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Remember the Rainforest 1



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Botocudos, they agree. The information given to us by a Brazilian, who was part of an force against the Botocudos, and for a long time lived with them, was not favorable. According to him, these Indians are by nature suspicious and treacherous, ferocious by habit, indolent and lazy, gluttonous, unaware of their own weakness, fickle and careless like children. They are, therefore, easy to handle when mitigating rigor with sweetness, sparing them the obligation to think. Christian religion has been decisively rejected by them to this day; They preferred the gifts of brandy, tools, etc., that Brazilians bring to them, and willingly returned the favor with gifts of their few utensils and food. They live in houses made of very low clay, covered with leaves of Heliconias (Coite) and other similar Monocotiledoneas. In the starlight, they often rise, and only return home at daybreak. They are not very sleepy, but are clumsy eaters, eating anytime and too much. Men deal exclusively with the hunt. Women contend with domestic work; They know how to make excellent clay vessels and weave with yarn. Their parties are celebrated at night, with great noise. A characteristic trait of this tribe, a Macuani informed us, was the great preference they have for blacks, who often flee their owners, taking refuge with the Indians, asking for their intercession and protection.

That same Indian, who knew how to express himself very well in Portuguese, helped us to take note of various terms of the Macuani language, which differs from the language of the Coroados; Their use of their tongue in speaking is extremely rare. Their mouths open wide, for they almost always speak with their teeth more or less clenched, and sometimes utter hissing, sometimes palatine, rarely nasal sounds. With that, the impression given by the Macuani is that his tongue is swollen and he dares not speak. Like most Indians, he also speaks softly, and what struck us most was the way in which each individual modifies the language in his own way, so that one could almost say that he speaks a different dialect. To the European, accustomed to the alternate intonations of the voice and accompanied by eloquent gestures, when he observes these Indians talking to each other, with so little expression, almost no play of physiognomy muscles, it seems that they speak in a dream. And aren't all these men's lives a dark dream, a dream they never wake up from?


These considerations and the vicinity of the fierce Botocudos discouraged us from staying long in the wild and rocky valley, situated on the watershed, against the mountain, surrounded by,