Yupukari Village

There is always something happening in Yupukari. Whether it’s catching caimans, caring for turtles, playing football, surfing the internet, constructing something or just hanging about swapping stories, there is always lots to do.

This land sandwiched between the Kanuku and Pakaraima mountain ranges, in the midst of the Essequibo and Amazon basins, is a conservationist’s dream and wildlife haven. Here giant anteaters roam, rare birds call the savannah home and giant black caimans rule the waters of the surrounding lakes and the meandering Rupununi River.

It is a land of rare beauty, in the rolling hills of the central Rupununi savannahs in Region Nine.

Home to about 500 mainly Macushi Amerindians, the village is a mix of slowly changing traditional ways and modernity.

Isaac Rogers, a former toshao of the village says Yupukari was so named as a result of a fight between a shaman or paiman and a “bad tiger” that ate people and stemmed from the words ‘epi’ ‘kari.’” The 66-year-old former chief said that Anglican missionaries first settled where the community is now located and at the time there was no airstrip and the governor travelled from Georgetown up the Essequibo via boat and then up the Rupununi River.

According to Rogers, later there was a landing at Yupukari where amphibious planes could land and the governor-general did so and took a bullock cart to Lethem.

Article adapted from Stabroek News, 2013 (http://www.stabroeknews.com/2013/features/02/03/yupukari-rupununi/)