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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Like almost everywhere, when one of these judges, without ecclesiastical oversight or other authorities, ruled the poor Indians, with oppression, intrigue and misery, the majority of settlers returned to their forests. Those three tribes lived in three rows of huts, built at the expense of the government, with wooden poles, plywood walls, and roofs of palm leaves.

At present there were only a few families of Juris and Coreteus, and even these, on the news of our arrival, hid or took refuge in the houses of the neighbors who lived on the farms, far from the village. Forced labor to which these poor people were subjected on the pretext of public service, and exclusively for the benefit of the judge, made the Indians afraid of the arrival of any white man; and only my friend Zani, their friend, could convince them that they were deceived,

Captain Zani

and then they came to us and begged me to expose to the government their state of helplessness, imposed by the judge. Against him, a complaint had already been made, because he had not paid a tax, and by his behavior of libidinous cruelty to his subordinates, it was eight days before he had returned to Ega to justify himself before the commander. We found, therefore, only a mulatto from Sao Paulo, here domiciled, who speaks Portuguese (among all Brazilians, the Paulistas are the ones who spread far and wide throughout the kingdom). Also intermittent fever has contributed to the abandonment of this place. This mulatto was excellently chosen to establish communication between the Brazilians and the innumerable tribes of the rich forests of Japura with mutual benefit for all. The fertility here was almost incredible.

Cassava

We saw cassava roots weighing 30 pounds, and 100-pound bunches of bananas.

Juris tribe

The Juris, whom we found there were civilized and seemed good-natured, as they brought us large pots with all sorts of drinks, made by the women; such products, as well as all the others of the domestic economy, completed the women's work. There were drinks made with cassava and apples and with various fruits, and some of them with a pleasant flavor (1).

(l) In the first volume we mentioned the drink prepared with corn, in common use, not only in all of Brazil, but also in Spanish America, where almost everywhere is called chicha. Other such drinks, known from the primitive Indians of Brazil, are in particular of three species, called in Tupi caxiri, cauhy or cauim and pajuaru. The juice, obtained from any of the fruits of the forest, they call caxiri (cajiri). And it is especially abundantly extracted from the fruits of the

acai,

pataua,

pupunha,

and banana,

cashew, etc.

Especially appreciated by the Indians of Japura is the decoction of the fruits of the first palm trees mentioned above, one of which has the color and flavor not very diverse from the chocolate, and is so nutritious, that, wasting no time, the Indians gorged themselves. At banquets, that drink is served, still lukewarm from the boil. Cauim and the juice of fruit infusions, or cooking of fruits, potatoes or cassava sweet (macaxera), then undergo a slight fermentation. These wines, they know how to prepare with all the fruits rich in saccharin and mucilage, and their qualities are preserved for a few days when they are stored in cool places. Other harder products, such as Turkish corn, chicha, or sweet cassava roots and potatoes, are twice brushed and fermented with the spit. After the wine turns to vinegar, it is called "sour wine" (to the Portuguese wine is given in the Tupi language, the name caui-Piranga or caui-cobaigoara, this "red wine" or "vinho of the kingdom. ") Finally, the pajuaru itself, made from cassava flour, or from the grated cassava itself,

Grating Cassava

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