This article shows that a system of social organization based on totemic ancestor clans has long existed among the Carib of eastern Guiana, and more particularly the Wayana. This system so far has been ignored by researchers in spite of its heuristic interest. In addition to its political and historical richness, the approach here, which attempts to capture how social structures have changed since the encounter with Westerners, allows for a better grasp of identity's role as a motivating force in Wayana society. The completion of the project called for here will require well-coordinated involvement by numerous researchers.

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