Thousands Once Spoke His Language in the Amazon. Now, He’s the Only One.

Amadeo fishing near Intuto. The Peruvian Amazon was once a vast linguistic repository, but in the last century at least 37 languages have disappeared in Peru alone. Credit Ben C. Solomon/The New York Times
Amadeo fishing near Intuto. The Peruvian Amazon was once a vast linguistic repository, but in the last century at least 37 languages have disappeared in Peru alone. Credit Ben C. Solomon/The New York Times
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Thousands Once Spoke His Language in the Amazon. Now, He’s the Only One.

Amadeo fishing near Intuto. The Peruvian Amazon was once a vast linguistic repository, but in the last century at least 37 languages have disappeared in Peru alone. Credit Ben C. Solomon/The New York Times
Amadeo fishing near Intuto. The Peruvian Amazon was once a vast linguistic repository, but in the last century at least 37 languages have disappeared in Peru alone. Credit Ben C. Solomon/The New York Times

Amadeo García García rushed upriver in his canoe, slipping into the hidden, booby-trapped camp where his brother Juan lay dying.

Juan writhed in pain and shook uncontrollably as his fever rose, battling malaria. As Amadeo consoled him, the sick man muttered back in words that no one else on Earth still understood.

Je’intavea’, he said that sweltering day in 1999. I am so ill.

The words were Taushiro. A mystery to linguists and anthropologists alike, the language was spoken by a tribe that vanished into the jungles of the Amazon basin in Peru generations ago, hoping to save itself from the invaders whose weapons and diseases had brought it to the brink of extinction.

A bend on the “wild river,” as they called it, sheltered the two brothers and the other 15 remaining members of their tribe. The clan protected its tiny settlement with a ring of deep pits, expertly hidden by a thin cover of leaves and sticks. They kept packs of attack dogs to stop outsiders from coming near. Even by the end of the 20th century, few outsiders had ever seen the Taushiro or heard their language beyond the occasional hunter, a few Christian missionaries and the armed rubber tappers who came at least twice to enslave the small tribe.

But in the end it was no use. Without rifles or medicine, they were dying off.

A jaguar killed one of the children as he slept. Two more siblings, bitten by snakes, perished without antivenom. One child drowned in a stream. A young man bled to death while hunting in the forest.

Then came the diseases. First measles, which took Juan and Amadeo’s mother. Finally, a fatal form of malaria killed their father, the patriarch of the tribe. His body was buried in the floor of his home before the structure was torched to the ground, following Taushiro tradition.

So by the time Amadeo wrestled his dying brother into the canoe that day, they were the only ones who remained, the last of a culture that once numbered in the thousands. Amadeo sped to a distant town, Intuto, that was home to a clinic. A crowd gathered on the small river dock to see who the dying stranger was, dressed only in a loincloth made of palm leaves.

Juan’s shaking soon gave way to stiffness. He drifted in and out of consciousness, finally looking up at Amadeo.

The New York Times



Kate, Princess of Wales, Says She’s Making ‘Good Progress’ in Cancer Treatment

 Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)
Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)
TT

Kate, Princess of Wales, Says She’s Making ‘Good Progress’ in Cancer Treatment

 Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)
Britain's Kate, the Princess of Wales, Patron of The Forward Trust visits HMP High Down in Sutton, England, Sept. 12, 2023, to learn about how the charity is supporting those in the criminal justice system to manage and recover from their addictions. (AP)

The Princess of Wales said Friday she is “making good progress” in her cancer treatment and will attend Saturday’s royal Trooping the Color ceremony, Kate’s first public appearance since her diagnosis.

The 42-year-old wife of Prince William has not made any public appearances this year. She announced in March that she was undergoing chemotherapy for an unspecified form of cancer.

“I am making good progress, but as anyone going through chemotherapy will know, there are good days and bad days,” Kate said in a statement released Friday, adding that she faces “a few more months” of treatment.

“I’m looking forward to attending The King’s Birthday Parade this weekend with my family and hope to join a few public engagements over the summer, but equally knowing I am not out of the woods yet,” Kate said.

The announcement is a significant milestone, but does not mark a return to full-time public duties for Kate.

Trooping the Color, also known as the King’s Birthday Parade, is an annual military parade that marks the monarch’s official birthday in June. King Charles III, who also is being treated for an undisclosed form of cancer, is due to oversee the ceremony, in which troops in full dress uniform parade past the king with their ceremonial flag, or “color.”

Kate is expected to travel in a horse-drawn carriage from Buckingham Palace with the couple’s children — Prince George, 10; Princess Charlotte, 9; and Prince Louis, who is 6 — before watching the ceremony from a building beside the parade ground. She may also join other royals for a traditional Buckingham Palace balcony appearance.

Kate’s announcement in March came after speculation proliferated on social media about her well-being and absence from public view. She has revealed few details about her illness, which was discovered after what she described as major abdominal surgery in January.

In a March video message, Kate said the diagnosis had come as “a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family.”

On Friday Kate thanked members of the public, saying she had been “blown away by all the kind messages of support and encouragement.”

“I am learning how to be patient, especially with uncertainty. Taking each day as it comes, listening to my body, and allowing myself to take this much needed time to heal,” she said. “Thank you so much for your continued understanding, and to all of you who have so bravely shared your stories with me.”

Charles, 75, disclosed his cancer in February, and has recently eased back into public duties. He attended commemorations this week for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6, 1944.

Charles is likely to travel to Saturday’s event by carriage with Queen Camilla and is expected to watch the ceremony seated on a dais, rather than on horseback as he did last year.