Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
them, they had with them a big mandioc cake, some honey, and a little fish. One of them wore a high helmet of puma-skin, with the tail hanging down his backhandsome head-gear, which he gladly bartered for several strings of bright coral-red beads. Around the upper arms of two of them were bands bound so tightly as to cut into and deform the musclesa singular custom, seemingly not only purposeless but mischievous, which is common among this tribe and many others.
The Nhambiquaras are a numerous tribe, covering a large region. But they have no general organization. Each group of families acts for itself. Half a dozen years previously they had been very hostile, and Colonel Rondon had to guard his camp and exercise every precaution to guarantee his safety, while at the same time successfully endeavoring to avoid the necessity of himself shedding blood. Now they are, for the most part, friendly. But there are groups or individuals that are not. Several soldiers have been killed at these little lonely stations; and while in some cases the attack may have been due to the soldiers having meddled with Nhambiquara women, in other cases the killing was entirely wanton and unprovoked. Sooner or later these criminals or outlaws will have to be brought to justice; it will not do to let their crimes go unpunished. Twice soldiers have deserted and fled to the Nhambiquaras. The runaways were well received, were given wives, and adopted into the tribe.
The country when opened will be a healthy abode for white settlers. But pioneering in the wilderness is grim work for both man and beast. Continually, as we journeyed