National Geographic : 1961 Jul
BRAZIL'S SUYA INDIANS DISCOVER THE OUTSIDE WORLD It can still happen, even in the 20th century: A remote tribe, virtually untouched by civilization, suddenly makes contact with the rest of the world. It did happen recently, in the Upper Xingu region of Brazil. The Suya Indians, who knew as little of the outside world as it did of them, paddled down a jungle river one day into the Atomic Age. So the "big-lipped men" discovered civiliza tion. But civilization didn't really discover them until Brazilian ethnologist Harald Schultz studied and photographed them for the Sao Paulo Mu seum and the National Geographic Society. What was the Suya reaction to modern life? The answer shows in the strange faces of Robndo and Ngere (above) as they study Mr. Schultz's much-traveled GEOGRAPHIC-upside down. Ethnologist Schultz became the adopted "nephew" of Ngere (right). Learning many Suya words, he acquired a vast amount of fascinating information about the lives and customs of these primitive people-notably the practice of greatly distending the lower lip by inserting successively larger plugs of light wood. Soon Mr. Schultz will pass the information on to you in a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC article. Such expeditions-and the opportunity to help make them possible-are constantly attracting new members to the rolls of the world-wide Na tional Geographic Society, whose membership now totals 2,700,000. We welcome those new members. We would welcome your friends as new members, too. Use the convenient form below to send us their names.