Barama River Carib - Orientation

Identification. The Barama River Carib bear the name of a waterway in Guyana's North West District. They refer to themselves as "all the men and women." They are aware that other Carib peoples live in Guyana and elsewhere, but have no contact with them.

Location. Since the late nineteenth century, Carib have lived in the tropical forest along the upper Barama and its tributary, the Baramita River. This is an area about 112 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide, between 7° and 8° N and 59° and 61° W.

Demography. In the early 1930s the Barama River Carib numbered some 200 people. Beginning in the 1960s, the Guyanese government provided them malaria eradication and other health care. In 1970 the Barama River Carib numbered some 550 people, more than half being children. The population continues to grow because of a high fertility rate.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Barama River Carib speak a Carib language of the larger Cariban Phylum. In the 1970s they recognized two forms of their language. "Deep Carib" is less affected by modern borrowing and is more commonly used by older people and by women. "New Carib" is used by men and is modified particularly by creole English, which many Carib men also speak.

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