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Yanomamö Chagnon’s Yanomamo Based upon Napoleon Chagnon 2013 Yanomamo: The Legacy Edition (6th Edition), Orlando: Harcourt Brace. ISBN: 10: 1111828741.

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Presentation on theme: "Yanomamö Chagnon’s Yanomamo Based upon Napoleon Chagnon 2013 Yanomamo: The Legacy Edition (6th Edition), Orlando: Harcourt Brace. ISBN: 10: 1111828741."— Presentation transcript:

1 Yanomamö Chagnon’s Yanomamo Based upon Napoleon Chagnon 2013 Yanomamo: The Legacy Edition (6th Edition), Orlando: Harcourt Brace. ISBN: 10: 1111828741

2 HISTORY/BACKGROUND: There is few case studies better documented than this one. Chagnon has spent more than five years [60 months] in the field with the Yanomamö during some 20+ field trips.”

3 Cultural Ecology

4 PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT: TOTAL AREA OCCUPIED BY THE YANOMAMÖ: 117,500 km² KAOBAWÄ’S VILLAGE: lies at an elevation of about 450 feet above sea level on a generally flat, jungle-covered plain that is interrupted occasionally by low hills.

5 CULTIGENS: “Manioc... is cultivated in small quantities by most Yanomamö.Three other root crops are also widely cultivated and provide relatively large amounts of calories in the Yanomamö diet... ohina (Xanthosoma), sweet potatoes (hukumo), and mapuey (kabiromö)...... a a l l l l...... usually roasted in the hot coals of the hearth...Avocados, papaya trees, and hot pepper [are grown, as well as] several very important inedible cultigen n s s...... Cotton is also an important cultigen. Without a doubt, the most significant nonfood cultigen in any Yanomamö garden is tobacco, to which men, women, and children are all addicted.Their word for ‘being poor’ is literally to be without tobacco: hori.

6 WILD PLANT FOODS:“Vegetable foods most commonly exploited by the Yanomamö consist of the fruits of several species of palm, fruits of several hardwoods, Brazil nuts, tubers, seed pods of the feral ‘banana,’ and a host of lesser items, including... mushrooms.Palm hearts can be eaten almost endlessly... [and] orgies of palm heart eating in which 40 or 50 pounds [were consumed] among a dozen or so people [were] not uncommon.


8 WILD HONEY: “is one of the most highly prized foods of all, and the Yanomamö will go to great extremes to get it. FISHING: “The Yanomamö do not rely extensively on fish, but during certain times of the year fish are abundant and easily taken. One method is to simply wait for the rainy season to end.... Fish poisons... are used [in] small streams. The men put the poison into the water upstream from where a small dam has been made from sticks and mud, and wait for the fish to become stupefied.... Fish... are taken in considerable abundance in certain seasons and, as introduced fishhooks and fishline become more common, are becoming increasingly important in the diet.

9 * HUNTING--GAME ANIMALS: “... the most commonly taken... are two varieties of large game birds that resemble our pheasant and turkey respectively (marashi and pururi), two species of wild pig, several varieties of monkeys, tapir, armadillos, anteaters, alligators (caiman), deer, rodents, and a host of small birds. Many varieties of insects, fish, larvae, tadpoles, and freshwater crabs are eaten with gusto and highly prized.In some areas, large snakes are also eaten but are not considered to be very desirable.... Large toads and frogs are also eaten in some regions. Certain species of caterpillars are prized foods, as are the fat white grubs of the insect that lays its eggs in the pith of palm trees, or the grubs that live in the seeds of many palm fruits.





14 Demographic Pump Demography: the study of populations There are demographic differences between lowland and highland villages. The lowlands are much richer in animal and plant resources, and the land is easier to cultivate. Large lowland villages act as demographic pumps.

15 Lowland Villages Bigger villages More warfare Pushy and aggressive men Elaborate alliances Large regular feasts Ally feasting and trade Bellicose Raiding and abduction to control their area

16 Highlands Men more sedate and gentle Fewer abducted women Fewer of the adult men are unokais (men who have participated in the killing of other men)

17 The Protein Debate - Harris (and several of his students) argued that the Yanomamo were suffering from a shortage of animal protein. -Claims that warfare, infanticide, and aggression are a result of animal protein deficiency. = ?

