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Waiwai Chiefs, 1915

Brazil - Waiwai Chiefs
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_A7137
Document Description
Waiwai chiefs with ornaments on necks, legs and arms, 1915. The Waiwai created very complex ornaments and crafted items that incorporated bird feathers and seeds.
How are the men in this photograph dressed differently than you dress?  Why do you think they dress this way?
How do you think the other Waiwai Indians know that these men are chiefs?
What is the man on the left carrying in his hand?  What might it be used for?
How do the Waiwai Indians survive in the rainforest?
What are some advantages and disadvantages to living in the Amazon rainforest?
Look at a map of Brazil.  Based on the information given, in what part of Brazil do the Waiwai live - north, east, south, west?  What is the nearest city?
What could these men teach you?
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.