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  • White Indians in Brazil, 1953? April 25, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

    white indian

    In the long and painful relations between settling Europeans and indigenous American peoples there often came moments when genes were exchanged. Sometimes this took place because of love at the fringes of each society, sometimes it took place after rape, and in some cases children or babies from one society found themselves brought up by the other society. None of this is surprising. But the following passage is a particularly late example of this phenomenon dating to 1953. Note the attempt to use this small if anomalous case to explain ‘the white Indians’, a legend that dates back, in one form or another, to the times of the conquistadors.

    Senor Orlando Vilas Boas, a Brazilian authority on Indian tribes living in the heart of the jungle, claims to have discovered two white men and a white woman who were kidnapped when children and have since lived with one of the primitive jungle tribes. Brazilian ethnologists who, with Government departments, are investigating his claim, believe that it may be the explanation for the believed existence of ‘White Indian’ tribes. Senor Boas said that in his contact with the Jurunas, a recently pacified tribe living about sixty miles from the Government post of Pimenta, Barbosa, on the Xingu River, he had heard of the whites living as members of one of the most savage Indian tribes. He later confirmed the information personally. This tribe, discovered and recorded by the Government Service for Protection of Indians only a few years ago, known in its own language as the Mencangronotire. It is believed that they belong to the family of Caiapo Indians, whose ferocity and aversion contact with other people were proverbial in Brazil.

    Boas had clearly seen the three.

    Senor Boas described the two men ‘uncommonly strong, tall, with hair reaching to the region of the hips and beards nearly to the knees.’ Both fled before he and his men could reach them, but the following day, led by a guide ; from the Jurunas he was able to talk with them —as far as any talking was possible with human beings whose capacity for verbal expression was restricted to disconnected ejaculations. The Juruna guide was told by members of the tribe, including the chieftain, that the three whites had been kidnapped about thirty-five years ago when they were babies. It is believed that they were children of rubber gathering or gold-digging families who were massacred by the tribesmen. Senor Boas found that the three whites had no recollection of any other mode of life. Their intellectual capacity did not appear to be any greater than other members of the tribe.

    It would be interesting to know if there is any follow up to this news report: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com