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Donald Haack, 78, diamond expert, adventurer, author and founder of Donald Haack Diamonds & Fine Gems in Charlotte passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 1, 2009
Diamond Memoirs

Donald Haack with the Wai Wai natives standing before a Maopityan House.

Maopityan House
Indigenous architectural traditions are continued by the peoples in the hinterland of the tropical forests, who build large, circular dwellings that symbolize aspects of their cosmological beliefs. Successive horizontal planes in the cone-shaped dwellings of the Warao and WaiWai serve to conceptualize specific areas of the universe. In the WaiWai buildings, apertures in the roof represent passageways to the cosmos. Around the central pole that supports the structure is a sacred space, the various WaiWai households being distributed around its periphery. The positions of the rafters and intermediate purlins also coincide with specific cosmological spaces. Such dwellings continue in use among the WaiWai and, until the early 20th century, were also characteristic of the Wapisiana, Makusi and Arecuna. The dwellings of certain coastal groups were of wattle and daub on square plans, roofed with Dhalebana (geonoma) Palm leaves. Tropics/Shores/9253/index.html
(Indigenous Culture)
My Encounters
with Guyana’s Tribes

by Donald Haack

(This incident excerpted from book 1, Bush Pilot in Diamond Country):
For hundreds of years, the Macusis and other tribes used their innate talent in everyday life, a fundamental communication they took for granted. ESP and deja vu came naturally to me. I wondered if working with the Macusis might enable me to go to a higher learning level. As if reading my thoughts, Domingo went on“You can do. Let head relax. Next time on trail, try what I say. Look down quickly at trail, then away. Let head guide feet. Make head go easy, think like bush.” I translated that to mean, relax and let your mind be a part of the surroundings. Be aware of the vibrations that you don’t feel now. He continued, “You shoot good with gun, but you can shoot better.”...”When you hunt, no time to aim. Animal gone quick. Bow, arrow or gun be part of arm, body head—all one. When you see animal, you point. Arrow or bullet go there. No look whole animal. Look small part..ear, hair in front of leg. Bullet go there. Tomorrow you see.”
Described in Bush Pilot in Diamond Country:
Macusi, Wapashani, Wai Wai: The Indian tribes of southern Guyana, formerly British Guiana.
The Macusi tribes were the ones closest to our home, north of the Rupununi Savanah, near the Brazilian border. The Tipuru village was three hours walk from our house and they were quite isolated from the rest of the country and civilization. The next closest Macusi village, three days walk to our house, was Karasabai, in the Karasabai Savanah just north and almost adjacent to the northern Rupununi (cattle country). The Macusis are well described in my first book, Bush Pilot…
The Wapashanis lived in both the north and south Rupununi and were predominantly in cattle ranching. They and their descendants were our closest friends in South America and were the ones who “adopted” my wife, Jan and me. If it weren’t for them and the close bonds we established, it is doubtful that we could have survived and raised our first two children in the interior. They taught us all we had to know and the “Caviat emptors” of what to be aware of or what not to do. That relationship has lasted over 50 years and we still attend their Mashramanis (meeting of the clan) when they have them. This relationship with the Wapashanis and the ranchers is described in Bush Pilot…
The Wai Wais are the most primitive and remote tribe in Guyana, living in the southernmost region, the rain forest (jungle) adjoining Surinam (formerly Dutch Guiana). A plane crashed in their remote isolated area and I was asked to fly into their territory on a rescue mission. The rescue is described in Chapter 22, page 184 in Bush Pilot…
Legends of Guyana's Amerindians:
Amerindian Legends of Guyana (Paperback) by M. A. Odeen Ishmael