Friday, 24 September 2010

"Children of the Silence"

This the preface to "Children of the Silence" by F.W. Kenswil. An account of the Aboriginal Indians of the Upper Mazaruni River, British Guiana. Published in 1946.

In this far-away piece of British Guiana, a most backward and much neglected race of people has been living; living the aimless lives of the hopeless. As we know, we reap, even if we ignorantly sow. This is the inexorable law of life; and, in my observances among these people, I have proved how sadly true this is.
I have been living for twenty-seven years among these Aboriginal Indiansl, I have shared their many sorrows and their few joys, and as the years have rolled by, I have seen many strange, weird, and unbelievable things. I have seen the deep pathos of life, untold suffering, unutterable degredation; but I have also seen those, who in spite of their plight, are looking for the light, and, oh! so wistfully longing for a better chance in life.
Few people have any true knowledge of the life and customs of these Indians, and regarding their origin, no one has been able to advance anything but the most vague hypotheses.
In putting forth this little book, I have tried to show the good that's in the race, necessarily exposing the evil, and the hard fight for existence that has been the lot of these "Children of the Silence".