The Account: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Relación

By Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; Martin A. Favata et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX
About the Peoples and Languages

I also wish to give an account of the peoples and languages from the Isle of Misfortune to this point. 1 On the Isle of Misfortune there are two languages: one group speaks Capoque and the other speaks Han. On the mainland across from the island there is another group called the Charruco, who take their name from the woods in which they live. Further along the seacoast live others called the Doguenes and across from them others whose name is the Mendica. Still further along the coast are the Quevenes and across from them on the mainland and well inland are the Mariames. Going along the coast there are others called the Guaycones; on the mainland across from them and inland are the Yguazes. By these are others named the Atayos and beyond them the Acubadaos. There are many Acubadaos further on in that direction. On the coast live others called the Quitoles; on the mainland across from them and inland are the Avavares. To these should be added the Maliacones, Cutalchiches, Susolas and Comos. Further along the coast are the Camoles, and further on the same coast are the ones we call Indians of the Figs. 2

All these people have different dwellings, villages and languages. Among these there is a language in which men are called by saying arre aca, meaning "look here," and dogs by saying xo. 3

Throughout this land they get drunk on a certain smoke 4 and give all they have to obtain it. They also drink a tea 5 made from the leaves of a tree that resembles the live oak, 6 which they toast in vessels on a fire. After the leaves are toasted, they fill the vessel with water and keep it on the fire. When it has twice come to a boil, they pour it into another vessel and cool it with half a gourd. When it is very foamy, they drink it as hot as they can stand it. From the time they take this tea out of the vessel until they drink it, they shout, asking who wants to drink. When the women hear these shouts they stand still without daring to move. Even if they are carrying a heavy load they do not dare move. If by chance a woman moves during this time, they shame her and beat her and very angrily pour out the brew

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