University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

The papoose
Vol. I. No. 2. (January, 1903)

A Brazilian collection,   pp. 23-27


Page 25

absolute savagery. It is curious to note the effect of climatic
influences on the race. It is generally held that the ancestors
of these people originated in the territory between Peru and
the Atlantic Ocean and were formerly of rather nobler
characteristics, as they lived in a cooler climate and at greater
altitudes. They spread northward through the broad low
lying valleys where they probably deteriorated in character
and owing to the lack of diversity of the region that they then
inhabited, the various tribes lost most of their physical and
mental differences and became remarkably alike in character.
The Indians who migrated into the higher regions of the Andes
on the other hand, developed strong individualities and ad-
vanced to a high degree of civilization, just as many ethnol-
ogists hold that the Ayrians are the offspring of the Mongo-
lian race moving into the high land of the Caucasus moun-
tains, developing a physical and mental strength that has made
their decendants the masters of the modern civilized world.
Some of the tribes live in communities of thirty families
in houses of straw, lattice work and leaves. Some of them
kill their first born children and most of them kill deformed
children, saying that they belong to the devil. Canibalism,
according to report, is by no means infrequent. A Padre in
charge of a mission in the Amazon Valley told a recent
traveler in that region that one day one of the boys in his
mission expressed a desire to eat one, of his comrades and
was in the act of cutting his throat when he was seized.
When asked how he could think of such a thing he said
with utmost simplicity, "Why not? He is very good to eat."
The native hunters by means of a little flute-like instru-
ment or by simply using the lips, imitate the notes and cries
of the birds and animals in order to lure them within striking
distance. It even happens that the hunter of one tribe hearing
the hunter of another tribe giving the cry of some animal that
he is pursuing, replies in the same note and in this way lures
the other within reach of his bow and spear.
Most of the curiosities in this collection come from the
head waters of the Tocantins and Xingu Rivers. The former,
which is a tributary of the Para, rises in the rich province of
*Minas and is 1600 miles long and 10 miles broad at its mouth.
It would be navigable for a considerable distance were it not
for the fact that it is barred about 150 miles from its mouth
by rubbage.
Among the inhabitants of this valley are the Cayapos
who are divided into about four groups. Some of them are
distinguished by the fact that they cut the hair off the top of
the head leaving it long at the sides. These people bore
their lips for ornaments of wood, stone, or bone of many
forms, cylindrical, conical, and round, so that the lip is dis-


Go up to Top of Page