Remember the Rainforest 1
beliefs of his fellow tribesmen, for he expressed himself quite intelligibly in the general language, for which my companion, Captain Zani, was continually using his hands as interpreter. He said that the Coerunas believed in a God who created the world; who had done everything: river, sea, sun, stars, air; but they had never seen him. As God had done everything for them, they prayed to Him and called for Him. In immortality they do not believe; they were even afraid of death. His expressions in his own language were very simple: he repeated himself frequently, and seemed to speak without change of time, nor of person (1).
Albano, the chief of the Passes, introduced me to his fellow tribesmen, who, certainly for their beautiful faces and for the slimness of their tall bearing, justified the general opinion, according to which these are the most beautiful Indians of the Rio Negro.
The whiter color of the face distinguishes them from their neighbors; they had, however, the most delicate structure of the limbs and the height and symmetry, which are often lacking in the indigenous race of Americans.
The extremities were thinner than the other Indians, with a longer neck, clavicle strongly protruding, narrower chest, but more fleshy musculature, less prominent abdomen, slender hips: all reminiscent of the Caucasian structure. Also the features of the face are distinct, generally pleasing, even beautiful. This, however, more in women than in men; true masculine beauty demands the ornament of the beard, which they also lack. The eyes of the Passes seemed to me more open, more finely carved, more separated from one another and not obliquely raised, the less prominent nostrils, not so much a flattened nose, but delicately formed, even straight,
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(1) When he once talked to me for a long time about this subject, and he seemed tired, he suddenly took on a very grave aspect, and repeated in a louder voice the main theme: "Toiba (God), caniickie ( for us), remenehil (fez), raase (river), acaitto (mato), unu nuho (all waters), Unu (all); Unu canuckie memerea agatigocki (everything was made for us, for we live well); agatichi to be good), neiwanicoira (owe), ocki (also in us), agatigocki gahunatiltze (behave well), cubotoame (with the companions). With the final sentence, he wanted to express that he was well meaning to me. I agreed with him, and, proving to him in fact my friendly intentions with the offering of a large cup of cachaca, he said farewell, very satisfied. On another occasion, asking him about the stars, Gregory gave some answers, from which I deduce that his tribe had compared with his neighbors the Passes certain ideas about the cosmos. He was well aware that the afternoon and evening stars are identical and gave very clear signs of believing that the earth is moving and that the sun is still. Gregorio arranged for me several boxes with ornaments of his people. These collections have the most beautiful feathers I have ever seen among the Indians.
They are made like this : of some tails, made with felt of the hair of apes. which they wear across their bare backs, bound to a bone; 2) a piece of cortica imitating a bird (or hair net, used in Europe), attached to an oblique wooden cross, having glued on the outside feathers of beautiful colors, and used pendant between those tails; 3) of a tuft, secure in the back of the head; 4) feathers of the wings of white garca, secured in front of the head; 5) of a magnificent feathered diadem, mounted on wicker cloth and fastened around the forehead. Also, the little boxes, in which the decorations are kept, are an interesting document of Indian industry; they consist of fillets of tupe stems, artistically linked together. In all respects they are the national adornments of the Coretus, as well as the Caixinhas, by whom they are kept.
Very beautiful also are the pendants, made with cotton threads and wings of the beetle Buprestis gigas, F., which the Coerunas raise like castanets in their dances.