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Title: Captura del ayoreo José Iquebi
Title:(Capture of the Ayoreo José Iquebi)
Subject: History of the South America, socialAssunto:
Assu ntanthropology,Aethnic identity of the indigenous:
Assu ntopeoples of Paraguay
Author: Deisy Amarilla
Format: 15x21,5
Pages: 298
Publisher: CEADUC 2012
ISBN: 9789995376505
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Deisy Amarilla

Captura del ayoreo José Iquebi (Capture of the Ayoreo José Iquebi)

I remember that my daddy said to me: “Iquebi, don’t go very far from us, you are still very young, and in the forest something bad might happen to you” (far from the camp)… I looked at my daddy and my mommy, and I went with my friend whom I never should see again.
We were already a bit far from my daddy and my mommy, and suddenly we found some traces we never had seen before, which we did not know. My colleague said we should follow them, and so we did.
That day, I remember very well, there was bright sunshine and it was not very cold. My friend and I were playing and laughing a lot, we, the Ayoreo always laugh a lot about anything. Soon we heard something terrible, a great noise, and we did not know what it was. We were frightened and started to run, but I was very small and could not run very fast. And then four guys showed up, mounted on some beasts I had never seen before; we ran as fast as we could, my friend to one side and I to the other, and I don’t know where he went, but the four guys followed me on their horses. And when they reached me, one of them tried to shoot me with a pistol, but another one clutched his hand, and so he did not kill me, but they caught me by lasso, with a piola (before, I did not know what a piola was, but today I know). When they caught me with the piola I tried to escape again, I thought: I am Ayoreo, I am stronger than them; but I tried in vain.
[…] When we reached the Bahía Negra, they finally took off the piola, but it was not to let me free, nothing alike, it was to put me into a cage. That moment I tried again to escape, I thought I would make it, but I couldn’t… the cage was locked. They threw me into the cage in Bahía Negra, and thus they took me till the port of Asunción. I did not know anybody; I had never seen the things I saw. That cage where they locked me was very small, like one meter, and I could not stand up, but sometimes they took me out a little bit to relieve myself. They did not want that I peed or shit inside the cage, therefore they took me out, but I could not shit because I did not eat anything. I could pee, because I was only drinking water, and they took me out to pee inside the boat, down there, peeing into the water; and I also fell ill, I had a lot of head ache, the flue and I was coughing; stuff I never had and never felt in the forest.

ConocíI met José Iquebi some years ago at the community of Jesudi, when I was writing the community’s history, and one of the nights that we gathered around the campfire to remember the old days, José told me his story. Listening to his tragic account reminded me of a writing by Primo Levi about Auschwitz, in which he told that the Nazi officers said to the Jewish prisoners that nobody would stay alive to give testimony of the events, and even if someone survived, nobody would believe him or her; people would say that the testimonies were too monstrous to be true. In the case of José Iquebi, thanks to the valuable initiative and dedicated work of Deisy Amarilla, his testimony is now written down on the pages of this book, as a lacerating memory not only of a personal fate, but of the tragedy and agony of the whole Ayoreo nation.
ConocíMarilin Rehnfeldt

ConocíJosé Iquebi belongs to the indigenous people of Ayoreo. The Ayoreo were known before by the name “Pyta Jovái”, because of the kind of sandals they were using, a rectangular sole of tapir leather, so that they did not leave toe prints. Thus people thought and believed that they were beings without toes.
In the past, the rivalries between different Ayoreo groups, between Ayoreo and other indigenous people, as well as between Ayoreo and white people caused serious conflicts. They were much persecuted by the militaries, farmers, hunters and oil searchers who opened up trails in the Chaco.
A Uruguayan journalist, reports Miguel Chase-Sardi, took a picture of a Chaco trail where a sign said: “Make Patria, kill a Moor”. And soldiers who killed a “Moor” were given the award of returning to Asunción, with the following resigning from military service. […]
The Jesuits tried to found a reduction for the Zamuco indigenous people that also included the Ayoreo, in today’s Paraguayan territory; but it lasted little, and the indigenous people dispersed. Nothing is left of this reduction, because it was built of wood and should have easily burned down. The Ayoreo, nomads, combative, adventurers and proud of being Ayoreo, did not bear the sedentary, orderly and calm life of a reduction, and they went back to their traditional life style, hiding in the Gran Chaco and reproducing their culture freely.
ConocíDeisy Amarilla

ConocíThis unique and nearly novelistic history between fiction and reality is a testimony of the cruelty perpetrated against an innocent indigenous boy. Here were usurped import cultural elements of the Ayoreo people: the territory, the clan and family links, the language, the believes, the traditional rituals and the strongest symbols of the Ayoreo culture. The history of the Latin-American countries registers discriminatory, abusive, depreciative, and assimilationist attitudes.
ConocíJosé Zanardini

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