The Arawete tribe is one of the more remote villages in the reserve and has had the least contact with outsiders. This was easily seen since the people in the tribe still had much of their native customs. They still grow their own cotton and weave the cloth to make their clothes. Using the orange pigment from the seeds of the Annatto tree (which they called "Urucum" ), they dyed their clothes and stained their skin orange in their traditional customs. They also used the white down underneath parrot's feathers to put on all over their hair in decoration. This meant there were alot of half-bald parrots running around the village! In fact there was one tree in the middle of the village which had about 20 scarlet macaws in it which were used for this purpose.
This Arawete village had a large amount of children. In fact, 60% of the tribe was under 12 years old. With so many kids there, we decided to teach them an American game... Jump-rope. Some of the kids could jump really high and they had a lot of fun learning and playing. The children in the village went to school every day to learn to read and write and to speak Portuguese. They studied very hard. They were also responsible for keeping the village clean and tidy. Every afternoon they would get together to sweep the pathways between all the huts and houses with brooms made from reeds and sticks. It was one of the cleanest Indian villages I have ever been in.
The children of the village loved to get their pictures taken and were facinated with my new digital video camera. The camera has a pop-out LCD display that you can watch like a TV while you are shooting rather than looking in a small view-finder. When the kids saw that, they all wanted to "watch TV" ! Sometimes there was a lot of pushing and shoving to get to stand by me and behind me to "watch TV" that all the sudden there was no one in front of the camera to take pictures of! They were all behind me watching! Once the women and teenaged girls saw their images on my "TV" they became shy and would cover their faces if they saw me taking pictures.
Another interesting part of the Arawete culture is that they believe it bad luck to say their own names. If you asked somebody what their name was, someone else always had to answer for them, saying, "his or her name is such and such."
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