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Pemón girls (Venezuela)

Pemón or Pemong (from Pemón , real people ') is the name of the Caribs attributed indigenous people of South America.

The majority of the approximately 30,000 Pemón now live in the Venezuelan state of Bolívar in the territory of Essequibo and in the Gran Sabana as well as along the Rio Branco in the neighboring Brazilian state of Roraima and in the Paruima settlement in Guyana .

Most of the Pemón live inland in small settlements that can only be reached via the small foothills of the Orinoco , which cross the Bolívar.

Dialect and tribal groups of the Pemón

There are three different dialect and tribal groups:

  • Taurepan (Taulipang) : in the Sierra Pacaraima (port. Serra Pacaraima and) Mount Roraima (from Pemón: roroi - 'turquoise, fruitful', ma - 'big') in the tri-border region of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, approximately 1,500 tribal members
  • Arekuna (Arecuna) : in the northwest of the state of Roraima, Brazil and in the Canaima National Park in the valley of the Upper Río Caroní , mostly in the local mission settlement Kavanayen (Santa Teresita de Kavanayen) in the southeast of the state of Bolivar, Venezuela, about 1,500 tribal members
  • Kamarakoto (Karamagoto, Camaracoto) : west of the Río Karuay , on the Río Caroní , Río Paragua and in the Kamarata Valley in both states of Amazonas and Bolivar in Venezuela and with some smaller groups in neighboring Brazil (sometimes their dialect is considered a separate language)

The Arekuna can best understand the North Caribbean- speaking Akawaio (Acawayo, Akawai) and Patamona next to the Pemón.

All Pemón tribal groups as well as the linguistically related Akawaio and Patamona are in Brazil as Ingarikó (Ingaricó) ('jungle people') (a term used by the neighboring Makushi ( Macushi , port .: Macuxi )), in Venezuela and Guyana, however, mostly under known by the pemón name Kapon (Kapong) ('Heavenly people, people who came from heaven').


According to the tradition of the Pemón, their culture bringer was a son of the sun god named Chiricavai , who returned to the stars after a stay on earth, but is supposed to reappear on earth at some point.

The Kueka stone

In 1999, the German artist Wolfgang Kraker von Schwarzenfeld had a stone weighing around 35 tons moved from the Pémon area in the Canaima National Park to the Berlin zoo , where it is now located as part of the Global Stone art project . Since then, the Pémon have been demanding back the stone that they claim to be a sanctuary. Venezuelan and German authorities have been dealing with the issue since 2000 and are trying to get the stone back from the artist.

Conflicts over raw materials in the Pémon settlement area

Even the government of Hugo Chávez signed an agreement with the Chinese conglomerate CITIC Group to record all mineral deposits in the country. Citic sent geologists to travel all over Venezuela and map the stocks of gold and diamonds, but also of bauxite and rare earths. The Pemón (like other indigenous peoples) fight the prospectors on the one hand, but they defend themselves against actions by the government and the army to combat illegal mining, as many Pemón and entire villages near the Brazilian border live from gold prospecting, which however done by hand and to a small extent. Gold is the only generally accepted currency in the region because of Venezuelan hyperinflation.

In February 2019 there were bloody attacks on the indigenous peoples in the villages of Kumarakapay and Santa Elena de Uairén, killing 15. Numerous Pemón fled to Brazil. The identity of the perpetrators is unclear. On the one hand, because of the collapse in oil exports, the government is increasingly relying on gold exports. Obviously, criminal gangs and Colombian guerrillas are also interested in the gold.


  • Theodor Koch-Grünberg : From Roraima to Orinoco . 1917
  • David John Thomas: Order Without Government: The Society of the Pemon Indians of Venezuela . University of Illinois Press, 1982.
  • Bruno Illius: "The stone of love". In: Hanna Heinrich and Harald Grauer (eds.) "Paths in the Garden of Ethnology" Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag 2013, pp. 131–157, ISBN 978-3-89665-632-2

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The rituals areruya and cho'chiman among the Pemón (Gran Sabana / Venezuela)
  2. Karin Bauer: Indians want the “divine stone” back ; Article in the Berliner Zeitung on August 9, 2000. Last accessed on January 1, 2013 (pdf; 671 kB)
  3. Jens Glüsing: The stone of love ; Der Spiegel 38/2011 from September 19, 2011. Last accessed on January 1, 2013.
  4. Demo in Caracas: Indians claim boulders back from Germany ; Spiegel-Online, June 22, 2012. Last accessed January 1, 2013.
  5. Who are the Pemon of Kumarakapay? , in:, March 7, 2019.