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("Native Dances Of Brazil")

[From a conversation with Felicitas Barreto, the celebrated Indigenous scholar, who has lived in the jungles with the Natives on the banks of the Rio Paru, lost to civilization, on the border of Brazil and French Guiana for 20 years,.. also author of "Danzas Indigenas Do Brasil",

("Native Dances Of Brazil") with descriptions of the ritual dances of various [Native] tribes.]

Author E.V. Daniken: "Tell me, do the [Natives] still have any rites or ritual objects that point to any kind of connection with the universe?"

Felicitas Barreto: "Oh yes! There are the feathered men, [Natives] who cover themselves with feathers from head to foot, to make themselves look like birds who can rise into the cosmos so easily. And then there are the countless types of masks, which, if one likes, can all be interpreted along the lines of your theories. Many of the masks have branches with several forks springing from them like the antennae in your [photos of the Hopi and others'] cave drawings. Often the [Natives] completely disguise themselves in straw to make themselves resemble their [distant] ancestors.

Joao Americo Peret, one of our outstanding [Native] scholars, recently published some photographs of Kayapo [Natives] in ritual clothing that he took as long ago as 1952, long before Gagarin's first space flight! If you look at those photographs, the first thing you think of is astronauts. The Kayapos, not to be confused with the Kaiato, live in the south of the state of Para on the Rio Fresco." These photos, were taken in an Indian village on the Rio Fresco, south of Para. In view of this really astonishing masqerade I feel that it is important to re-emphasize that Peret took these photographs in 1952 at a time when the clothing and equipment of astronauts were still not familiar to all us Europeans, let alone these [Native] Indians! Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in his spaceship Vostok I for the first time on April 12, 1961, and only since that event have astronauts in their suits become as familiar a sight as mannequins in shopwindows. The Kayapos in their straw imitation spacesuits need no commentary apart from the remark that these "ritual garments" have been worn by the Indian men of this tribe on festive occasions since time immemorial, according to Peret. The Kayapo legend that Joao Americo Peret told needs no commentary either. Peret heard it in the village of Gorotire on the banks of the Fresco from the Indian Kuben Kran Kein, the old counselor of the tribe, who bears the title of Gway Baba, the wise. This is the legend which the sage related: "Our people lived in a big savanna, far away from this region, from which one could see the mountain range of Pukato Ti, the summits of which were enveloped in a cloud of uncertainty and this uncertainty has not been cleared to this day. The sun, tired from its long daily walk, lay down on the green grass behind the brushwood and Mem Baba, the inventor of all things, covered the heaven with his cloak full of hanging stars. When a star falls down, Memi Keniti traverses heaven and takes it back to the right place. That is the task of Memi Keniti, the eternal guardian. "One day, Bep Kororoti, who came from the Pukato Ti Mountains, arrived in the village for the first time. He was clad in a *bo* (i.e. the straw suit in the pictures), which covered him from head to foot. He carried a *kop*, a thunder weapon, in his hand. Everyone in the village was terrified and fled into the bush. The men tried to protect the women and children, and some of them attempted to fight the intruder, but their weapons were too weak for they crumbled to dust every time they touched Bep Kororoti. The warrior who had come from the cosmos (or the future? - Red.) must have laughed at the weakness of those who fought against him. To demonstrate his strength he raised his *kop*, pointed it first at a tree and then at a stone, and destroyed them both. everyone believed that in so doing Bep Kororoti wanted to show them that he had not come to wage war with them. "Confusion reigned for a long time. The bravest warriors of the tribe tried to organize resistance, but in the end they could only succumb to the presence of Bep Kororoti, for he did no harm to them. His beauty, the radiant whiteness of his skin, his obvious affection and love gradually enchanted everyone. They felt safe with him and became friends. "Bep Kororoti took pleasure in learning how to use our weapons and how to become a good hunter. He progressed so well he could handle our weapons better than the best men of the tribe and was braver than the bravest men in the village. It did not take long before Bep Kororoti was recieved into the tribe as a warrior and then a young maiden sought him as a husband and married him. they begot sons and a daughter, whom they called Nio Pouti. "Bep Kororoti was more clever than anyone else so he began to instruct the others