Réminiscences d'un passé lointain
Text and photographs by René Fuerst
A Swiss ethnologist gives us a written and photographic record of an era and a way of life whose days are numbered.
This work constitutes an exceptional document recording life in the Mato Grosso, an area in South America covered in dense forest ten times the size of Switzerland and peopled by Indians unwilling to be approached by any outsiders. It covers the Roncador-Xingu expedition, the research of the Villas Bôas brothers and the Xingu indigenous area. By exploiting his own contacts, the author, René Fuerst, was able in 1955 to approach the Indians of Amazonia, first the Xavante and later the inhabitants of the Upper Xingu.This is his account of the fulfilment of a crazy ambition, at just twenty-two years of age.
René Fuerst is an ethnologist born in 1933. He is an expert in Amazonian Indians and visited them frequently between 1955 and 1975, devoting several books, films, and records to them. He is an independent researcher and was a curator in the Ethnographic Museum of Geneva from 1983 to 1998. He was a member of research expeditions among Amazonian Indians of the International Committee of the Red Cross (1970) and of the Aborigines Protection Society (1972), in London. In 1975, the Brazilian authorities refused him an entry visa as a result of his criticism of the official indigenous policy.