Yanomamo Culture term paper

Essay by tcantu2College, Undergraduate September 2007

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Significant Concepts: In his article, Napoleon Chagnon describes some of the events during his stay in the Amazon Basin (Brazilian and Venezuelan jungle) for about 60 months, studying the Yanomamo people. The Yanomamo people are distributed in small villages, where social dynamics are involved with giving and receiving marriageable girls. Changon points out that the most impressive thing for him is the importance that aggression played in shaping their culture, where their mythology, ceremonies, political behavior and marriage practices are based in their chronic state of warfare.

One of his issues there was to collect a table of genealogical information, marriage relationships, and kinships within the Yanomamo village of Bisaasi-teri. Once he was able to figure out the genealogical data and organize kinships and relationships between kinships in the village, he would be able to understand the social organization of the villagers.

It was difficult for him to obtain the actual names of the tribesmen because it is a symbol of honor, respect, dignity, and political admiration between the Yanomamo.

The less your name was spoken in public within the village, the higher you were regarded. And it was considered an extreme taboo to discuss the names of the deceased as well, which made it exceptionally difficult for Chagnon to trace family lineages to the past.

He even increased the reward given to villagers who were willing to give genealogical information and therefore created a rapid craze of helping villagers. This way, they were competing to give him information for their eventual rewards, not plotting against him.

Chagnon also describes his difficulty to "socialize" there, because Yanomamo people would just be his friend if they could take some advantage of him and the things that he brings, including food. As the time went, he became a friend of Rerebawa,