Tribes of Venezuela – The Pemon
The Pemon or Pemón are an indigenous people of South America, living in areas of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana and it’s one of the most numerous tribes in Venezuela.
The name “Pemón” is translated as just “people” and they use it to distinguish themselves from other peoples from the Cariban language family. Their society is based on trade and considered egalitarian and decentralized, and in Venezuela, funding from petrodollars have helped fund community projects, and ecotourism opportunities are also being developed.
In Venezuela, Pemon live in the Gran Sabana grassland plateau dotted with tabletop mountains where the Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall, plunges from Auyantepui in Canaima National Park.
The Pemon have a very rich mythic tradition which continues to this day, despite the conversion of many Pemon to Catholicism or Protestant religions spread by missionaries. Pemon mythology includes gods residing in the grassland area’s table-top mountains called tepui. The mountains are off-limits to the living, as they are also home to ancestor spirits called mawari.
The first non-native person to seriously study Pemon myths and language was the German ethnologist Theodor Koch-Grunberg.