Prophets of Doom

A History of the Okanisi Maroons in Suriname


Once the Maroons escaped from slavery and established their communities in the remote interior of Suriname, attention shifted from military threat to internal danger. As they faced these dangers in an unknown rainforest, they sought refuge in prophetic movements directed by charismatic religious leaders.
This book charts the history of Okanisi religious movements from their escape to the present day. It is based on sixty years of fieldwork by the late Bonno Thoden van Velzen and Ineke van Wetering, archival research and oral histories. Prophets of Doom is a tribute to Okanisi society and reflects decades of research and dedication.

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H.U.E. Thoden van Velzen (1933–2020) was Professor of Anthropology at Utrecht University and the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research. Among his publications are The Great Father and the Danger (KITLV,1988), In the Shadow of the Oracle (Waveland Press, 2004) and Een Zwarte Vrijstaat in Suriname: De Okaanse Samenleving in de 19e en 20e eeuw (Brill, 2013) with W. van Wetering.
Foreword: Two anthropologists at Work: An Insider’s Perspective
List of Maps and Illustrations

1 The Construction of History in Maroon Society

2 The Lost Homeland and the Years of Suffering

3 Loweten: The Great Trek

4 In a Forest Sanctuary

5 The Fight for Supremacy and the Exploration of the Hinterland

6 Peace

7 Dangerous Newcomers

8 A War Like No Other

9 Great Events

10 Saka in Command of the Tribal Obiya

11 New Movements

12 At the Oracle of Gaan Tata

13 A Fury Unleashed

14 The Jungle Commando’s Obiya

15 Demons

16 Hard Facts and the Stories
Archival Sources and References
The book is of particular interest to scholars and students of Maroon culture and people of Okanisi heritage. The oral history aspect makes it accessible to a general readership.
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