Last updated

Isseneru is an Amerindian [1] settlement in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region of Guyana, approximately 15–20 miles west of Kurupung.


Amerindian Village
Guyana location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 6°22′00″N60°22′00″W / 6.36667°N 60.36667°W / 6.36667; -60.36667 [2]
Country Flag of Guyana.svg Guyana
Region Cuyuni-Mazaruni
  ToshaoDhaneff Larson

It is a community of about 300 mainly Akawaio Amerindians, living among the hilly, forested banks of the Mazaruni River. Gold mining is a major economic activity in the area. Isseneru received land title around 2007, and demarcation was completed 2009. [3]

Known as ‘Issululu’ in Akawaio, the name means 'mass grave'. The name came from an event in which many people died from an unknown illness. Malaria is a common affliction among residents, and the remoteness affects the availability of medicine. [4] Jaguar attacks can occur as a result of land encroachment by humans. [5]

Public services and economy

The village has a multi-purpose centre, guest house, and a benab for gatherings and a recreation area. It also has a health centre, [6] an Alleluia church that also has services for Seven Days Adventists and Anglicans, and primary school. Students from Isseneru attend secondary school in the regional capital Bartica. Electricity is come by generators.

Christmas is an important holiday in this community, bringing together all the Christian denominations and the day is celebrated with a huge village luncheon. Popular foods include traditional tuma pot and cassava bread, as well as food from other cultures within Guyana. Beverages include piwari, cassiri, potato and (sugar) cane juice. [7]

Cassava and other ground provisions are major agricultural products of the area. Casar, also known as Bashwar, is a locally produced cassava-potato beverage. The area is of interest for bio-diversity research, and the surrounding areas are home to endemic plants. [8]

The village toshao as of 2013 was Lewis Larson, [4] Dhaneff Larson in 2015. [9]


The river is a major mode of transportation within the village; canoes getting people where they want to go, but most have an outboard engine.

Access into the village from the coast via aircraft starts by flying to Olive Creek, then an hour-long boat ride up the Mazaruni. There is also a road up to Olive Creek from the lower Mazaruni or a day-long trip from Parika via jet boat. [4]

Mining conflicts

25 January 2013, staged a protest in Georgetown, to voice their disapproval over a court decision made by Judge Diana Insanally [10] to allow Joan Chang, a mine concession holder, to extract gold on lands within the village. According to the village, "the ruling was unjust because according to Guyana’s Amerindian Act 2006, any miner who wishes to enter and operate on Amerindian lands must first obtain the ‘permission’ of the relevant Village Council, comply with all legislation, and provide compensation to locals". Judge Insanally's decision was that mine permits obtained after implementation of the act were exempt, and Chang's claim was secured in 1992. [11] According to Jean La Rose, the ruling establishes that land title granted to Amerindian villages are merely 'shell titles' and diminish Amerindian rights to protect their lands. [12]

In 2015, the government made a cease order for another dredging operation in the area. [9]

Gold mining in Guyana is mainly done by dredging the banks of its waterways, and rising sediments impact the biodiversity and thus the food supply of these rivers to the village. Mercury levels are also high due to gold mining. [13] A 2001 Institute of Applied Science and Technology study found that between 89 and 96% of hair samples from residents of Issenaru exceeded the tolerable limits of mercury as set by the WHO. [14] Miners who come from Brazil are also associated with higher rates of mercury usage. [15] Environmental Protection Agency testing on soil and water of Issenaru in December 2013 also showed to over healthy limits. [16]

Related social issues are the threat of drugs and prostitution associated with mining. [17]

Miners on the community's titled land pay a 12% tribute to the village council. [4]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bartica Town and regional capital in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana

Bartica, Essequibo, is a town on the left bank of the Essequibo River in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, at the confluence of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers with the Essequibo River in Guyana. It is the regional capital of Cuyuni-Mazaruni.

Barima-Waini Region of Guyana

Barima-Waini is a region of Guyana. Venezuela claims the territory as part of Guayana Esequiba.

Matthews Ridge, Guyana Place in Barima-Waini, Guyana

Matthews Ridge is a small village within the Barima-Waini administrative region of Guyana. The village name comes from the name of a public official, Matthew Young, as well as the ridges in the area. The village is divided into three sections, Heaven’s Hill, Hell Hill and the valley.

Cuyuni River

The Cuyuni River is a South American river and a tributary of the Essequibo River. It rises in the Guiana Highlands of Venezuela, where it descends northward to El Dorado, and turns eastward to meander through the tropical rain forests of the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region of Guyana. It finally turns southeastward, flowing to its confluence with the Mazaruni River.

