Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 224
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 224
 
The men had holes pierced through the septum of the nose and through the upper lip, and wore a straw through each hole. The women were not marked or mutilated. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is nevertheless a fact that the behavior of these completely naked women and men was entirely modest. There was never an indecent look or a consciously indecent gesture. They had no blankets or hammocks, and when night came simply lay down in the sand. Colonel Rondon stated that they never wore a covering by night or by day, and if it was cool slept one on each side of a small fire. Their huts were merely slight shelters against the rain.
  The moon was nearly full, and after nightfall a few of the Indians suddenly held an improvised dance for us in front of our house. There were four men, a small boy, and two young women or grown girls. Two of the men had been doing some work for the commission, and were dressed, one completely and one partially, in ordinary clothes. Two of the men and the boy were practically naked, and the two young women were absolutely so. All of them danced in a circle, without a touch of embarrassment or impropriety. The two girls kept hold of each other’s hands throughout, dancing among the men as modestly as possible, and with the occasional interchange of a laugh or jest, in as good taste and temper as in any dance in civilization. The dance consisted in slowly going round in a circle, first one way then the other, rhythmically beating time with the feet to the music of the song they were chanting. The chants—there were three of them, all told—were measured and rather slowly uttered melodies, varied with an occasional half-subdued

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