next arrow
previous

Remember the Rainforest 1

 

Home

Expedition Index

Itinerary

Etchings

Maps

Plants

Animals

People / Scenes

Lessons

Green Girl's Eco Club

Eco SuperHeroes RTR2

Free Posters

Authors / Artists

Contact us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Indians, accustomed to the patriarchal administration of the missionaries in the villages still close to the jungle, not touched by the civilization that was slowly developing in the capital and in the most inhabited towns, remained in large numbers in their villages. And even many fugitives turned themselves in spontaneously, perhaps because of the support of all the villages that accept the deserters. The fact was that, after a short time, the system revealed all its defects: discipline and order relaxed and the teaching and civilization of the Indians was neglected. The greed of the directors was the sole motive of the administration. Many Indians fled to their homes, others were decimated by diseases acquired in contact with whites and their diversions. The proceeds, which the state raised from the directories, were always waning, and were not, at all, in proportion to the sacrifices, which from time to time were necessary. This is proved, by the small amount that in 1791, one of the best years, resulted from the products obtained from all the Indigenous villages. The sale of these items, whether received locally by the directors, or in Belem by the Treasury-General, only came to 30:000 $000. This amount represented the effort of 2,249 Indian men and 722 Indian women, who had been wood cutting, fishing, spinning, roofing, making clay vessels and collecting commercial items like turtle eggs. If these people were employed on behalf of private individuals, the profit would have yielded, at least, the quadruple.

In these sad conditions, under D. Francisco de Sousa Coutinho, Conde de Linhares, Governor of Para,

at the end of the last century, the Indians for both hurmanitarian and patriotic reasons, sought to convince the government to abolish the directories and allow the Indians absolute independence. In a memorable detail on the improvement of the Indians’ situation, he then illustrated to the prince-Regent, with the darkest paints the pernicious influence of the Directors. He said, ”The director is a tyrant, absolute lord of the Village and of the Indigenous population of any age or sex. Far from having the whites teach and instruct them, he avoids bringing them in contact with the whites, blaming it on the Indians, remembering the first time when the Jesuits gave reasons to isolate their pupils. Instead of inspiring them to make gardenns or to collect wild products, instead of offering the Indians the services provided by the Government or the resident settlers, it employs the largest possible number of them only for private purposes. Even the most moderate directors, to save appearances, returned the Indians, in general those of less use to them, to the outback to work on behalf of the Government, or employed them in any work, which was available in Belem; Except that, they lied, denying they had Indians available. Deliberately, he sought to tarnish the Indians’ character to the staff of the State and to the whites. The directors did nothing to dissuade their subordinates from the addiction of drunkenness; They had by their own account, shops to extort from the disgraced what still was left to them; In short, the whole village was under the control of the director's monopolies. As soon as the public servant objected to them, there was no lack of intrigue with which they molested him. They practiced the greatest barbarities shamelessly. They did save the wages they received from the Indians’ tasks, refusing to surrender them to their pupils; They argued that they did not work and did not want to pay the tax, and this caused embezzling from the Treasury; Even the Indians, in continuing revolt, were secretly plotting in the village, etc. “.

This dissolution of morality in the directories, and between these the directories and the State, demanded without doubt a new organization for the Indians. Don Francisco de Sousa Coutinho's proposal to send them · Although, as free and uninspected citizens, they were little overwhelmed and they also had the royal approval, and the silent ones were again emancipated, all the Indians, while the Directories were suppressed or were reduced to police positions to maintain the order, being best also for the Indians who occupy these elected positions. The tax of 6% of the proceeds from the crop paid to the directories everywhere that these continue to remain, was also abolished absolutely by the Imperial Decree of 1825.

41