local visitors and tourists, and he charges a small fee for entry into the falls area. He mentioned some of his challenges and his struggle to keep the business going. Today, I see many Amerindians with big businesses and many of them moving around in cars, trucks and land cruisers. Over 90 % of Amerindian teens in the Rupununi Savannas utilize the resources of the internet. It would appear that our indigenous counterparts from the Rupununi are taking leaps and bounds into the world of commercialization. According to my observations, the Amerindians of Guyana are not resistant to change in the direction of more advanced civilizations. In fact, they are very susceptible to it.

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