Ndyuka people

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Ndyuka
Tropenmuseum Royal Tropical Institute Objectnumber 10031753 Groepsportret van Aukaner Marrons in.jpg
Regions with significant populations
Languages
Ndyuka
Related ethnic groups
Akan and Ghanaian
Maroon women carrying out daily chores and socializing, Suriname River, 1955

The Ndyuka people, also known as Aukan people or Okanisi sama, are a Maroon ethnic group who live in Eastern Suriname and speak the Ndyuka language. They are subdivided into the Opu, who live upstream of the Tapanahony River of southeastern Suriname, and the Bilo, who live downstream of that river.

They further subdivide themselves into fourteen matrilinear kinship groups called lo.

The Ndyuka and related people are of African descent, having been shipped as slaves to Suriname about 300 years ago to work on Dutch-owned colonial plantations. Those who escaped fled deep into the rainforests where they established communities along rivers in mostly southeastern Suriname and parts of neighboring French Guiana and where their culture adopted elements of Native American cultures.

On 10 October 1760, the Ndyuka signed a treaty with the Dutch colonizers, who allowed them territorial autonomy. 10 October is still a day celebrated among some Surinamese Maroons.

In the last decades of the 20th century a large number of the Ndyuka people began moving from their ancestral villages to the coast, especially in and around Paramaribo, the country's capital. Their motivations for moving were mainly economic.

People[edit]