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Amazonian RoutesIndigenous Mobility and Colonial Communities in Northern Brazil$
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Heather F. Roller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804787086

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804787086.001.0001

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Searching for “New People”

Searching for “New People”

3 Searching for “New People”
Amazonian Routes

Heather F. Roller

Stanford University Press

This chapter examines a different type of state-sponsored expedition to the interior: those sent with the goal of persuading independent native groups to relocate to colonial villages. Colonial Indians maintained friendly, long-term contacts with these groups in order to persuade them to resettle, and the individuals who brought about such resettlements, or descimentos, would often receive royal privileges in exchange for what was seen as important service to the crown. The descimento process was another way in which colonial Indians collaborated with the state while pursuing their own aims outside the village and interacting with people who lived outside the areas of effective Portuguese control. This chapter presents new evidence on the participation of colonial Indians as informants, sponsors, leaders, and hosts of descimentos, and it seeks to explain why they took such active roles in what has usually been portrayed as a missionary- or state-run enterprise.

Keywords:   contact expeditions, hinterlands, resettlement, migration, independent native groups, interethnic relations, social networks

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