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Saramaccan in Suriname


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Saramaccan in Suriname map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
14,000 Saramaccan Ethnic Religions 4.00 % 0.80 %   

Saramaccan in Suriname

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Introduction / History
The Saramaccan or Saramaka are a people group living in Suriname in the north east of South America. Since about the 1700s, the Saramaccan have lived mainly around the upper Suriname River and nearby. They speak the Saramaccan language. About half the Saramaccan language comes from Africa and some of the rest for example from English and from Dutch as the Netherlands used to rule Suriname.

In the civil war in Suriname in the 1980s to 1990s there were major problems for the Saramaccan. Contact with the rest of the world became very difficult.

The Saramaccan villages are near rivers for water, fishing and for carrying of items. Since the Suriname Civil War, the Saramaccan have had more western types of houses with concrete, wood and windows in them. The Saramaccan men do hunting and fishing and the women do horticulture. Rice is their main crop. Clothing and other items are now imported. Singing, dancing as well as playing the drums is well liked among them.

Among the Saramaccan, divination is used in marriage preferences. Men are allowed more than one wife. Men are only with their wives in the village for short periods. Children are looked after by individual men or women and not by couples. Girls often marry in their teens and boys in their twenties.

Elders among the Saramaccan are respected and divination is used regularly to try to get ancestors to give advice. They have a paramount chief and other officials. Their councils judge in local problems.

What are their beliefs?
The Saramaccan have different religions. Divination plays a large part in their lives. They believe very much in contacting spirits. They have birth and death rituals. Some of the Samaraccan have converted to evangelical Christianity.

Prayer Points
* Pray that Saramaccan elders will become Christians leading 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 people the gospel message leading them to Salvation too.


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Country: Suriname
Continent: South America
Region: America, Latin
10/40 Window: No
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)
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Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Saramaccan
People Name General: Saramaccan
Alternate People Names:
Bush NegroMatawari Creole
ROP3 Code: 108714
Joshua Project People ID: 14765
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 14,000
Population all Countries: 17,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: North American Peoples
People Cluster: Afro-American, Northern
People Name General: Saramaccan
Ethnic Code: NFB68b
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Saramaccan (14,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): srm    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity4.00 %(Evangelical: 0.80 %)
Ethnic Religions94.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious2.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent10.00 %
Protestant60.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic30.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 6   Greater than or equal to 10% Evangelical
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1974-2000
New Testament:
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Saramaccan
Text / Printed MatterBible: Gadu Buku
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterOnline Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Saramaccan in Suriname

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Afro-American, Northern     America, Latin    
      Saramaccan Suriname    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Saramaccan in Suriname          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Saramaccan  
    All Religions                              

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