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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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He told us that their range of action is restricted day by day, as a result of the ruling order, which abolished all discrimination against Indians and grants them equal rights to other free inhabitants.

This decree is of disastrous effect everywhere where there are Indians under the watchfulness or tutelage of the Portuguese, for they retire, always in greater numbers, into the woods. Currently the mission counts only sixty indian parishioners; The others had already scattered almost all around the province. They are not remnants of a single nation, but a mixture of several that existed in this region, before the Portuguese. Their countenance is nothing pleasant. The characteristic trait of the race is sound and taciturn imbecility, which is reflected above all by the gloomy look and shy ways of the American Indians, further accentuated at the beginning, when they begin to reflect on their awkwardness in a civilization, which is still totally foreign to them, and with contact with blacks, mesticos and Portuguese, they reach the tragic point of deaf discontent and perversity. Many of today's farmers also contribute to such moral and physical decay because of the way they treat the indians. Neither the national features, nor physical deformations (tattoos), nor the characteristic habits and customs of these people remains to reveal to which tribe they once belonged.

Also the language spoken by the Indians of this Mission does not seem simple, but a mixture of several languages; They also took, perhaps, many words from the Guarani language. It is likely that the tribe of the Goianas had lived here, whether in the plain of Piratininga or Sao Paulo. These seem to differ from their neighbors, the Tamoios and Carijos, by the habit of dwelling in underground pits and not slaughtering the vanquished enemies, but treating them as slaves; and, like the relatives of the same tribe, the Goitacas, who live farther north, made the Goianas a beautiful, robust, sweet and docile race. If these Indians living in the Escada Village, in the nearby forests of Mantiqueira and Serra do Mar, are

Serra Mantiqueira

remnants of those Goianas, then this slow decay of body and countenance, from what had been the primitive race, reaching the deformity and ugliness that presently exist, as a result of the few centuries of living with whites, is a very curious phenomenon. It is hard to believe that this vigorous and dominant nation could have suffered in such a short period of time such a great reduction in number and degenerated to such a degree of degradation and insignificance that it becomes the object of compassion rather than of historical interest. These Indians are more likely to be remnants of the weaker and less numerous nation, enemy of the Goianas, the Carijos or Guarus, of which

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