The communities that live near the Monumental Area are historically, culturally, socially and economically attached to it. They are as such, important (local) stakeholders, whose attitudes towards the cultural monuments is significant, in order to execute a sustainable preservation system.
The agreement reached between the local communities and the JSF, conceptualized in an MOC is of great significance to the community, as well to JSF. It is viewed as a prime condition to preserve the historic monuments in a meaningful manner, while it creates adequate provisions for livelihood enhancement and income generation options for the community.
Community participation occurs on several levels. Two village representatives on the JSF board guarantee on governance level a great deal of community responsibility for the monumental area, while through monthly evaluative meetings, the location manager and the village council exchange relevant information to enable efficient management. As denoted in the MOC, the JSF facilitates sustainable development options for the village by directing 10% of the annual visitor revenues to a special fund in order to (co-)finance local sustainable development projects.
Redi Doti Indigenous Community
Though Redi Doti is a recently established village (1930) that started with the construction of a Roman Catholic Church, its roots can be traced back to the 17th century. Teenstra (1835) reported about his visit in 1828 to the Carib village Condrie, with 50-60 villagers, under leadership of Papagaai, located between the Cassipora cemetery and Jodensavanne. They were most likely the forefathers of the Redi Doti people. The village elders also position their ancestry around Surnau creek, North from the Study Area, and the Cassipora village.
The Indigenous community of Redi Doti is relatively small and comprises around 120 individuals. Since the civil strife of the 1980s, many villagers have left and settled in the capital or near to Paramaribo. Redi Doti has a mixed Carib and Arowak background, mostly due to intermarriage. Redi Doti and Pierrekondre have always treated the monuments with great respect and at all times showed willingness to support their management.
Until the 1950s, subsistence based living patterns were traditionally used. Some trading of bush meat and fish with people boating on the Suriname River happened occasionally. When LBB started its enormous forestry program in the areas of Blakawatra, Sarwa and Mapane, Redi Doti became a “transit” village. Almost all young men were employed by the LBB. They worked in several departments, such as forest clearing, road maintenance, tree nursery, reforestation and nature recreation.
The civil war (1986-1992), a period in which LBB withdrew from the area, had a great impact on the lives of the local people of Redi Doti and Pierrekondre. The village was completely isolated, the villagers had to abandon their homes which were plundered and destroyed. Village life was re-established after 1992 and slowly some people returned to rebuild the settlement, but nonetheless many preferred to stay in Paramaribo.
Redi Doti has a Roman Catholic elementary school that started shortly after the establishment of the church. It is now named after its former headmaster, Johan Chelius, who was the owner of the property adjacent to Jodensavanne. Children from neighboring villages Pierrekondre and Cassipora also attend this school. For secondary education youngsters have to travel 25 km to Paranam. Considerable loss of Indigenous knowledge has been identified in the communities. The reason for cultural loss could be because of the acculturation processes. Acculturation is the process of rapid diffusion of cultural items either by choice of the receiving society or by force from a more dominant society, like urban people.
Land use and resource use
LBB started its forestry program during the 1950s-1960s and large areas with Pine (Pinus) plantations were established which are abandoned now. Some timber entrepreneurs have obtained large forest concessions. Redi Doti was also awarded with some 9.000 ha community forest (HKV). A large portion of the Monumental Area is situated within this community forest. The communities of Redi Doti and Pierrekondre use these areas for hunting, farming and gathering of forest products. Selective logging and hunting takes place in all forest types and agriculture is only possible by forest conversion (slash and burn), but cassava, pineapple and cashew are also being planted on dry white sand savannas, usually on burned scrub savannas. Villagers can extract timber and other products for subsistence use. The village chief had contracts with other timber exploiters like “MUSA” (an Indonesian timber company) and “Nooitgedacht” (a local timber company) that employs villagers for extraction of timber from the forests.
Mainly pineapple farming has developed quite well during the past years and the farmers are waiting for the new Carolina bridge to plant larger areas. They have formed a cooperative to market the fruits, but due to transportation problems the system has not functioned effectively.
The Monumental Area coincides to a large extent with the “Carolina Landscape” that was awarded the highest priority in the scope of a study concerning “the perspective of forest-based livelihoods of interior communities” conducted by Tropenbos International (TBI) in 2006, using the “Sustainable Livelihood Approach”. An important conclusion was: “Due to prior destruction of natural primary forests and the erosion of Indigenous cultures during the interior war, much of the traditional or indigenous knowledge about the use of NTFPs and culture is lost. A large area of primary forest had been depleted already. The surrounding forest consists mainly of secondary forest areas. If no efforts are made to reduce future degradation and conserve this biological and cultural diversity, a possible source of new medicines for human diseases, food crops and Indigenous management systems will disappear. The commercial, aesthetic and the ecological value of the entire area will rapidly decline”.
The Chelius Property
Headmaster Johan Chelius came to Redi Doti as a teacher and became familiar in the village. He lived adjacent (less than 50m) to the Jodensavanne site with his family, where he also ran a small business. For years, Mr. Chelius was the central person and guide if occasionally visitors would visit the monuments. The property was formally issued to his wife by the government in the 1949, after the concentration camp was dismantled. After his decease, and the civil war, the house and the store fell into disrepair. The Chelius siblings, the current owners, still visit the location occasionally. They expressed the willingness to cooperate, in order to preserve and manage the monumental site.
In order to manage development activities in the village of Redi Doti and surroundings, a community-based organization was established in 2010 named Khorero Mothoko. This CBO has the task to prepare and execute sustainable develoment projects for the community.
The current village chief is Mr. Marchano Stuger.