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The Wayana and mercury

All indigenous tribes from the Americas were almost decimated after the arrival of Columbus. The Europeans brought guns, diseases, slavery and deceit to conquer the indigenous lands. Millions of people died from infectious diseases the Europeans brought with them and only a small percentage of all people survived losing lots of knowledge with the elderly dying first. The Wayana people live along the borders with Brazil, French Guyana and Suriname with no more than 1800 individuals.


All indigenous people from the Americas depend on the fruits of nature as well as the Wayana's. Fish is their staple food, and they eat it 3 times a day. About 30 year ago strange symptoms of disease occurred within the Wayana's from French Guyana. It was already known from Brazil that mercury used in gold mining was the reason for high levels of methyl-mercury in fish. Confirmation came in 2001 when research showed high concentration of mercury in the blood from the Wayana people. The Wayana people from Suriname live along the same Lawa-river just a few kilometers away and along the Tapanahony-river. The average mercury in the blood has risen from 12.1 μg in 2001 to 15 μg in 2015.  6 times above the French safe limit from 2.5 μg mercury in blood.

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Mulokot the Wayana Foundation from Lawa developed together with Probios and "Fish and Fins" a project to farm fish for a safe and healthy future. You can download the project here and your support will be very welcome to give the Wayana a better prospect for the future. You can also go to the Mulokot website for more information.

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