Wayana-Apalai communities in Brazil wear Olok headdresses, made with harpy eagle and scarlet macaw feathers, during initiation rituals. The Florida Museum protects important cultural objects such as this from illegal trade that violates the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which protects threatened or endangered species.


Olok Headdress
Made by Wayana-Apalai people, Brazil
Dates to ~late 20th century




This Olok headdress was made in the late 20th century by the Wayana-Apalai in the Amazonian area of Brazil. It is worn in an initiation ritual known as Marake. The harpy eagle and scarlet macaw feathers are carefully stored and then reused when mounted on a basketry frame for this ceremony. This headdress was clearly reassembled for sale after it was removed from the community and sold to a collector.

It was brought to the U.S. illegally as part of a collection of over 2,500 objects imported in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. Through court proceedings, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department confiscated the entire collection and the Florida Museum of Natural History became a secure repository for the objects in 2005.

Susan Milbrath
Curator, Latin American Art and Archaeology*
Florida Museum of Natural History


On display Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum celebrated the Museum’s rich history. Each Museum collection was asked to contribute its most interesting items and share the stories that make them special. Though the physical exhibit is closed, this companion website remains online, providing an opportunity to experience the Florida Museum’s most treasured specimens.

Exhibit Area: Introduction

Cover of the All Things Beautiful bookWant to see more? Explore more than 300 breathtaking color photos of plants, animals, fossils and cultural heritage materials from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s collections in the award-winning book All Things Beautiful available from the University Press of Florida.

*This title was accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website to verify current staff and student information.

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