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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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That the soul of deceased passes to an animal, they do not believe; on the contrary, their belief is that they go to the sky, where all the peoples meet. They bury their dead in a round hut, designed for this purpose; when the relatives make the burial, the rest of the tribe remains in their hammocks; only the body of the chief is accompanied by all.

After some time, we left the village, crossed the river, and on the northern bank of the same, entered a stream, which was to take us to River Ica. An canoe was dispatched to the front, to clear the narrow trees and shrubs on the banks; However, even after this precaution, there was still the work of carrying the larger canoe past the fallen trees. After the first day of the trip, we found ourselves in a forest so closed that a ray of sunshine could not enter, and the incessant dripping of the trees soaked me as if I were exposed to the most violent downpour in the open. On the second day, we passed by a lake, and, by the impetuously flowing Jucurapa.

Manaus to Spanish territories

I reached the Ica river on the fifth day, at whose mouth there is a village. Solimoes was already so full now that there was no more sandbank. In Solimoes I met Indians from the Uaraicu tribe.

These are not tattooed, but the ears, the lower lip, and the nostrils have been pierced. They have the same customs as most of their neighbors, at the time of marriages, at birth (after which the woman moves away from her husband for six months, and inhabits another hut with her parents), the fumigation of the young and the proof of virile resistance by flagellation. Their deeds are not celebrated with masked parades. They believe in God and the devil; both dwell above the earth. The devil appears in human form and only to the witch doctor. They laid their dead stretched out, with their faces turned toward the east. The ash of the deceased is kept in the hut.

On Solimoes, we traveled only one day and one night downstream; in two days, we came from Ica to Fonte Boa; in one day, we reached Ega; and finally, in four days, from this last place, back to Barra do Rio Negro, where I disembarked on February 3.

NOTES FROM CHAPTER III

(1) Alvaraes, formerly Sao Cristovao, is on the eastern side of Uraua Creek, whose black water also bathes the village, in part, on the back side. In the general language, it is called Cairara (meaning "corral") (1), a name that must be derived from (1) Cairara (caitara, "burned") was a burning fence or trench made of sticks, with which these Indians defended their homes. Entering the stream of the Portuguese language, the word took on considerable extension, for it came to signify, not only "corral", but also a trap of a branch; trapped in moorlands, to attract and hold fish by the seashore, and finally, to the fishermen of São Paulo, who live on the shores of the sea. (Rev. Note, Inst Hist, and Geogr. Bras.).

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