Cheryl Nichole White

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Anton de Kom U. of Suriname

Grant number

Gr. 10089

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

White, Cheryl (Anton de Kom U. of Suriname) "Tallawah: The Maroons of Amazonia"

CHERYL WHITE, Anton de Kom University, Paramaribo, Suriname, was awarded funding in April 2021 to aid research on ‘Tallawah: The Maroons of Amazonia.’ The adventurous tourist will ride the white-water rapids of the Suriname River, just to experience traditional African Diasporic Maroon life in a river side village. The Maroon collective identity was born from the will of the enslaved Africans to escape coastal plantations and traverse the dense tropical rainforest of Amazonia, in search of an untethered life. They found it in the interior of Suriname, South America, and remain in their ancestral territories until this day. But what do we know of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century settlements formed in the tumultuous years of slavery, deep in the forest, where clan groups marked the matrilineal descent order that is still observed today? Using multi-scalar archaeological research, we have recorded their pottery making tradition, recovered their diverse eighteenth-century material culture, discerned their agricultural legacy using phytolith analyses, and understand patterns of sedentism, explained in archival documents and maintained through oral history. More broadly, this research provides archaeological evidence for contested land rights, by illustrating Maroon historical presence on the Amazonian landscape. It has also identified sites threatened by climate change. Collectively, this research raises awareness among Maroons about the importance and the need, for self-directed heritage management.