Ndjuka Script

Djuka syllabary

Ndjuká syllabary

The Ndjuká syllabary was invented by Afaka Atumisi of eastern Suriname in 1910. Afaka claimed that he had a dream in which a spirit prophesied that a script would be revealed to him. He went on to invented the Ndjuká or Djuka script, which is also known as the Afaka script (afaka sikifi). Continue reading


Ndyuka Peace Treaty

The Ndyuka people, also known as Aukan people or Okanisi ...The Ndyuka Treaty Of 1760: A Conversation with Granman Gazon

By Martin Misiedjan, December 2001

For Maroons in Suriname, treaties are hard-won symbols of freedom consecrated by the blood and power of our most powerful ancestors — blood that guaranteed our existence as free peoples with autonomous territories and institutions. The treaties were and still are — at least from the Maroon perspective — the basis for defining our relationship with the Surinamese state.

During the course of a land rights education project conducted by myself and another Maroon lawyer with Tapanahony River Ndyuka communities, I had the honor of speaking with Granman Gazon Matodja, paramount leader of the Ndyuka people, about his understandings of the treaty concluded by the Ndyuka and the Dutch in 1760. This conversation, transcribed in part below, took place at Diitabiki, the residence of the Granman, on November 5, 1998. Continue reading

Ndjuka or Aukan

Suriname and the Maroons

From Milwaukee Public Museum, 2008 (edited)

Suriname, a [former] Dutch colony, has been ‘independent’ since 1975. This country, located on the northeast coast of South America (above Brazil), has cultural attributes more in common with Caribbean countries. Suriname has maintained a great diversity of ethnic groups, each with their own strong and longstanding forms of cultural expression. Though Dutch is still the official national language, over 20 other languages are spoken and recognized by the Surinamese government.

Roughly 20 percent of Suriname’s population is Maroon, a term denoting descendants of African enslaved who freed themselves from slavery bondage from Dutch plantations during the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries. Maroon culture is strongly rooted in African cultural traditions, with some Amerindian influences. Maroon groups are widely dispersed across Suriname and extend into neighboring French Guiana. The largest ethnic group, the Ndyuka, are centralized around Marowijne River, which forms the border between French Guiana and Suriname. Continue reading

Saramaka Peace Treaty

TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE: SARAMAKA (SARAMACCAN) PEOPLE: THE ...The Saramaka Peace Treaty in Sranan: An edition of the 1762 text

Jacques Arends, Margot van den Berg, Universiteit van Amsterdam (edited)


The text presented here is the Sranan version of the Saramaka Peace Treaty, which was signed on September 19, 1762, at the junction of Sara Creek and the Suriname River, between the Saramaka Maroons on the one hand and the Dutch colonial government on the other. While the Dutch text of the treaty has been accessible ever since it was published in Hartsinck (1770:802-9), the Sranan text as it was actually read to the Saramaka – most of whom did not know Dutch – at the time of the negotiations remained unknown until it was published recently by Hoogbergen and Polimé (2000).

Unfortunately, their edition is marred by a large number of errors, concerning both transcription and interpretation. Therefore, we decided to prepare a new transcription, based, of course, on the same original manuscript text. […] Our transcription of the Sranan text is accompanied by a translation into English, which – keeping in mind that the text is primarily of interest to creolists – has been kept as literal as possible, so as to enable readers who do not know Sranan to reconstruct the structure of the Sranan text from the translation. Continue reading

Recognizing Dominica

By Gregoire Crispin; Kanem Natalia, September 1989 (edited)

The last survivors of the once-powerful Carib people, the original inhabitants of most of the Lesser Antilles, now live on the two eastern Caribbean islands of Dominica and St. Vincent, and in Belize, Guyana, and Suriname. The Caribs’ existence today, five centuries after the [plunder] voyages of Columbus, is living testimony to their bold resolve to survive and to resist European colonial onslaught. The rugged terrain of both Dominica and St. Vincent provided the ideal conditions for protracted warfare against British and French incursions into what used to be their peaceful domain.

History of the Caribs

It was through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 that Britain and France settled on control of the Lesser Antilles: due to the formidable resistance mounted by their inhabitants Dominica and St. Vincent were left as “neutral” islands, for the sole benefit of the Caribs. This treaty was violated first by the French and later by the British. The latter obtained possession in 1783, driving the Caribs from the calm Caribbean coast to the mountains and hostile Atlantic coasts of both islands. Continue reading

Awaiting the Next Guest Blogger (3)

Money roll

Thanks to the guest bloggers for keeping Dutch Guyana online and adding to it.

The title of this post speaks for itself. There is still no money available, so we await the next guest blogger to donate time and energy.

The expectation (and anticipation) is that the next guest blogger will relate on… who knows?

Much gratitude for all the readers and followers who kept reading and following. Much gratitude for the support and work put in by the project team. I will put in a good word for you with Aisa Gran Gado.

Gran Tangi,

Hurricane and Storm Jose

*** Powerful Category 5 Hurricane Irma is moving further away from the local islands. On Wednesday at 1100 PM AST (0300 UTC), the center of Irma was located just north of Puerto Rico, near latitude 19.4 North, longitude 66.8 West. Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. As Irma is moving further away from the islands now, the associated winds will pose no further threat to the islands.

At 1100 PM AST (0300 UTC), the center of Category 1 Hurricane Jose was located near latitude 14.4 North, longitude 47.5 West. Jose is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue for the next two days. Jose is expected to proceed in a northwesterly direction, passing northeast of, or just over the northeastern Leeward Islands on Saturday.

KNMI: Tropical cyclone bulletin 5 – Jose


Date: Friday September 08, 2017 Time: 04:19 local time


A Tropical Storm Watch stays in effect for Saba and St Eustatius for category 3 Hurricane Jose. At 500 AM AST (0900 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Jose was located near latitude 16.0 North, longitude 55.3 West. Jose is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h). A slower west-northwestward motion is expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, Jose is expected to be near the northern Leeward Islands on Saturday. On Sunday Jose is expected to move further NNW-wards. Continue reading

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