Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. The original glass plate is available for inspection if necessary in the Archives Center. A limited number of fragile glass negatives and positives in the collection can be viewed directly in the Archives Center by prior appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Edited film made in the course of the Lewis Cotlow Amazon expeditions and in association with RKO Radio Pictures. The film is a compilation of footage shot during three expeditions into the Amazon region of South America (1940, 1945, and 1949) with a narrative constructed around a journey to locate and film the Shuar (Jivaro) of the western Amazon region of Peru. Film opens with a preliminary encounter with the Cuna Indians of the San Blas Islands off the eastern coast of Panama followed by embarkation upriver from the Brazilian port of Belem at the mouth of the Amazon and continuing by motorized dugout canoe into the Mato Grosso region. First contact sequences with indigenous people are filmic reenactments and several of the dances have been dubbed over with contemporary western dance music. Footage of ethnographic interest includes: Bororo settlements in the Mato Grosso; feather headdresses worn by men; river travel; fishing techniques; a wrestling match (most likely among upper Xingu people); Yagua dances and hunting near the Peruvian border in the Andes; and body painting, dress, music, and dances among the Colorado of eastern Ecuador. Film concludes with sequences shot among the Shuar of the Sepa River area, including jivarias (settlements), bathing, manufacture of poisonous darts, making of nijimache (fermented yucca beer), tsantsa (shrinking of human head), and accompanying tsantsa dance.
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Cataloging supported by Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.