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Name stems from the word “ Yanomami ,” which means “ human beings ”

YANOMAMO. Name stems from the word “ Yanomami ,” which means “ human beings ”. BASIC INFORMATION. Have been called the most primitive and culturally intact people in the world

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Name stems from the word “ Yanomami ,” which means “ human beings ”

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  1. YANOMAMO Name stems from the word “Yanomami,” which means “human beings”

  2. BASIC INFORMATION • Have been called the most primitive and culturally intact people in the world • The Yanomami make up a culture-linguistic group composed of at least four adjacent subgroups who speak languages of the same family • Yanomae • Yanõmami • Sanima • Ninam

  3. POPULATION AND LOCATION • Population: currently 21,000-26,000 • Location: occupy the Amazonian border between Venezuela and Brazil (approx. 192,000km2)

  4. HISTORY AND ORIGINS • No genetic, anthropometric or linguistic resemblance with their neighbors • Thought to be descendents of an indigenous group that remained relatively isolated for a remote period of time • According to their oral tradition, they originated from the copulation of the demiurge Omama with the daughter of the aquatic monster Teperesiki, owner of cultivated plants • demiurge means a powerful creative force

  5. VILLAGE SETUP • Live in hundreds of small villages • Each containing 40-300 individuals • Scattered thinly throughout the Amazon Forest • Grouped by families in one large communal dwelling called a Shabono • This disc-shaped structure with an open-air central plaza is an earthly version of their gods' abode • Hunt and fish over a wide area and tend gardens in harmony with the forest • Villages are autonomous but constantly interact with each other • Distance between villages varies from a few hours walk to a ten day walk

  6. THE FAMILY • Marry in Bilateral Cross Cousin Marriages • A form of direct exchange in which two lineages or families establish permanent alliances and exchanges through marriages to each other’s women

  7. THE FAMILY • First Generation: Two men marry each other’s sisters to establish the alliance • Second Generation: The triangle marked EGO marries his bilateral cross cousin, who is at the same time both his mother’s brother’s daughter and father’s sister’s daughter • This pattern continues through successive generations

  8. THE FAMILY • Members of the same localized lineage are forbidden from marrying. This is called Lineage Exogamy • Bilateral cross cousin marriage system and co-settlement of intermarrying lineages establishes patterns or VILLAGE ENDOGAMY • Marriages are solely contracted within a particular social group, range, or relationship • Helps highlight community identity, uniqueness, and status • Although marriage is patrilocal, a husband must live with his parents-in-law for several years performing bride service. • Polygyny is permitted • 10-20% of all males at any time are polygynists

  9. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATION • Each village is an autonomous political entity • free to make war or peace with other villages • Coalitions between villages are important • Age, sex, and personal accomplishments are important in status differentiation • Mature men dominate positions of political authority and religious practice • High status is earned, not inherited • The village headman is the dominant political leader • Comes from the largest local patrilineage • The lead headman must settle disputes and deal with allies and enemies

  10. FORAGING AND GATHERING • Foraging is the most ancient technique humans use to exploit the environment • Important resources are obtained through gathering • Honey • palm fruits • brazil nuts • palm heart • cashew fruit • Allocate more than twice as much time to foraging and gathering as they do to gardening • Men specialize in risky tree climbing to shake loose fruit

  11. HUNTING • Main source of dietary protein • And an important social and ritual role for males • Good hunters are differentiated from bad hunters based on skills in locating and stalking game • Most hunting is done by individuals or pairs, but organized group hunts do occur…

  12. HUNTING WEAPONS • Bows and arrows, measuring about 2 meters in length, are the main weapons used in hunting • Received guns from trading with outsiders • Specialized quivers depending on the game: • large tips for big game • poisoned pencil-shaped tips for monkeys • harpoon points for birds and small game

  13. FISHING • Most villages are near major rivers and small streams • Even though fish here are usually small, fishing is important for all ages and sexes, especially in the dry season • Use a variety of techniques • catching • stream poisioning • use a vegetable poison to stun fish and cause them to rise to the surface where they can be grabbed or shot with a small bow and arrow • archery techniques

  14. FARMING • Engage in slash-and-burn horticulture • They clear the forest by burning it and then they plant: • plantains (similar to bananas) • cassava (used for its edible starchy root ) • plants used for relishes, medicines, and other technology sources • After 2-3 years, the garden is abandoned and allowed to grow back into a forest • Farming video (fast forward to 2:00)

  15. DIVISION OF LABOR • Both men and women participate in gardening • Both sexes share in planting • Some gardening tasks are specialized according to sex: • Men do the heavy work of felling large trees, slashing the undergrowth, and burning the debris • Women do the daily tasks of weeding and harvesting

  16. WARFARE AND FEUDING • Warfare and feuding is common • Feuds are self-perpetuating • they lack any formal mechanism to prevent aggrieved parties from exacting the amount of vengeance they deem fit • Most combat is in raids • dispatch the enemy and abduct women if possible • Main goal is to kill the men responsible for the feud • others may also be killed in the process • Peace between villages may develop if conflict has remained dormant for a long period • Reconciliation begins with a series of ceremonially festive visits • if old feuding does not flare, visits may lead to joint raids and intermarriage between villages to solidify alliances

  17. OUTSIDE CONTACT • Very little contact with the outside world until the 1980s • Since 1987, have seen about 10% of the population die by massacres and diseases brought by invaders • Thousands of miners illegally rushed into the territory after gold was discovered on their land in the 1980s • Flights from supply plains and noise from pumps have scared away game animals • Mercury dumped in rivers ascends through the food chain and affects child development • Child mortality rates are increasing while birth rates are declining

  18. OUTSIDE CONTACT • Miners have brought in diseases • Begging, prostitution, and drunkenness have also been introduced in their culture • In 1993, a group of miners tried to exterminate the village of Haximu, killing 16 Yanomami • It was classified as genocide • State and local politicians are continuing to fight to reduce the Yanomami territory to have access to rich mineral deposits • This allows gold prospectors to be replaced by large scale commercial mining operations, which will continue to devastate Yanomami land and people

  19. DRUGS • Called yopo or yãkõana • Used to evoke the spiritual world • The shaman (the spiritual leader) goes into a trance-like state and summons a spirit to help with the problems of the village • Under the drugs, the shaman imitates the songs and actions of the spirit that they invoke • Sometimes the rituals work, but not always • This drug use is very painful, it usually causes headaches and nausea • It is blown into the nasal cavity by a long pole • Shaman taking drugs video (fast forward to 1:30)

  20. Yanomamo using the hallucinogenic yopo

  21. DEATH RITUALS • When relatives die, their bodies are cremated and their ashes are eaten to preserve the life of the dead • After someone dies, their name is never allowed to be spoken again • If someone wishes to make reference to a deceased person, they must describe the person (i.e. my mother’s uncle) instead of using their name

  22. INTERESTING FACTS • Their numbering system is one, two, and more than two • Their spiritual traditions are shaped by the belief that the natural and spiritual worlds are a unified force; nature creates everything; and all is sacred. • They believe that their fate is linked to the fate of the environment, and with its destruction, humanity is committing suicide.

  23. Although it may seem that the Yanamamo are very different from our present day society, there are some similarities between the two: Family units Feasts Mourning the dead Gossip Language Body art Property Creativity Infidelity SIMILARITIES • Morality • Hierarchy and high status • Social interactions • Medical use of drugs • Tit-for-tat relationships • Socialization of children (boys by men and girls by women)

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