Saramaccan in Suriname


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Saramaccan or Saramaka are a people group living in the north region of South America. Most Saramaccans live in Suriname while a smaller group resides in French Guiana.

Since about the 1700s, the Saramaccan have lived near the Suriname River. They speak their own Saramaccan language. About half the Saramaccan language comes from West Africa and the rest comes from English and Dutch.

Suriname became independent from the Netherlands in 1975. During the Dutch colonial period, sugar plantations dominated the economy. Slaves from Africa provided the labor.

Unfortunately, in the 1980s to 1990s civil wars raged in Suriname as various groups contented for power. Contact with the rest of the world became difficult and living conditions deteriorated.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Saramaccan villages are located near rivers for water, fishing and for transportation. Since the Suriname civil wars, the Saramaccan have built more western types of houses with concrete, wood and windows in them. The Saramaccan men hunt and fish while the women do the farming. Rice is their main crop. Bananas, coconuts and peanuts are also important cash crops. The Saramaccans now buy their clothing. Excess produce and fish are sold to buy things the Saramaccan cannot make for themselves such as cell phones and appliances.

Singing, dancing as well as playing the drums are prominent on Saramaccan holidays.

The Saramaccan often use divination or magic to determine which young people should marry. Men can have more than one wife if they can afford them. Men are only with their wives in the village for short periods of time during the year. Children are cared for by individual men or women and not by parents. Girls often marry in their teens and boys in their twenties.

Village elders make judicial decisions and deal with outsiders. Saramaccans regularly use divination to get their ancestors to provide advice on major decisions.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Saramaccan in Suriname follow folk religion and veneration of their ancestors. Divination or fortune telling plays a large part in their lives. This practice comes from their West African heritage. They believe communicating with spirits and the ghosts of their ancestors. Village shamans connect the Saramaccans with the spirit world.

A tiny number of the Samaraccan are evangelical Christians.

What Are Their Needs?


What Are Their Needs?

Pray that Saramaccan elders will become Christians and lead their people to Jesus Christ.

Pray that God will give the Saramaccan dreams and visions revealing to them that Jesus Christ is the way to salvation.

Pray that the Saramaccan evangelicals will give their family and friends the gospel message.

Ask the Lord to free the Saramaccans from their fear of evil spirits and use of divination.


Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Saramaccan in Suriname.


References

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/saramaka

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suriname


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Saramaccan
People Name in Country Saramaccan
Pronunciation sara-MAH-kun
Population this Country 32,000
Population all Countries 35,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 6  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Bush Negro; Matawari Creole
People ID 14765
ROP3 Code 108714
Country Suriname
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Brokopondo district: Brownsweg, Centrum, Klasskreek, and Kwakoegron, communes, small border area; Para district: Bigi Poika commune; Paramaribo district; Sipaliwini district: Boven Saramaccan and Boven Suriname communes.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Suriname
Region America, Latin
Continent South America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Brokopondo district: Brownsweg, Centrum, Klasskreek, and Kwakoegron, communes, small border area; Para district: Bigi Poika commune; Paramaribo district; Sipaliwini district: Boven Saramaccan and Boven Suriname communes..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Map of Saramaccan in Suriname
Primary Language Saramaccan (32,000 speakers)
Language Code srm   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Saramaccan (32,000 speakers)
Language Code srm   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Saramaccan

Primary Language:  Saramaccan

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1974-2000)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1991-2009)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Saramaccan Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Mobile App Bible app direct APK download SIL
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Saramaccan YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Download scripture in this language eBible.org
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book General / Other
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.80 %)
4.00 %
Ethnic Religions
94.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
2.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
10.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
Protestant
60.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source IFES - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more