Summary Of Cannibalism In Brazil

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Hans Staden’s True History: An Account of Cannibal Captivity in Brazil shows the exchange of religious ideas between European nations and indigenous tribes, such as the Tupís. Staden not only emphasizes the differences in religious interpretations of cannibalism, but also attempts to elucidate indigenous cannibalism by paralleling it to European practices, like medieval chivalry. Influenced by cultural biases and colonial mentality, Staden’s True History: An Account of Cannibal Captivity in Brazil portrays European perspectives on the religious conquest of South America and how Christianity influenced colonial anthological portrayals of anthropophagy and indigenous religions. Staden, unlike prior European colonizers like Columbus, deviates…show more content…
Staden uses the repetition of revenge, such as when the Tupís captured him in order to “revenge the deaths of their friends” (49) and during the ceremonial dance when they told Staden “we want to take revenge on you for [killing our people]” (91). Staden’s repetition of revenge represents how indigenous cannibalism was not due to subsistence, but rather religious rituals and ceremonies in respect for the dead. Staden further describes the indigenous reasoning for cannibalism by writing how “[after the one] that keep[s] me and [then kills] me when they [want] to eat me [acquires another name through me],” (55) indicating how, according to Tupinamba religion, Tupís warriors are able to gain honor, respect and nobility in Tupí society by cannibalizing another person and gaining his or her characteristics, or ‘their name.’ According to the Tupinamba religion, the Tupís believed that through anthropophagy, they gain the characteristics of the person whose flesh they were eating. In fear of absorbing weakness, they only sacrificed those whom they perceived as strong. In addition to the incorporation of attributes, the cannibalism of the remains of dead relatives was a form of respect and honor to them. In addition, Staden writes how, “the king of the hut scratches him [the

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