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Amerindian and Maroon authorities in Suriname have appointed Erna Aviankoi as leader and spokesperson in the campaign for land rights. Aviankoi was unofficially installed as Head Captain in these matters during a simple ceremony last weekend in the Maroon village of Langatabiki. Her formal inauguration is to take place in Drietabiki, the residency of Ndyuka chief Gazon Matodja, some time in the near future.
Aviankoi (35) is a Maroon of the Ndyuka nation. Trained as a journalist, she has earned careers in media and marketing. She has also been a prolific social activist, serving as spokesperson for several nonprofit organizations, among others the Maroon Women Network and the Association of Industrials of the Interior.
Belfon Aboikoni, chief of the Saramacca nation, has said of Aviankoi that she ‘has proven to be a fighter’. He has also stated that he and his Amerindian and Maroon colleagues are impressed with Aviankoi’s ‘knowledge, courage and leadership skills’.