Mazaruni River

The Mazaruni River is a tributary of the Essequibo River in northern Guyana. Its source is in the remote western forests of the Pakaraima Mountains and its confluence with the Cuyuni River is near Bartica. As it descends from the Guiana Highlands the river runs south-east, past Issano, then northward to Bartica. The river is a source of alluvial gold.

Potaro River

The Potaro River is a river in Guyana that runs from Mount Ayanganna area of the Pakaraima Mountains for approximately 225 km (140 mi) before flowing into the Essequibo River, Guyana's largest river. The renown Kaieteur Falls is on the Potaro.

Imbaimadai Village in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana

Imbaimadai is a community in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region of Guyana.

Kamarang Village in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana

Kamarang is an Amerindian village, standing at the confluence of the Kamarang River and Mazaruni River, in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region of Guyana.

Kurupung Mining community in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region of Guyana, near the Pakaraima Mountains

Kurupung is a mining community in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region of Guyana, near the Pakaraima Mountains.

Patamona people

The Patamona are an Amerindian people native to the Pakaraima Mountains of Guyana and northern Brazil. They speak a Cariban language, Kapóng, and have often been referred to interchangeably as Akawaio or Ingariko. Patamona are considered a sub-group of Kapon people.

Akawaio people

The Akawaio are an indigenous people who live in Roraima (Brazil), Guyana, and Venezuela. They are one of several closely related peoples called Ingarikó and Kapon. Akawaio language used by 5,000 to 6,000 speakers.

Kaituma River

The Kaituma River is a river of Guyana in the Barima-Waini region. The mouth is at the upper Barima River, and the area is made up of mostly mangrove swamps.

Kako River River in Guyana

The Kako River is a river in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region of Guyana and one of the largest tributaries of the Mazaruni River.

Puruni River

The Puruni River is a river of Guyana in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni region.

Ekereku River

The Ekareku River is a river of Guyana, a tributary of the Wenamu River.

The Oko River is a river of Guyana, a tributary of the Wenamu River and a part of the middle-Mazaruni.

Indigenous peoples in Guyana

Indigenous peoples in Guyana, or Native Guyanese, are Guyanese people who are of indigenous ancestry. They comprise approximately 9.16% of Guyana's population. Amerindians are credited with the invention of the canoe, as well as Cassava-based dishes and Guyanese pepperpot, the national dish of Guyana. Amerindian languages have also been incorporated in the lexicon of Guyanese Creole.

Issano Village in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana

Issano is a village of Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana. It's located along the Mazaruni River, and is a hub for mining.

Paruima Village in Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Guyana

Paruima is an indigenous village of Arecuna Amerindians in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region of Guyana. The village was founded as a mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is the only Arecuna speaking community in Guyana.

Dawn Hastings-Williams is a Guyanese politician of Akawaio descent. She has been a member of the National Assembly since 2011. She has previously served as Minister within the Ministry of Communities (2015-2017), Minister of Public Affairs (2017-2019), and Minister of State (2019-2020).


  1. "Indigenous Villages | Ministry of Amerindian Affairs" . Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  2. "Issineru, Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region, Guyana".
  3. "Land Tenure | Ministry of Amerindian Affairs" . Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Isseneru". Stabroek News. 2013-10-27. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  5. Iserson, Kenneth V.; Francis, Adama M. (March 2015). "Jaguar Attack on a Child: Case Report and Literature Review". Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. 16 (2): 303–309. doi:10.5811/westjem.2015.1.24043. ISSN   1936-900X. PMC   4380383 . PMID   25834674.
  6. "Ministry of Health - Region 7". Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  7. "Christmas celebrations in hinterland communities end in the New Year". Guyana Chronicle. 2020-12-17. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  8. "In Search of Beans and Cassava in Guyana". The Plant Press. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  9. 1 2 "Isseneru river dredge… River dredge resumes operation despite Government order – Village leaders". Kaieteur News. 2015-11-23. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  10. "Court upholds miner's rights to operate in Isseneru". Stabroek News. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  11. Hilson, Gavin; Laing, Timothy. "Gold Mining, Indigenous Land Claims and Conflict in Guyana's Hinterland" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  12. "Amerindian village loses mining case". Kaieteur News. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  13. "The protection for Amerindian rights in the Laws of Guyana". Stabroek News. 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  14. ROOPNARINE, LOMARSH (2006). "Small-Scale Gold Mining and Environmental Policy Challenges in Guyana: Protection or Pollution". Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes. 31 (61): 124. doi:10.1080/08263663.2006.10816892. ISSN   0826-3663. JSTOR   41800294. S2CID   131699153.
  15. "ENVIRONMENT-GUYANA: Influx of Gold Miners Worries Scientists". Inter Press Service. 2001-06-26. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  16. "Mercury levels in Isseneru were above legal limits". Stabroek News. 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  17. "Miners win ruling over indigenous groups in Guyana". Mongabay Environmental News. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2021-01-18.