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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Men, women, children and dogs gathered in this dark, smoke-filled abode. They brought me many guaribas with red hands, the black coatas, the lustful monkeys-urbells (furry Guaribas), Ras Blues, a variety of hummingbirds, many insects, green eggs of Inhambu, etc.; It seemed that these Indians lived in a much richer area of food than their neighbours of Japura, who have to get used to hunger because of the great scarcity of game. I have also spotted several inga trees, whose sweet fruits, in long pods, offer the Cauixanas pleasant food.

Caixanas today

On December 24th I reached the military barracks of the Ica River, which rises northwest, in the Cordillera, where it is called Putumaio, and sheds its dark waters, on the northern side, in the Solimoes. My arrival was celebrated with oil lamps at night, for whose end they burned turtle butter in orange shells. 200 of the most beautiful Indians of the Passes tribe, with the men tattooed in black, entirely naked, some with long sticks in their hand, others with cane flutes, marching in line, incorporated, accompanied by women and children, forming a single line, sometimes a double line. The same military march, was executed by a lesser number of Juris, alternating with the others. Both nations inhabit the banks of the lower Ica River.

Among the Passes, the witch doctor was held in great regard. It is he who appears shortly after the birth to the name the child.

Paje, the witch doctor

The mother pierces without delay the newborn's ears. The strength of the baby’s cries is put to the test with a smack on its bottom. Young maidens are banished to the roof of the hut and must fast for a month. The “parturient” is a month of

Cassava

the new mother’s being guarded in the dark, where she can only eat cassava, and also the husband, who, during this period, paints in black, and also lies in the hammock. They use the inhalations with the Parica powder. The chief has, in general, several women; some others, just one. It is not the custom of these chiefs to take a woman without her permission.

The masquerade parties are constant. They bury the deceased in round pits. Only the body of the chief, his possessions and his weapons are incinerated on the tomb.

Among these Indians are individuals of the tribe of the Jumanas,

Miranhas, of pierced nostrils,

Uiaquas,

Ariguenas of elongated ears,

and also Muriates, whose women, after childbirth, hide in the closed bush, so that the moonlight does not expose the newborn, to any illness. It is known in South America, the husband customarily lies in the hammock, as soon as his wife recovers, to be served by her.

 

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