Guyana Legends: Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians

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9781465356680: Guyana Legends: Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians

Guyana Legends Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians By Odeen Ishmael G uyana Legends Folk Tales of the Indigenous Amerindians is a collection of fifty folk tales of the first people to inhabit Guyana and the contiguous regions of the north coast of the South American continent Very little is known of Amerindian history in Guyana before the arrival of European settlers in the early seventeenth century and actually no written form of their languages existed until about seventy years ago Indeed much of the history of the Amerindians people is based on oral traditions which are not quite clear because the periods when important events occurred are difficult to place Still native oral traditions are very rich in folk stories of the ancestral heroes and heroines of these indigenous people Some of these folk stories have varying versions among the nine different language groups or tribes that comprise the Amerindian population of Guyana Such a difference is illustrated in this book which presents two different tales of how fire was acquired and various versions of the legend of two immortal folk heroes the bothers Makonaima and Pia This present collection of Amerindian legends was compiled over a lengthy period of many years during which I listened to and collected versions of these tales from elderly Amerindians in various regions of Guyana and more recently from Amerindian residents of the Delta Amacuro region of Venezuela on the frontier with Guyana Significantly most of these legends were also summarised since the late nineteenth century by a succession of writers including Everard F im Thurn W H Brett Walter Roth and Leonard Lambert But it is significant to note that those versions by no means original which were related by those writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries have undergone some changes with the passing years and new characters have been added to them Since Amerindians of the North West District of Guyana are ethno

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About the Author:

Odeen Ishmael, a veteran Guyanese diplomat, is currently the ambassador of Guyana to the State of Kuwait. He previously served as ambassador to Venezuela (2003-2011) and also the United States (1993-2003) where, simultaneously, he was his country's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. Since the 1970s, he has been a premier writer on the problems and perspectives of education in Guyana and the wider Caribbean region. He has also written extensively on Guyanese history and culture as well as political developments in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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