Introduction / History
The Akurijo were originally a distinct nomadic ethnic group that has been largely assimilated into the Trio culture. In the late 1970s, they could only be found in one Trio village, but today they have settled in at least three Trio villages in Suriname. Occasionally, they can be found in Trio villages in north Brazil with Trios that have traveled there for one reason or another. There are also a couple of Akurijo now living among the Wayanas to the east, and a couple living and working in the capital city of Paramaribo.
Life among the Trio is dramatically changing the Akurijo culture. Ethnic Akurijos have been observed speaking Trio among themselves even in the privacy of their own homes. And they are even beginning to intermarry as some Akurijo women are known to have married Trio men. Those living among the Wayana were observed speaking the Wayana language. There may be 60 or so Akurijos that still speak Akurijo.
There are churches in most of the Trio villages both in Suriname and in north Brazil. These are Trio churches, but other tribes like the Wayana, Aparai, Waiwai, Wapashana, and Ketuweina are represented.
Usually there is a mix of languages in the services, at least as far as the singing is concerned and quoting of memorized scriptural portions as part of the service. But none of this is done in Akurijo.
There are a few traveling missionaries who minister to the Trio and therefore the Akurijo. However, there are currently no known resident missionaries working with the Trio though work is proceeding on the Trio Old Testament. Some organizations are no longer recruiting cross-cultural missionaries to evangelize the Trio. The churches are established, leadership is in place, and the nationals are doing the ministry, though further encouragement and training may be necessary at their request. The need among the Trio and Wayana churches is continuing church leadership training.
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