When people think of Honduran rainforest Indians, mostly they think of the
Miskito Indians. This ethnic group was formed when black slaves ran away to live
in Mosquitia rainforest and intermarried with local Indians who probably spoke
Sumu languages. The Miskito Indians have been famous for their participation in
the Nicaragua Contra War when thousands of Miskitos left Nicaragua to settle in
refugee camps or the armed camps of the Contras in the Honduran Mosquitia. The
area of the Miskitos is famous as the setting for Paul Theroux’s novel The
The origin of the Miskito name is not the animal the Mosquito. Some say their
name comes from the British musket that they used to use, but the Miskitos
themselves they are descended from a group of people who followed a chief called
Miskut. To say the people of Miskut in Miskito was Miskut uplikanani,
which the local Sumus shortened to Miskitu.
The local Miskito Indians are active in movements to protect their rainforest,
bilingual education (Miskito-Spanish), asking for rights for Miskito divers who
fish for lobster, to protect their lands, and for the development of the
Mosquitia for example through building schools and health clinic.
The main places to visit the Miskito are Puerto Lempira, Brus Laguna,
Ahuas/Wampusirpe, and the Rio Platano Biosphere area.
Indigenous Groups of Honduras overview.
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