The North-West Amazons: Notes of Some Months Spent Among Cannibal Tribes

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Constable, Limited, 1915 - Indians of South America - 319 pages
 

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About ten pages truncated and as always all the pictures larger than the page are not scanned.

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Page 216 - Brown could use the drum for small matters - he could hurry the bearers out of the bush for example. He said there was no code, but that the signaller tried to represent the sound of words with the drum, and Indians invariably told me that they made the words with the drum. However, with a language dependent on inflection, as theirs unquestionably is, there must be a code of some description.
Page 216 - Okaina, insists (1915:215) that they "can carry on conversations upon almost any subject within their ken. Other tribes are only able to distinguish between a warning of danger and an invitation to a dance. [A local white resident] said there was no code, but that the signaller tried to represent the sound of the words with the drum and Indians invariably told me that they made the words with the drum. However, with a language dependent on inflection [ie non-tonal], as theirs unquestionably is, there...
Page 214 - In fact, the most remarkable of all the native instruments is the manguare or signal drum. Although the primary use of this drum is to signal, it is utilised on great occasions as an addition to the aboriginal orchestra. To make this important adjunct of the maloka two blocks of hard wood are chosen, some six feet in length, and about twentyfour inches in diameter. These blocks are very carefully hollowed out by means of heated stones that are introduced through a narrow longitudinal slit, and char...
Page 61 - They fight because they are afraid of each other, and see no protection but in the extermination of their neighbors. Every ill that befalls a man they set down to the evil Intent of an enemy. Death, from whatsoever cause, Is invariably considered to be murder, and as murder It has to be revenged on some suspected person or persons. Hence it follows that blood feuds innumerable are carried on relentlessly. Any and every excuse serves for a fight. If a thunderstorm should wreck a house it is more than...
Page 190 - They are the songs that their fathers sang, and one can find no evidence of the amendation or emendation of the score on the part of their descendants." " The dance, like the tobacco palaver, is a dominant factor in tribal life. For it the Amazonian treasures the songs of his fathers> and will master strange rhymes and words that for him no longer have meaning ; he only knows that they De Orbe Novo, English trans, by MacNutt, New York (1912), vol. i, p. 172. For the North American Indians, see,...
Page 61 - Every ill that befalls a man they set down to the evil Intent of an enemy. Death, from whatsoever cause, Is invariably considered to be murder, and as murder It has to be revenged on some suspected person or persons. Hence it follows that blood feuds innumerable are carried on relentlessly. Any and every excuse serves for a fight. If a thunderstorm should wreck a house it is more than sufficient reason for that household to attack another in reprisal of the damage done; for it is to them quite evident...
Page 239 - ... sometimes happens, if none such can be found, the whole party lives as best they may in the canoe until the waters disappear from the face of the earth. It is well known how in all countries the proverbial ' oldest inhabitant ' remembers and tells of the highest flood that ever happened. When therefore the Indian tells in his simple language the tradition of the highest flood which covered all the small world known to him, and tells how the Indians escaped it,1 it is not difficult to realise...
Page 89 - Die Palau-Inseln,' p. 68. 8 Since the appearance of the first edition of this work I have become acquainted with Mr. Johnston's book on ' The River Congo,' where he says (p. 418), ' Clothing was first adopted as a means of decoration rather than from motives of decency. The private parts were first adorned with the appendages that were afterwards used by a dawning sense of modesty to conceal them.
Page 214 - The Indians have no cymbals, gongs, or bells ; but the drum is an important factor not only in native music, but in native life. The drum is the telegraph of the Amazons. In fact, the most remarkable of all the native instruments is the manguare or signal drum. Although the primary use of this drum is to signal, it is utilised on great occasions as an addition to the aboriginal orchestra. To make this important adjunct of the maloka two blocks of hard wood are chosen, some six feet in length, and...
Page 228 - were constantly impressed with the idea that one black fellow will often tell you that he can and does do something magical, whilst all the time he is perfectly well aware that he cannot, and yet firmly believes that some other man can really do it. In order that his fellows may not be considered in this respect as superior to himself, he is obliged to resort to what is really a fraud ; but in course of time he may even come to lose sight of the fact that it is a fraud which he is practising upon...

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