Indigenous Communities Portrayal in the Letter of Dr. Chanca

The Main Topics of the Document

During the second voyage to the Americas, Dr. Diego Alvaraz Chanca faced the life of tribal people on the island of Guadeloupe. The first topic that can be discerned from his letter is the organization of the established communal life. Inhabitants of the island entirely relied on the resources available at the place of their residence exactly like Native Americans. The second topic is the importance of religious rituals and tenets that were employed for honoring and worshiping the dead.

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The third topic is the presence of a native language spoken by the people. Another essential theme is the precise division of responsibilities between men and women, which is also common for Native Americans. Finally, the last topic which is connected to the fourth one is the bellicose nature of the tribes. They are portrayed as warriors always ready to protect their land and capture neighboring territories.

Analysis of the Main Topics

Based on the first topic, it can be judged that the communal life of the inhabitants was very well organized. For example, a visit to one of the households demonstrated that people possessed lots of items needed for daily life, including pots and hammocks; they used materials such as cotton to produce carpets and other types of clothing. The construction of the houses was developed to be stable and permanent. Despite the vast use of natural resources, indigenous people of Guadeloupe showed the sustainable use and treatment of natural resources. Once the group of lost people was back, they reported that they were making the way through a lot of thick forests with abundant vegetation and wildlife. Besides, local peoples tried to domesticate smaller animals because sailors brought two big parrots to the vessels.

The expedition crew suspected indigenous groups to be cannibals because they had found human remains, specifically bones, in one of the houses. However, this was a false assumption as the religious beliefs of these people constitute the leading part of the society. Bones and skulls found in villages were part of the rituals common among the population. They valued the connection between generations and worshiped the ancestors with big respect.

The existence of the unique language proves that the people adhered to particular cultural values and norms. They did not express any desire to approach the alien group of people or share their language and culture. That is why there was a lack of proper communication leading to misunderstanding. Despite the demonstrated friendliness toward foreign invaders, they could leave at any moment as they were the masters of the land.

Indigenous groups of people found it crucial not only to protect their land but try to conquer the nearby settlements. For instance, one group of men all prepared for a battle set off on a journey to another island. Moreover, they produced weapons from the materials available like fish bones and shells as well as canoes out of wood. The division of responsibilities between men and women means society had a distinct structure. This structure allows the villages to function and sustain the traditional way of life. Women take care of the households while men prepare weaponry and initiate conflicts over land control. They took in captivity those who did not belong to their society and, therefore, could not be integrated. Many imprisoned women and children got a chance to leave the island.

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"Indigenous Communities Portrayal in the Letter of Dr. Chanca." StudyCorgi, 21 June 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Indigenous Communities Portrayal in the Letter of Dr. Chanca." June 21, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Indigenous Communities Portrayal in the Letter of Dr. Chanca." June 21, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Indigenous Communities Portrayal in the Letter of Dr. Chanca." June 21, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Indigenous Communities Portrayal in the Letter of Dr. Chanca'. 21 June.

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