Shii village

                                                                                 LOCATION

Shii Village (Shea) is located in Region 9. It is about 100 miles South East by dirt road from Lethem and is bounded on the North by the rolling Kanaku Mountains on the East by the Quitaro and Reewa rain forest and in the south and west by the south Rupununi savannah.

HISTORY

The first inhabitants of Shii lived deep in the forest and also at the edge of the forest along the creeks and streams with running water. Their immediate homesteads are now bush islands on hilltops and valleys with whity trees, cocorite palms, clay pot fragments and other signs of former human habitation. There is no written history of Shii until the arrival of the Jesuits to the small settlement in early 1900 when a number of ancestors relocated their settlements from the forest the savannah to form the main village. The forest are is still of very special importance to our residents (see below).

Porombai, Inshio, Chipirincha, and Caitan Shikibaa were the founders of the village. Chipirincha being the chief then.

LAND RIGHTS

The community titled landmass when demarcated covers 150 square miles. The existing land title does not cover the full area of the land traditionally owned, occupied and used by our community and our fore parents. Our Village has submitted an application for the extension of our land title over two tracts of land. The first covers the Northern and Eastern boundaries, which are part of the Kanuku mountains as well as our customary land in the Riiwa and Essequibo rainforest, which our people have used and known for generations. The second tract of land covers the western border over a strip of savannah, which has been identified and agreed by residents as part of our proposal for village land title extension.

Shii Rock is a major land mark in the South Rupununi and lies within Shii lands. It is of special cultural and historical importance to village residents. It is used for gathering medicinal plants and also for tourism


POPULATION

With 95 households and a population of four hundred and forty-four (444) persons, Shii is a Wapichan community. Villagers speak Wapichan and the English language.

MAIN ECOSYSTEM AND RESOURCE AREAS

The relatively pristine and fully functional ecosystems of Shii include various types of tropical forests, numerous water bodies, savannahs and shrub land . These ecosystems are also home to a large number of species found on the Kwitaro Wa'o, Rii Wa'o (Reewa) and Chiip Wa'o (Essequibo) river basin which is carpeted by old growth rainforest.

With these characteristics Shii is a potential area for many activities such as hunting, fishing, logging for community use, trapping, canoeing, farming, mining, bird watching and many other activities. Our forests forms part of the Wapichan Community Conserved Forest that we agreed to establish in 2012, but which still lacks legal title and formal recognition by the government and international agencies.

ECONOMY AND LAND USE

Residents are all subsistence farmers who undertake rotational farming in the forest edge (cassava ad peanut farms). Families also engage in small enterprises such as cattle, sheep and other livestock rearing while others cultivate cassava, peanuts and other cash crops though on a small scale. Some gather craft materials as well as do hunting and fishing all to sustain their families and maintain their livelihood.

The shifting cultivation method, the diversification and rotation of crops every four to six (or more) years leaving the land to fallow is the system practised by all farmers, thus ensuring the sustainable use of the land.

Extraction of forest products.ie. timber is very limited they are only use for construction purposes by the villagers and in the village, so goes to the wild life within the village lands where extraction is regulated according to our Village rules and agreements with neighbours on sustainable land use. Forest resources are abundant in the eastern extension area. The Village is resolved to fully secure our traditional forest land under legal land title for the benefit of present and future generations.

Deep forest west of Kwitaro River looking towards Taraiporo Mountain. The forest is of special importance to Shii Villagers and is sued for gathering bush foods, medicines, craft materials.


SERVICES AND FACILITIES

There is a Primary School with 106 pupils and 3 staff members. A Nursery School with 28 children and a staff of two teachers. The first school open in 1954 with 21 pupils presently there is a health Centre with one Health worker. The main communication link is by two HF radio installed at the health centre and the village office. Few residents own mobile phones but can only receive satellite service summit of Shea rock. Mode of transportation is mostly by foot, few own motorcycles, bicycles, bollock carts, pack bollocks, as well as riding horses and mules. The village council owns a tractor and a vehicle. The majority of hand dug wells are the souls source of water supplies.

For any emergency there is an airstrip (run way).

GOVERNANCE

The village council is a corporate body comprising of a toshao and eight councillors. The toshao is automatically the chairman of the village council and he is also a rural constable and ex-officio member of the Justice of Peace. Toshao is also a member of the National Toshaos Council (NTC).

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

Parents teachers and friends Association. Women’s Group, Youth Group, Shea Village Council, Community management Team, Parish Lady Assistance Group, Community Policing Group.

SPORTS

Shea Lions Club. The club`s activities include soft ball cricket, volley ball and Female and Male football. Participate annually at August Games and Indigenous heritage celebrations.

COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Expanding and Improving Cattle farming construction of 1square mile paddock, a corral and purchasing cattle and the introduction of Artificial Insemination (AI)for better and high quality breed cattle (1) 24 mile bush track to Quitaro (2) Construction of the Village Shop.

WILD LIFE INTEREST AND TOURIST ATTRACTION

The pristine forest, the mountainous and hilly landscape with its fresh water rivers and streams are the habitat of the giant Harpy eagle, macaws, cock of the rock and many species of birds. The giant Armadillo, giant water turtles, giant ant eaters, tapir, anaconda, jaguar, puma, arapaima, bushmaster, rattler and many more wildlife one can think of can be found in abundance with all these resources of Shea one can just wonder that this can surely attract tourist.

One attraction is the mighty 474 feet solid granite Shii Rock which is just 1mile from the centre of the village.

Taraiporo (bottle mountain), Omab and other mountains hills are just a few added to the numerous attractions to the adventurous tourist.

HOW WE CARE FOR OUR RESOURCES

The Village Council developed a Sustainable village resource zoning plan where village members participated in drafting out and zoning areas for all the activities carried out in the titled village lands.ie. livestock, Farmland and small-scale logging, sustainable utilization area, community conservation area Ecotourism there was also a plan on the boundaries of the proposed extension of village lands occupied and used by the residents.

© South Rupununi District Council - SRDC