Saramaka man
Saramaka man, photo c.1910, from Sir Harry H. Johnson’s The Negro in the New World

With a total area of only 64,000 square miles ,the Republic of Suriname  (a former Dutch colony) is the smallest country in South America.  It is bordered by by the Atlantic ocean to the north, French Guiana  to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. Its capital is Paramaribo, and most of its inhabitants (under 560,000) cluster around the north coast and in and around the capital.

The country  was long inhabited by various indigenous people before Europeans introduced a plantation economy dependent on African slaves and, following the abolition of slavery, indentured servants from Asia and the country still maintains close diplomatic, economic and cultural with its former colonial master. Even so, Suriname is considered to be a culturally Caribbean country, and is a member of the Caribbean Community CARICOM). While Dutch remains the official language of government, business, media, and education, Sranan, an English-based creole language, is a widely used as a lingua franca. The BLAC Foundation’s particular interest are the Saramaka people (Also known as Bush Negroes) According to wikipedia:

The Saramaka or Saramacca are one of six Maroon peoples (formerly called “Bush Negroes”) in the Republic of Suriname and one of the Maroon peoples in French Guiana. (Note that beginning in mid-2010, the people formerly known as “Saramaka” began identifying themselves, in their official documents in English, as “Saamaka,” to conform to their own pronunciation.) In 2007, the Saramaka won a ruling by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights supporting their land rights in Suriname for lands they have historically occupied, over national government claims. It was a landmark decision for indigenous peoples in the world. They have received compensation for damages and control this fund for their own development goals.
The word “Maroon” comes from the Spanish cimarrón, which was derived from an Arawakan root.[1] Since 1990 especially, some of the Saramaka have migrated to French Guiana due to extended civil war in Suriname. By the early 16th century, the term “maroon” (cimarron) was used throughout the Americas to designate slaves who had escaped from slavery and set up independent communities beyond colonists’ control.[2] Together with five other Maroon tribes in Suriname and French Guiana, the Saramaka form the largest group in the world of Maroon peoples of African.