Paraguay: Last Maka Indian chief has no male heir

AP News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2011 5:00 PM
Paraguay: Last Maka Indian chief has no male heir

Britain isn't the only place where people are concerned about the rules of royal succession. In Paraguay, the leader of the Maka (ma-KAA) Indian tribe is lamenting that he has no male heir.

Andres Chemhei is 65 years old and has three daughters, but no sons. As the leader of one of Paraguay's 20 surviving indigenous tribes, he knows that without a son, his family's ancestral rule must come to an end. According to Paraguayan law, his death will trigger a democratic election for a new leader of his 1,500 people.

Chemhei spoke with The Associated Press Tuesday during a celebration of American Indian day, when Maka men and women dress in colorful costumes and share traditional dances. He says whoever's elected to succeed him must be vigilant to maintain the tribe's customs.