|Regions with significant populations|
|Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana|
|traditional tribal religion, Roman Catholicism|
The Pemon were first encountered by westerners in the 18th century and encouraged to convert to Christianity. 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. 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.
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.
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. The mountains are off-limits to the living as they are also home to Ancestor spirits are called "mawari".
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
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.
- "Pemon: Introduction, Location." Every Culture. (retrieved 30 June 2011)
- See pp.112,113 and 178 of Venezuela: the Pemon, in Condé Nast Traveler, December 2008.
- Spiegel online, 10 July 2011: The Kueka Stone – A Venezuelan Indigenous Group Battles Berlin
- Universidad del Zulia & FundaCine, 2007: Etapontok Ro Etomo (La lucha continúa) (Spanish)
- Berliner Zeitung, 9 August 2000: Indios wollen "göttlichen Stein" zurück haben (German, "Indigenous people want to get back sacred stone")
- 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)