Tenharim Indians

The Tenharim Indians are a tribe of Indians who live in Amazonas in Brazil. They reside near the mid Madeira River and live in homes that are handcrafted from bark and palm leaves. The Tenharim are a proud people who work hard to provide for their families. They live off the land by producing crops, hunting, fishing, and gathering.

The Tenharim are known as “Boca-Negra” or “Black Mouth” due to their corporal painting designs. They were first encountered due to the TransAmazonica highway. Master “Plummets” in their ability to combine color and textures with small feathers. Small bamboo tubes are made for “Indian Paco Robbanne” – small flowers dried and crushed into a fine powder and sprinkled on the body after a bath in the river. This give the smell of the original flower, a type of ecological perfume.

The Tenharim Indian society is one that is based on a patrilineal system. This means that each person is said to belong to their father’s side and can only marry on the other side. In some instances, this rule is changed, but very rarely, and normally only when the groom lives far away from the bride.

When a bride and groom marry, the groom owes his father-in-law for a certain period of time. The groom must work for the father-in-law, to work off a debt owed for his bride. The period of work varies on the prestige of both of the men. Those that are higher in prestige can demand longer working relationships and can even make them permanent.

The gender roles in the Tenharim society are very much like the traditional roles in other tribal societies. Men are responsible for hunting, fishing, making bows and arrows, and clearing the land. They also help in times of harvest and sometimes work outside of the village.

Women are responsible for caring for the children and taking care of the crops. They process and cook all foods and make crafts that are used for ceremonies, gifts, and for trade and sale. Planting begins in the dry season, normally around the month of June. During this time, the land is cleared and the crops are sown.

The Tenharim Indians grow a variety of crops, but like many Indian tribes in the Amazon area, they rely heavily on their crops of manioc. Manioc provides them with a way to make bread, teas, and even a beer. It is used in almost every meal and every day.

The Tenharim people are able to create stunning headdresses that are very popular amongst tribal members and are also sold to travelers throughout the area and to other villages. The art used in the creation of these intricate headdresses shows the true skill that the Tenharim people hold. They are able to create stunning plummets of dyed feathers that are true works of art.

They also create bows and arrows, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. These items are used for trade, barter with other villages, and are sometimes taken into other towns to be sold to travelers. This helps the people to raise funds for purchasing items that they cannot grow or create themselves.

The Tenharim people are truly a people who work to live off the land and respect its beauty. Through slash and burn agriculture, they grow their crops and make sure to replenish what they take from the land and from the forest. They are a people who believe in respect and great tradition, and value their families

Additional Information

Tenharim – SIL International
Ethnologue report for language code: PAH

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