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Yanomamo Indians Essay

875 words - 4 pages

This paper looks on Yanomamo Indians traits and describes their actual way of life; the basic question that might be asked will be answered: who they are, where do they live, how do they gather food to survive and what are their skills in this domain; also how these Indians are organized politically and how are the social relations among the families and between neighboring tribes. Then, how the devastation of the scientists and journalists have changed the Yanomamo Indians way of life in the current and past century, and if they kept the same aspects of their current religion of they ancestors even thought modern world have reached them.

The Yanomamo (Yah-no-mah-muh) also called Yanomamo, Yanomami and Sanuma (which means ‘Human Being’) are deep jungle indigenous Indians living in the Amazon basin in both Venezuela and Brazil. The Yanomamo are believed to be the most primitive, culturally intact people in existence in the world. In spite of that, they exist within the modern period by use of technology which is well-adapted to their environment.

They number approximately 12,000 people and are distributed in some 125 widely scattered villages in the upper Amazon basin of Brazil and in the South of Venezuela (South America). They live in small villages that are separated by many miles of unoccupied land. The villages can be as small as 40 to 50 people or as large as 300 people 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 god’s Abode. The villages are autonomous but constantly will interact with each other.
The quote following read in the book Yanomamo Warfare is intended to give more details about number of Yanomamo

“The Yanomamo are by far the most numerous and best described of the four major divisions of Yanomamo. Population estimates put their numbers at 6,000 around 1970 (Migliazza 1972:34), at 9,000 around 1978 (Migliazza 1985:38, and at 11,752 in 171 villages in the early 1980s. Of that last count, 9,564 were in Venezuela and the remainder in Brazil north of Rio Negro),”

Historically, the Yanomamo original tribes are believed to have been living in upper Peru for a long period of time, but dramatic natural conditions made them move to the northern-eastern part of south American continuum. As F.Peters notes on his book the Xilixana Yanomami of the Amazon (2002:19):

“based on approximately 150 probable cognates, Migliazza (Migliazza and Campbell 1988:197-207, 387-456) hypothesizes that the ancestors of Yanomamo lived on the upper Ucayali river in Peru during the last “refuge” phase. As the reforestation progressed, proto-Panoan speakers from this group moved to the lower Ucayali river...

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