Additional Studies of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians: With Special Reference to Those of Southern British Guiana

Additional Studies of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians: With Special Reference to Those of Southern British Guiana

Additional Studies of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians: With Special Reference to Those of Southern British Guiana

Additional Studies of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians: With Special Reference to Those of Southern British Guiana

Excerpt

To confine my whole attention in the time at my disposal to the tribes of the southern area of British Guiana would have offered by itself too little material for original copy; to write a complete ethnographical history of them would have meant too much repetition of other people's labors besides my own, and, what is more, where I had expected to find at least 400 and more individuals, I met with barely 150. Of the two nations, the Taruma and Waiwai, that were believed to be occupying this portion of the colony, I could find less than a dozen representatives of the former and a little over a hundred of the latter. It accordingly seemed wisest, under these circumstances, to make the information gleaned on this expedition, extending from January to July, 1925, into a sort of appendix, as it were, to my main work on the Guiana natives, and seize the opportunity of including in it the necessary corrections and additions that had been brought under notice since its publication. That the additions have not proved few may be gauged from the amount of literature which I have been able to peruse since learning to read Dutch, which up to five or six years ago had proved a sealed book to me. On the other hand, there still remained not a small list of books relative to the Indians along the Guianese-Brazilian borders which would have proved of great service had they been procurable. But to keep a special library up to date in these out-of-the-way parts is practically impossible.

On my return to civilization from the Brazilian border, I gave my friend, Dr. J. Walter Fewkes, a résumé of my experiences from notes as jotted down for subsequent publication in our local Christmastide. In acknowledging my letter this gentleman admitted that never before had it been brought home to him so strongly how much the bureau's field workers in the Tropics, especially in the inaccessible portions of South America, had to endure in securing their results. It is this very remark that has encouraged me to include here the résumé in its completed form.

It was on the 7th of January, 1925, that permission was granted me to leave my district with the object of making some ethnological observations, on behalf of the United States Government, concerning the Indians occupying the extreme southern area of our colony. To find a substitute to undertake magisterial duties, to buy a quantity of trade goods, to gather up suitable clothes and boots, and to have everything packed into as small a space as possible occupied the better part of the following 10 days. Owing to the paucity of information concerning the Indians I proposed visiting, the choice of suitable trade articles proved some-

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