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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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of women in puberty, when they organize a dance at night. Marriage is consummated when the girl's father accepts the food that the suitor brings without further ceremony. The mother wraps the umbilical cord around the newborn's neck until it dries and falls on its own. Men are accustomed to polygamy, and if they refrain from it, it is because of the influence of Brazilian soldiers; but they are jealous and they are not, for sometimes they even offer their wives to strangers, and in this they differ greatly from the Botocudos,

Botocudos' hunting

whose rigor against the infidelity of women we have had occasion to check by a terrifying example. These Macuanis usually bury the corpses of their young children in their huts; those of adults, however, far from the village. On the grave of the latter, which they surround with a moat of water, they lay fresh fruit, and kindle a fire, so that the poor corpse should lack nothing. Later, they spear a lance over the grave, or build a hut over it. In these customs, there is a striking resemblance to those of blacks in tropical Africa. Visiting the huts of these Indians, we have only seen misery and lack of cleanliness everywhere, although they usually sell most of their handiwork to Brazilians; what most shocked us, however, was the painful spectacle of a certain sick woman, abandoned by her own and welcomed by compassion in the Portuguese guardhouse, and who, in our view, was giving desperate screams. In this case, it was confirmed what many Brazilians had often told us, that is, that the Indians know only few medicines, which they use without discernment, and when they do not give relief to the patient, they soon abandon him, leaving him to fate.

In the Barracks were also some Indians of the Malalis tribe, whose main colony is currently in Pecanha, on the Surui Pequeno River, a northern tributary of the Rio Doce. These Malalis grew up among the Macuanis, making almost no difference to them in appearance, and had even forgotten their language.

In addition to these two tribes, five other small nations inhabit the virgin forests on the eastern border of the province of Minas Gerais: the maxacaris, capoxos, panhames, comanoxos and monxocos. Their headquarters are not fixed, especially because of the pressure of restless Botocudos, who chase such small tribes as mortal enemies. In the past, they lived more widely, between the Surui and Sucui Rivers and the Mucuri Springs; But as the Botocudos came from the upper Rio Doce, they were forced to head east to the headwaters of the Sao Mateus River, the coldest, most rocky, low-shed region. It seems that capoxos are lighter in color; fiercer and more indolent are the panhames and clomanoxes; however, in other senses, in the customs, in the language, which appears in various dialects, in the hatred of

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