Pemon people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Pemon)
Jump to: navigation, search
Pemon
Pemon girl, Venezuela
Total population
6,000
Regions with significant populations
 Venezuela,  Brazil,  Guyana
Languages
Pemon, Spanish
Religion
traditional tribal religion, Roman Catholicism[1]

The Pemon or Pemón (Pemong) are an indigenous people of South America, living in areas of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.[2] They are also known as Arecuna, Aricuna Jaricuna, Kamarakoto, Taurepang.[1]

The people[edit]

The Pemon are part of the larger Cariban language family and include six groups including the Arekuna, Ingarikó, Kamarakoto, Tualipang, Mapoyo and the Macushi/Makushi (Macuxi or Makuxi in Brazil). Im Thurn While ethnographic data on these groups is scant, Iris Myers produced one of the most detailed accounts of the Makushi [3] in the 1940s and her work is heavily relied upon for comparisons between historical and contemporary Makushi life. (e.g.[4]) The Pemon were first encountered by westerners in the 18th century and encouraged to convert to Christianity.[2] Their society is based on trade and considered egalitarian and decentralized, and in Venezuela funding from petrodollars have helped fund community projects, and ecotourism opportunities are also being developed.[2] In Venezuela Pemon live in the Gran Sabana grassland plateau dotted with tabletop mountains where the Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, plunges from Auyantepui in Canaima National Park.[2]

The Makuxi, who are also Pemon speakers, are found in Brazil and Guyana in areas close to the Venezuelan border.

Language[edit]

Arekuna, or Pemon (in Spanish: Pemón) is a Cariban language spoken mainly in Venezuela, specifically in the Gran Sabana region of Bolivar State. According to the 2001 census there were 15,094 Pemon speakers in Venezuela.

Myths[edit]

Three Pemon youths

The Pemon have a very rich mythic tradition which continues to this day, despite the conversion of many Pemon to Catholicism or Protestant religions spread by missionaries.

Pemon mythology includes gods residing in the grassland area's table-top mountains called tepui.[2] The mountains are off-limits to the living as they are also home to Ancestor spirits are called "mawari".[2] Among the Indians of Guiana: being sketches, chiefly anthropologic from the interior of British Guiana, etc.", which includes detailed observations of the Pemon Indians of Venezuela. The first non-native person to seriously study Pemon myths and language was the German ethnologist Theodor Koch-Grunberg, who visited Roraima in 1912.

Important myths describe the origins of the Sun and Moon, the creation of the tepui mountains, which dramatically rise from the savannahs of the Gran Sabana and the activities of the creator hero Makunaima and his brothers.

"Kueka" stone controversy[edit]

In 1999, Wolfgang Kraker von Schwarzenfeld arranged the transport of a red stone boulder, weighing about 35 metric tons, from Venezuela's Canaima National Park to Berlin Tiergarten for his "global stone" project. Since that time there is an ongoing but yet unsuccessful dispute of the Pemon trying to get the stone back, involving German and Venezuelan authorities and embassies, up to the former president Hugo Chávez.[5][6][7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pemon: Introduction, Location." Every Culture. (retrieved 30 June 2011)
  2. ^ a b c d e f See pp.112,113 and 178 of Venezuela: the Pemon, in Condé Nast Traveler, December 2008.
  3. ^ Myers, Iris (1993). "The Makushi of the Guiana-Brazilian Frontier in 1944: A Study of Culture Contact". Antropologica 90: 3–99. 
  4. ^ Schacht, Ryan (2013). "Cassava and the Makushi: A Shared History of Resiliency and Transformation". Food and Identity in the Caribbean: 15–29. 
  5. ^ Spiegel online, 10 July 2011: The Kueka Stone – A Venezuelan Indigenous Group Battles Berlin
  6. ^ Universidad del Zulia & FundaCine, 2007: Etapontok Ro Etomo (La lucha continúa) (Spanish)
  7. ^ Berliner Zeitung, 9 August 2000: Indios wollen "göttlichen Stein" zurück haben (German, "Indigenous people want to get back sacred stone")

Sources[edit]

  • Theodor Koch-Grunberg 1917 – "Vom Roraima Zum Orinoco" ("From Roraima to the Orinoco")
  • David John Thomas 1982 – "Order Without Government: The Society of the Pemon Indians of Venezuela" (University of Illinois Press)

External links[edit]