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Threading up the Rio Parima, Lieutenant Walter Hinton, trans-Atlantic flier and air-scout for Dr. Rice, had sought trails from the Parima valley into the Orinoco country. He found none, but located a tribe of furtive, stunted "white" Indians, the Shiritanas, who exhibited neither fear nor curiosity at sight of the white men and their aircraft.
When this was reported to [Dr. Rice] by Lieutenant Hinton, the doctor said he decided to go up the river in canoes next day and find out where the White Indians came from. The party found their hut, and after landing they were startled by weird yells. The Indians with the party became scared, and four of the twelve got back into the canoe to paddle away. The remaining eight had more nerve and made ready for battle, but finally one of the number understood the yells and answered in the Maku language. Then two Indians whho [sic] were bleached white by the sun, but of pure Indian blood, came out from the forest to greet the party. Dr. Rice described them as being undersized and undernourished. Their faces were streaked with pigments so that it was difficult to discern the features, but they were undeniably white. They wore no clothing, and carried bows and arrows which were tipped with poison, so the Indians in the expedition said. When the two received presents of beads and handkerchiefs they yelled to their companions and others soon emerged and joined the group, making in all twenty men and two women.
"When the White Indians were offered meat," Dr. Rice continued, "they declined it. I was informed that they live on wild plantains or bananas. “They move in and out between the trees like jaguars without making a sound or causing a rustle of the leaves. These White Indians, who are called Shiritanas on the upper Amazon, did not evince any curiosity at the hydroplane, at our clothing or anything we had on the expedition."
In this paper I examine in particular the visual record made in the course of Alexander Hamilton Rice’s seventh expedition to the Amazon in 1924-5. Two documentary films on the expedition were produced, based on footage supplied by Silvino Santos, the Portuguese filmmaker settled in the Amazon: Explorations in the Amazons Basin, intended for an American audience, and No rastro do eldorado, shown in Brazil.
Probably the reason that the Spanish were able to conquer the Aztecs in such a short amount of time had less to do with their skill as soldiers and more to do with the fact that the Spaniards physically resembled the descriptions in Aztec legends of the god Quetzalcoatl.
Quetzalcoatl, while symbolized as a feathered serpent, appears also to have been an historic figure - the man credited with bringing civilization, learning, culture, the calendar, mathematics, metallurgy, astronomy, masonry, architecture, productive agriculture, knowledge of the healing properties of plants, law, crafts, the arts, and peace to the native people. He is pictured as a quite different physical type than the natives - fair skinned and ruddy complexioned, long nosed, and with a long beard. He was said to have arrived by boat from the east, and sailed off again years later promising to return someday.
Originally posted by clay2 baraka
The Aztecs inherited much of their culture from the preceding Mayan civilization. I have always found the legend of Quetzalcoatl interesting. Could he be a depiction of fair skinned travelers from Europe? Is it possible that some of these explorers settled down and integrated into the jungle tribes? Are these ancestors depicted in the tale you mention in your original post?