5462 - "We have learned to live with the laughter of children" Population growth, territorial reappropriation and emerging social issues : the case of the Wayãpi and Teko from the Oyapock river

For almost fifty years now, Teko and Wayãpi living in the town of Camopi, French Guiana, are experiencing a significant rise in population. Now immunized against the western diseases through vaccination campaigns, they reconnect with a population level they have not experienced for at least two hundred years. They all live today a sedentary and monetized life. If they are French citizens and administer their own commune, the fact remains that they continue to practice slash and burn agriculture, hunting, fishing and gathering. From 2009 to 2011 we conducted with the collaboration of several colleagues a comprehensive socio-demographic census of the two Amerindian ethnic groups and a mapping throughout their territory. To do this, the living areas but also agricultural land, hunting, fishing and gathering were identified. In this paper, we show the different strategies of territorial reoccupation of Teko and Wayãpi from Camopi. Indeed, there is now not only a real explosion of living places of these two peoples but also an expansion of areas of predation. We explain how contemporary population growth is a major cause of the reoccupation of land and how it is a rational and voluntary strategy. But we also show that it is not the only explanation, monetization and conflicts related to the invasion of their land by illegal miners from Brazil also contribute to this redeployment. Futhermore birth rates coupled with a sedentary exuberant housing creates new social challenges for these people.

Keywords: Population growth, territorial reappropriation, Teko, Wayãpi

Author: Damien, Davy (CNRS, French Guiana /F. Guayana)


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