Foto: William Crocker, 1975


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Antônio Gonçalves Dias’ famous poem "Os Timbiras" (The Timbira) cannot be used as an introduction to the peoples known by such denomination. The poet, who was born in 1823 in the then village of Caxias, in the State of Maranhão, to the north of the lands of these peoples, which had just been conquered, did not have much contact with them because he left the area when he was very young. For that reason he attributed to the Timbira costumes from the Tupi of the coast, which he learned by reading books written by travelers, combined with norms, feelings and aspirations typical of the urban environment in which he himself lived. Even the names of his characters are inspired in the Tupi language.