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Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Freak-show Indian gets hero's burial
Soldiers bear the coffin of Indian chief Vaimaca Peru
Vaimaca Peru starved himself to death in France
An Indian chief taken by a French tycoon 170 years ago to be exhibited in a cage in Paris has received a hero's burial in his native Uruguay.

Hundreds of people attended the ceremony on Friday in the capital Montevideo.

The body of Vaimaca Peru was driven in a procession of cars through city before being laid to rest in a grave alongside the nation's founding fathers.

Vaimaca Peru and three other Indians were removed from a prison in 1833 with the agreement of the Uruguayan government and shipped to Paris.

The tycoon put them in cages and forced them to wear feathered caps.

Sold to circus

Uruguay's Education and Culture Minister Antonio Mercader said: ''Today we have finally concluded the sad saga of the four Indians who were taken to France against their will".

A woman commemorates Vaimaca Peru's return
Hundreds attended the procession for the chief

A museum in Paris had been housing the remains of Vaimaca Peru, who refused to eat after his arrival in France and died within months.

One of the other Indians, a witch doctor, also starved himself to death.

The tycoon sold the remaining Indians, a woman and a warrior, to a circus.

The woman died of tuberculosis in 1834 shortly after giving birth to a girl, with whom the warrior fled. They were never heard of again.

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07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
19 Jun 02 | Americas
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