The four most numerous indigenous peoples are the Kali’na (Caribs), Lokono (Arawak), Trio (Tirio, Tareno) and Wayana. In addition, there are small settlements of other Amazonian indigenous peoples in the south-west and south of Suriname, including the Akurio, Wai Wai, Katuena/Tunayana, Mawayana, Pireuyana, Sikiiyana, Okomoyana, Alamayana, Maraso, Sirewu and Sakëta. The Kaliña and Lokono live mainly in the northern part of the country and are sometimes referred to as ‘lowland’ indigenous peoples, whereas the Trio, Wayana and other Amazonian peoples live in the South and are referred to as ‘highland’ indigenous peoples (ICCA Consortium/VIDS, 2012).
Suriname also has a substantial (almost 15%) population of ‘maroons’ or ‘Bushnegroes’, which are descendants of African slaves who fought themselves free in colonial times and were able to establish communities in the Interior. They live tribally, according to ancestral cultures and traditions, under comparable circumstances as the indigenous peoples. There are six maroon tribal peoples in Suriname: the Saamaka, Okanisi, Paamaka, Matawai, Kwinti and Aluku.