in unknown matters. He led the men in the construction of a Ng Obi, the men's house that all our villages have today. In it the men told the youngsters about their adventures and so they learnt how to behave when in danger and how to think. In truth the house was a school and Bep Kororoti was the teacher. "In the Ng Obi handicrafts were developed and our weapons were improved and there was nothing that we do not owe to the great warrior from the universe. It was he who founded the 'big chamber' in which we discussed the trials and needs of our tribe, and thus a better organization came into being that made life and work easier for everybody. "Often the young men resisted and did not go to the Ng Obi. Then Bep Kororoti put on his *bo* and sought the young men; once he had done this they could no longer resist and came quickly back to the Ng Obi because only there were they safe. "If hunting was difficult, Bep Kororoti fetched up his *kop* and killed the animals without damaging them. The hunter was always allowed to take the best piece of prey for himself, but Bep Kororoti, who did not eat the village food, only took what was essential to feed his family. His friends did not approve of this, but he did not change his attitude. "His behaviour did change with the years. He no longer went out with the others. He wanted to stay in his hut. But when he did leave his hut he always went up into the mountains of Pukato Ti from which he had come. One day he followed the will of his spirit, for he could no longer master it. He left the village. He assembled his family and only Nio Pouti was not present, for she was away, and his departure followed rapidly. The days passed and Bep Kororoti was not to be found. But suddenly he reappeared in the village square, and uttered a terrifying war cry. Everyone thought he had gone mad and they all tried to calm him down. But when the men tried to approach him, a terrible battle took place. Bep Kororoti did not use his weapons, but his body trembled and anyone who touched him fell to the ground dead. The warriors died in swarms. "The battle lasted for days, then the fallen groups of warriors could stand up again and continued to try to subdue Bep Kororoti. They pursued him almost to the crest of the mountains. Then something happened that left everyone speechless. Bep Kororoti walked backwards to the far edge of the Pukato Ti. With his *kop* he destroyed everything that was near to him. By the time he had reached the very top of the mountain range, trees and bushes had turned to dust. Suddenly there was a tremendous crash that shook the whole region and Bep Kororoti vanished into the air, surrounded by fiery clouds, smoke and thunder. By this earthshaking event the roots of the bushes were torn from the ground and the wild fruits destroyed. Game disappeared so that the tribe began to suffer from hunger. "Nio Pouti, who had married a warrior and bore a son, and was as we know a daughter of the heavenly Bep Kororoti, told her husband that she knew where food for the whole tribe could be found, but firs they would have to follow her into the mountains of Pukato Ti. Urged on by Nio Pouti her husband plucked up courage and followed her into the region of Pukato Ti. There she looked for a "special tree" in the district of Mem Baba Kent Kre and sat on its branches with her son in her lap. Then she told her husband to bend the branches of the tree down till their tips touched the ground. At the moment that this contact took place, there was a big explosion and Nio Pouti disappeared amid clouds, smoke, dust, thunder and lightning. "Her husband waited for a few days. He had lost his courage and was almost dying of hunger when he heard a crash and saw the "tree" standing in its old place again. His surprise was great, his wife was there again and with her Bep Kororoti and they brought with them big baskets full of food *such as he did not know and had never seen*. After a time the heavenly man sat in the "tree" again and ordered him to bend the boughs down to the earth. Upon contact, there was an explosion and the "tree" disappeared into the air again. "Nio Pouti returned to the village with her husband and made known an order of Bep Kororoti's. Everyone must leave immediately and erect their villages in front of Baba Kent Kre where they would get their food. Nio Pouti also said that they had to keep the seeds of fruit and vegetables and bushes until the rainy season so that they could put them in the earth again and reap new harvests. "That is how agriculture started,.. Our people moved to Pukato Ti and lived there in peace; the huts of our villages grew more numerous and they could be seen stretching from the mountains right up to the horizon..." I had this Kayapo legend, which was told me by the Indian scholar Joao Americo Peret, translated literally from the Portuguese. Equally old as the legend is the straw spacesuit which the Indians wear in memory of the appearance of Bep Kororoti. - E. V. Daniken.