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ProjectHUMN250-1301A-02Jan 13, 2013From Douglas RinierShaur WarriorsMeeting the Headshrinkers of the Amazon Basin. The Shaur of a time long past were considered legendary, and a very fearsome people due to their un-settling rituals, and somewhat unique religious beliefs. What makes the Shaur unique, and feared even today, is there old time practice of shrinking the heads of their enemy, and even anyone who should stray into their territory.
Due to the Shuar??™s customs, and traditions, they believed that the shrinking of enemy??™s head, also known as a (tsantsa) would also allow them to capture there enemy??™s soul, but of course it also gained them the reputation of being a fearsome people that still holds even to this day. According to Marie McKeown of hubpages.com the practice of Head shrinking has more or less died out after the late 1950??™s, mainly due to western influence, but it is still practiced even today in some of the more remote areas of the Amazon Basin, and in turn keeps the fear alive for both there enemy, and traveler??™s venturing into the Amazon Basin. Due to the Shuar??™s customs, and traditions many unexplained disappearance??™s remain unexplained, and one can only wonder if perhaps they traveled a little farther into the Basin than maybe they should have, which also only keeps the feared reputation of the Shuar people very much alive in that part of the world. The Shuar live about 90% off the Rain Forest, there houses, there Medicines, most of the food??™s they eat, even there canoes are all made from the Forest they feel at home in, the women are in charge of all the house work, the fixing of meals, and taking care of the children, and prior to the late 1950??™s very few wore close, or shoes of any kind, that has changed somewhat over the years though and most of the children at least wear shoes these days.
Even so that has not changed the Shuar??™s Religious beliefs, or there old time traditions and they are still considered the most feared tribe in the Amazon Rain Forest, even to this day. The shrinking of one??™s head involves many carful steps, and in the correct manner, first the skin must be cut away from the skull and removed, than it must be dried in the sun, than filled with hot rocks in order to finish the shrinking of the skin, it??™s done this way to insure that the head will last for many years to come. The Shuar themselves don??™t believe in a normal death so to speak, they do believe however that certain diseases witch are caused by contact with other cultures, such as missionary travelers, whom the Shuar are accustomed to, are the result of deaths that cannot be explained. The type of death that the Shuar do believe in, and respect, is the death caused by, tsentsak,(invisible darts).
And if I were to guess the reason for that, in part anyway, is it may have been the only death they could of explained, or new of. The Shuar are a tribe of the jivaro people who live out their lives in the rain forests of the Amason Basin, and there are about 40.000 Shuar??™s left, throughout Ecuador. Thanks??™ to help from the west the men also have gun??™s, alongside spears, and choose to use both. But still feel that they can get all they need to survive just in the forest, as they have been since before the 16th century.
As far as my own understanding regarding the Shuar Warrior, we??™ll I??™m sure they won??™t be watching Saturday Night Live this week, and Headhunters with gun??™s, I know of one place I don??™t ever need to visit, but what little knowledge they have gained over the years regarding the outside world I find they must have a cultural history beyond any other, than again maybe there is something to this Head Shrinking thing. The only thing similar between our two culture??™s is the real basic??™s most the time the women takes care of children, and house, while the men support, not so much these day??™s of course, but by far that??™s about it, to know what??™s just on the other side of the forest one would think even the Shuar, would be curious. Reference.(http://marie-mckeown.hubpages.com)Shuar: Meeting the Headshrinkers of the Amazon Basin, p.1