National Geographic : 1971 Sep
UKOACHROME (C) N.G.S. Cloaked in forest, veiled by smoke, the secrets of a Cinta Larga village remain hidden. Ten minutes away by air, team members await the invitation that will allow them to enter one of 22 such compounds they have sighted. danger than we. Through their new contacts with civilizados, they can catch our diseases and die like flies. "It is the time now to enter the villages and cement the peace forever. And only there can we inoculate and vaccinate, and undertake the studies that must be made to assure these people a place in the future." We have not yet entered a village, however, although we have tried in every possible way to gain an invitation. Twice we believed our selves invited, but each time discovered we were not welcome. Once Takanine and some other boys, using sign language and the small vocabulary we now had in common, clearly asked us to come home with them. Nearing the village, we were suddenly surrounded by warriors who shouted angrily at the boys and warned us to go no farther. The night before this futile hike, we had heard a large jaguar coughing near the camp. I think Takanine and his friends feared the beast and wanted our company through the forest next day! On another occasion we understood Noara to have invited us. He offered no guides, and we set out on our own. After a few miles we found the trail unmistakably closed with nylon fishing line I had given the Indians. I write these words from my home in Goiania, near Brasilia. My jungle gear is all packed and waiting on my front porch. When I hear that a visit to a Cinta Larga village has been arranged, I shall go at once. With luck, I shall record the first entry into the village in words and photographs. Meanwhile, I have news both good and bad from Seventh of September Camp. The good word is that the Cinta Largas are showing unmistakable friendship for the FUNAI people. Apoena, who is a pilot, prob ably brought this about by taking three very brave youths on a flight to Porto Velho, capi tal of the territory. There a unit of the Bra zilian Army was kind enough to parade in honor of these emissaries from the forest. "The young men conducted themselves with a dignity that won the respect of all who saw them," writes Apoena. "I wish I could have watched as later they recounted their experiences to their people!" As for the bad news, we have heard that influenza has swept through Cinta Larga country. How bad it was we do not know. We have medical teams standing by, but we can do nothing until we are invited. Noth ing, that is, except pray that we will not be too late, that the intrusion of civilization has not already doomed another primitive people to extinction. [- SIX-MONTH INDEX AVAILABLE The index to National Geographic Volume 139 (January-June 1971) is now available. Members may order from National Geographic Society, Post Office Box 1524, Washington, D. C. 20013. Remit 50 cents by check or money order (no cash, please).