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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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were sought after in many ways. Thus their tribe was decimated in the villages of Solimoes and Rio Negro, where only a few families still live, now, in primitive freedom. So also this good-natured tribe will be, in a few years, all extinct.

Tecunas aka Jumanas in costume

This is a sad commentary on the noblest among the tribes of Brazil, who more easily settled among the civilized populations, and then were too soon extinguished! And the case of the Uainumas, once one of the most powerful tribes of the Japura, now was almost all gone.

Of these, only about 600 of them live in freedom in the forests between Upi, a tributary of Lake Cauinari, which flows into Japura, above the falls (1).

Upper Amazon and its tributaries

Nowhere did I see the tribe gathered in a large community, but only a few families, under the protection of the chief of the Juris in Uarivau, and some isolated as workers, or rather as slaves scattered throughout the Solimoes. A woman from the fugitive tribe of Ega who had taken refuge here was taken by Gregory, and she begged me to let her travel with our expedition to the Upper Japura, where she hoped to find her relatives. I had to refuse her request, because our orders declared all the women should be excluded from our journey.

The Indians, whom I met at Maripi, used poisoned weapons. This custom is in vogue among all the tribes of the basin of Japura; however, the poison tree only grows in the western part of this territory, and from there comes the poison Urari.

When the Indian goes hunting, he does not carry his blowpipe in his hand; it hangs from his neck, and if he is rich, he brings his knife.

The equipment of the Indians of Japura includes the arrow (curabi), which they bring with a red bow, the dart (murucu), both equally poisoned, as well as the club (careuz), to which the various tribes give many shapes and ornament.

Large shields, made with tanned leather, or with the crocodiles’ dorsal bone are included as offensive and defensive weapons. I received in Maripi a great quantity of these ethnographic treasures, which I entrusted to the custody of the chief Albano,

(I) The Uainumas live in large conical huts, where two small doors are arranged, opposite to each another.

Conical huts and common kitchen

They grow cassava, but make only little flour, making almost exclusively, only the sweets. In dance, they adorn themselves with the profusion of feathers.

These festive dances take place on certain occasions: two times, when the fruits of the pupunha palm ripen,

and when the hawks on their migratory flights between the Solimoes and the Orinoco appear in their waters. Thousands of birds are then slaughtered, minced, and stored as provisions. This tribe also knows the use of ipadu. They make good planters and are, above all, industrious, active, good-natured and affectionate to whites.

In their own language, the Uainumas are called inabicanas. The hair, they cut it, sometimes, in the style of the ancient Peruvians. Their diverse families or hordes are differentiated by the design of the tattoo on the face. Their declared enemies are the Umana of Upper Japura; but they also fight with hordes isolated from Miranhas,

Miranha village on Japura river

sometimes, and the latter hunt them, to enslave them, because their disposition to work and docility recommend them in particular for service. It seems as if the entire tribe is working in unison. Also one of them concluded his interview, exclaiming: - Inabissana gamissai bagati riseni rigeuhne uaba, "the Uainuma is born to serve the White with good will; he does not run away. “

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