Saamaka Maroon mother with her newborn child in front of her house in Ben Dikonde, near the village of Djumu, Boven Suriname (Upper Suriname River).  Suriname.  2011  The Maroons, a general name derived from the Spanish, "cimarron" used in Hispaniola to refer to escape cattle that took to the hills, are descendents of Africans who escaped slavery on foot centuries ago to live deep in the Amazon much as they had in the rainforests of West Africa.  Maroons refer to themselves as "Busikonde Sembe" or "People of the Bush".
 Although it looks natural, this canal originally excavated by African slaves, that cuts from the Commewijne River to the Atlantic at Matapica, has been completely reclaimed by the surrounding mangrove forest, and colonized by caimans and other wildlife near Bakkie Plantation.    Commewijne, Suriname.   2011  Canal excavation was considered by slaves the hardest of backbreaking work and led to more slave escapes than other forced labor, leading to the creation of bands of free Africans who later formed various Maroon ethnic groups.  2011
 Chinese workers, for China Dalian International, stationed in Suriname for two years, are paving the road from Brokopondo to Atjoni deep within Saamaka Maroons territory in the Amazon rainforest of Suriname.  The deep interior is resource-rich with vast old growth rainforest and known reserves of gold.  Many Surinamese, particularly the Saamakas, are concerned that China has its eyes on the sparsely populated country's resources. and recently several memoranda of understanding have signed between Paramaribo and Beijing to clear the way for Chinese investment in resource exploitation.  2011
 (L) Stagnant, fouled pools of water stand beside a gold camp run by Brazilian "garimpeiros" artisanal miners in the deep Amazon in Suriname.  Bensdorp, Suriname.  (R) Brazilian “garimpeiros” handmade sluice box used to separate gold from the soil and river stones at the downstream outlet of an artificial pond of foul water.  Brazilian “garimpeiros” are artisanal miners working independently on Maroon land, scouring out entire watersheds, to extract gold from the riverbed using mercury (quicksilver) to enhance recovery of gold.  Large quantities of toxic, mercury is discharged into the watershed, which contaminates fish stocks, poisoning a primary source of protein for the local Maroon population.  In the end what is left is an inorganic poison wasteland where once stood one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.  Bensdorp, Suriname.  2012
 Chinese worker with a dragon tattoo, often associated with organized crime in China, in a housing compound set up by a road paving crew for China Dalian International who were sent for two years to Suriname to pave the road from Brokopondo to Atjoni deep in the Amazon rainforest and well within Saamaka Maroon territory.  2012
 Tattered ocelot pelt, listed as an endangered species by CITES (Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species), nailed to the wall of a housing compound set up by a road paving crew for China Dalian International that are paving the road from Brokopondo to Atjoni deep in Saamaka territory in the Amazon rainforest, Suriname.  2012
 Rainforest crowds the perimeter of a gravel quarry run by China Dalian International in a tropical downpour.  Safety messages for workers are written in Chinese on a wall on the right, as all the workers and supervisors seen on site were Chinese nationals, except the bored security guard at the front gate.  Near Moengo, Suriname.  2012
 Pristine Amazonian forest for as far as the eye can see in Suriname's interior. Powerful multinational logging corporations do not view this untouched forest as a treasure trove of bio-diversity, they see easy profits in "green gold" waiting to be exploited.  2012
 Gold mines excavated by Brazilian “garimpeiros” gold miners,  have progressed up a watershed to devastating effect further and further into pristine rainforest deep in Maroon in the interior of Suriname just outside the boomtown of Bensdorp.  Suriname.  2012
 Migrant Brazilian men of unknown visa status (many are known to over stay their Suriname visas) mining for gold with high power water hoses deep on Maroon territory in the interior of the Amazon forest near Bensdorp, Suriname.  2012  The gold miners snake their way up watersheds from the Marowijne River, blasting away organic topsoil to get at the gold rich sediment below.
 Iwan, a Saamaka Maroon man, stands in front of a massive rainforest tree near Djumu, Suriname.  The Maroon people along the upper Suriname River are effective stewarts of the land they claimed centuries ago after fleeing their Dutch slave masters.  2011  In 1762, the Saamaka signed a treaty with their Dutch colonial master affording them freedom, territory and autonomy.
 Maroon woman holds up feathers that are an ingredient of traditional medicine she is selling at the Maroon market in Paramaribo.  Suriname.  2011
 A stagnant pool of water polluted by artisanal gold mining by independent Saamaka Maroon men near the fringes of the huge Rosabel Mine run by Iamgold, a Canadian mining corporation on Saamaka land.  Near Brownsweg, Suriname.  2011
 Traveling deep into Saamaka Maroon territory that was, as recently mid-1960's, considered "tjina" (taboo) to White people (according to anthropologist, Richard Price of College of William and Mary, USA) for fear that they would destroy and kill all the Saramaka Maroon people.   To this day, outsiders, Surinamese included, rarely venture this far up the Suriname River into the Amazon rainforest.  Boven Suriname (Upper Suriname River).  Suriname.   2011
 Young Saamaka Maroon man watches a tamed parrot held by a friend near the Boven Suriname (Upper Suriname River) village of Djumu.  Suriname.  2011
 Saamaka Maroon artisanal gold miners near the fringes of the huge Rosabel Mine run by Iamgold, a Canadian mining corporation on Saamaka land.  Near Brownsweg, Suriname.  2011
 Logging truck carries huge trees from the rainforest on the main, unpaved highway near Moengo, Suriname within Maroon territory.  Suriname descended into civil war from 1986 to 1992 and some of the fiercest battles between Ronny Brunswijk's "Jungle Commando" and the Surinamese army were fought along this highway that runs between the capital, Paramaribo, and the French Guiana .   Although industrial logging on an Asian scale does not exist in Suriname, Asian logging companies from China, Indonesia and Malaysia have increasing interest in exploiting the massive pristine forests of this sparsely populated Amazonian country.  2012
 A migrant shopkeeper from Fujian Province, China talks with a cigar-smoking Ndyuka Maroon boatman as he pours fuel into a barrel for the multi-day journey down the Marowijne River to the coast from Bensdorp, as a Brasilian "garimpeiro" gold miner (L) waits patiently.  The boatman will pay for the fuel with nearly pure gold weighed out by the gram for payment.  Bensdorp, Suriname.  2012
 Creole procession through dark streets of central Paramaribo, singing call and response slavery-era folk songs, marking the beginning of Keti Koti ("Cut Chain") Slavery Emancipation day in Suriname.  Paramaribo, Suriname.  2011  Maroon peoples escaped from the chains of slavery in the centuries before emancipation, while their brothers, the Creole, continued to suffer from slavery.
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