Amerindian farmers use the traditional method of shifting agriculture which is a method best suited to the conditions of the forest. It was a method that has evolved over centuries of experience. It has been criticized as a wasteful means of landuse, however it has proven to be an effective means of cultivation without needing artificial fertilizers or pesticides. However times are changing and many farmers are remaining on one piece of land for longer periods because of land restrictions and other outside influences, thus necessitating modern techniques of artificial fertilizers and pecticides.
See plate 1. This is a more traditional Amerindian farm where mixed cropping is practiced.
|Plate 1. Amerindian farm in the North West|
Traditionally, Amerindians use natural materials from their environment to construct their dwellings, the picture on the right, plate 2, is an example. The most common natural material used for the roofs is the leaf of the Truli Palm, and clay or wood is used to construct the walls. In recent years more and more dwellings are being constructed with some non-traditional material such as concrete and aluminum sheets
Traditional materials once suited the nomadic lifestyle of the people, today, this lifestyle is largely abandoned, though many people still travel frequently across the borders of Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname.
|Plate 2. Amerindian dwelling in Rupununi savannahs|
With these changes, valuable knowledge
pertaining to the natural environment and methods of sustainable use, as
well as respect for it will dwindle as outside influences intrude.
Many Amerindians still rely on traditional means of transport, that is canoe or foot. Other means include bicycles and motorcycles to a lesser degree. Amerindians are known to be great travellers travelling by foot or canoe up to weeks at a time.
|Plate 3. River entrance to an Amerindian village- Assakata|
Infrastructure and basic needs
Generally in the hinterland, good infrastructure such as roads, running water and electricity are not easily found. Laterite roads (hard packed red soil) are the best to be found, these have their own problems associated with various weather conditions. Fresh water is mainly accessed via creeks and rivers, and to some extent rain. In the savannah, wells are another source of fresh water.Some villages have a power-house which supplies electricity at certain times of the day and night. Clinics and medical facilities are few and far between in the hinterland, though many villages have a medic trained to administer minor ailmanets. Schools too are sometimes shared between villages.
|Plate 4. A section of a road in the savanna region|