Deposition of Ernestina, Xokleng Indian from the Ibirama Reservation - 1979


  • Posted on: 10 June 2019
  • By: claudio

- Can you explain what childbirth in your nation is like?

- In our tribe’s like I am telling you. The women squat on their heels, in the forest. Some of them take half a day, some take longer. I am a woman that never took two hours. I had just to sit on my heels. Afterwards I cut the umbilical cord. I never had a midwife to help me. It was always with the father, my husband. Then I took a weed, a piece of bamboo to cut the cord, I had it prepared. And I never left the remnants there. About the others I cannot tell you.

- Did you give the breast to the baby soon after the birth?

- No, I didn’t. I had to stay put for a while, we feel tired and we have to rest a little bit, rest the body and after that we give the breast… But there are children that are born and want to nurse soon, don’t they? I never gave the nursing bottle to my children, I always gave them my breast.

- For how long did you breast-fed them?

- I had a boy that, together with another boy, I was pregnant and he was still nursing. When I had the baby he stopped nursing by himself. He stopped it by himself. The youngest girl I nursed until she was five years old. She is the youngest. And there are some Indians who give the breast to two children at the same time.

- How many children did you have?

- I am the mother of 12 families, not counting the ones that don’t have a family yet.

- You nursed each child for more or less two years?

- Yes. I nursed each of them until they were two years old.

- When you were breast-feeding did you have your periods?

- No. They didn’t come. Indians don’t have those things. They only come when you have to… when you are going to get pregnant.

- Is it like that with everybody?

- I am telling about me and my nation, right?