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Interior of Waiwai House, Brazil, 1915

Brazil - Interior of Waiwai Native House
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_A6970
Document Description
Interior of a Waiwai house located at Matitili near the head of the Trombetas River, 1915.
This house was built at the head of the Trombetas River. Locate it on a map.
What is this Waiwai house made from?
What items do you see in the house?
What do the Waiwai use for beds?
How is this house different from yours?  In what ways is it the same?
Would this be a good house for living in a rainforest?  Why or why not?
Why do you think the Waiwai built houses like this?
This photograph was taken in 1915.  Do you think this house is still there?  Why or why not?
Historical Challenges
Research a Brazilian Indian tribe. Learn about their food, clothing, shelter, religion, customs, population, etc. How have their lives changed since the Portuguese settled Brazil?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: How much lower is the Indian population in Brazil today than it was before the Portuguese came to Brazil?
Science: Learn about the unique plants and animals that live in the Amazon rainforest.
English Language Arts: Pretend that you are a Waiwai Indian visiting a city for the first time. Describe what you see and do.
Bauer, Brandy. Brazil: Questions and Answers about Countries. Capstone Press, 2004. ISBN: 0736824812
Black, Carolyn. Brazil: The Land. Crabtree Publishing Company, 2003. ISBN: 0778793389
Heinrichs, Ann. Brazil. New York: Children’s Press, 1997. ISBN: 0516203282
Holiday, Jane. Exploring Brazil with the 5 Themes of Geography. Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2005. ISBN: 0823946398
Jermyn, Leslie. Brazil. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Pub., 1999. ISBN: 0836822587

Historical Context
At the time the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, approximately eight million Indians lived in the country.  The arrival of the Portuguese was disastrous for the native population.  They were killed and enslaved by the colonists and died from diseases that came from Europe with the explorers and settlers.  Today only about 200,000 Indians remain in Brazil.

The Waiwai are Carib-speaking natives of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and Guyana.  Approximately two thousand Waiwai live in Brazil.  They survive by hunting, fishing, and clearing small areas of the forest to plant crops.  They are especially skilled at crafts such as basket making and pottery. 

Essential Question
How does movement of human populations impact culture?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and discuss the cultural diversity of Brazil.