18 Chagnon’s Rebuttal 1)The Yanomamo do not suffer from protein deficiency. 2)His early research indicated the Yanomamo were among the best nourished populations in anthropological literature. 3)Warfare among the Yanomamo (or any group) is too complex to reduce to a single variable such as protein deficiency. 4)The Yanomamo themselves laughed at the proposition that meat was the cause of their warfare.

19 The Big Mac Challenge - Marvin Harris insisted the onus was on Chagnon to show the Yanomamo were not suffering from protein deficiency. - Chagnon met with Harris before his 1974 trip to the Yanomamo to discuss data collection in order to end the debate once and for all. - Harris stated he would ‘eat his hat’ if the Yanomamo daily consumed the equivalent of a McDonald’s Big Mac, or about 30 grams of animal protein.

20 Comparative data on animal protein consumption per capita for some Amazonian tribes.

21 Myth and Cosmos

22 Becoming A Shaman Requirements Must be male Intense fasting period (one year) Must be sexually abstinent during training Attempt to lure hekura into one’s chest with a variety of methods

23 2. "sky layer" (hedu ka misi) 3. "this layer" (hei ka misi) 4. "bottom layer" (hei ta bebi)

24 The Origin of Men and Women Men were created by the blood of the Moon, which fell to earth after an ancestor stab Moon’s belly. Where the blood was thickest the men that sprang forth were very waiteri and fought a lot. Where it was thin, the men fought less. Women are descended from the wabu fruit. Men were harvesting vines and one man threw the fruit on the ground and it became a woman. The men brought her back to their village and…she gave birth to many daughters.

25 Origins of Copulation Two brothers: Omawa, the smart, attractive one; and Yoawa, the ugly, stupid one. Yoawa goes fishing, sees daughter of giant river monster, and is very horny Decides to lure the girl out of the water and catch her. Several unsuccessful attempts; transforms himself into different kinds of birds Yoawa asks his brother for help. Joint effort results in catching girl.

26 Origins of Copulation; Continued They return to village. Their nephew, white monkey begs to have sex with her first. Piranha fish inside her vagina bite off his penis They remove the piranha, and Yoawa begins having sex with disgusting, loud noises. Omawa shows brother the right way; have sex silently and discreetly From this time forward, people are able to copulate discreetly.

27 Social Organization and Demography

28 Small Bisaasi-teri & Namowei-teri Villages Large Shamatari Villages. Why? A Few Polygynous Men Start Village Relatively Few Patrilineages More Full Cross-Cousin Marriages Higher Overall Kin Relatedness More Intra-Village Cohesion and Fewer Fights Villages grow Larger before Fissioning



31 Is the Nuclear Family a Universal? Found as the Predominate Family Type in All Societies.

32 Curve “C”: Both Parents: Alive, Co-resident, and Married

33 Political Alliances, Trading, and Feasting



36 Yanomamo Warfare

37 LEVELS OF ESCALATION OF VIOLENCE: (1)chest pounding between two combatants using fists, the most innocuous form of fighting, which itself may be seen as having two levels: one in which the fists are empty and the other in which the combatants elect to hold rocks in their fists thereby adding to the damage each can do to his opponent. (2)side slapping contests (3)club fights, both within anf between villages, most of which “result from arguments over women; these are often used to strike the head of the opponent causing deep, ugly scars of which their bearers are immensely p p r r o o u u d d.. Some men, in fact, keep their heads c c l l e e a a n n l l y s s h h a a v v e e d d on top to display these scars... (4)warfare proper: “The objective of the raid is to kill one or more of the enemy and flee without being discovered.... Although few raids are initiated solely with the intention of capturing women, that is always a desired side benefit. A few wars, however, are started with the intention of abducting women. (5)Nomohoni (“dastardly trick”) -- ‘invite your enemies over on the pretense of a friendly social exchange and, just when they’re least expecting any treachery, kill as many of them as you can”--this is the ultimate, most cherished form of Yanomamö violence...



40 The Acceleration of Change in Yanomamoland




44 SOCIETAL CHANGE AMONG THE YANOMAMÖ: “... the world is changing more rapidly than it was in 1968 when the 1st edition was published. Changes have been near catastrophic in the tropical forests where the Yanomamö live: gold miners missionaries medical personnel tourists government representatives and... anthropologists Of those named, the gold miners have had the most destructive impact on Yanomamö health, community life, and habitat. Once pure rivers have been poisoned with mercury, hundreds of airstrips hacked out from the forest, mining camps with brothels and bars hastily erected, and new diseases against which the Yanomamö have little resistance have taken a heavy toll …










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