The Yanomamo Indians are located in the Amazon Basin in both Venezuela and Brazil. The Yanomami are believed to be the most primitive, culturally intact people in existence in the world. They are literally a Stone Age tribe. Cataloged by anthropologists as Neo-Indians with cultural characteristics that date back more than 8000 years, these are a Last Encyclopedia (Hecht, Cockburn, 1989). They are said to have a population around 26,000 people in Brazil and Venezuela.
The Yanomamo’s are a tribe who have lived a certain way for over 8,000 years and their culture is none like I’ve ever read about so I intend to explain their way of life and some of their traditions. Like many other tribes, the Yanomamo Indians spend most of daily life gardening, hunting, collecting wild foods, collecting firewood, fetching water, visiting with each other. While the men are hunting the women are making baskets and gathering food. They hunt with bows and arrows or blow guns. Their arrow heads are made out of wood shaped twigs or animal bones while other tribes would use scrap metal and the arrows are made out of cane.
Their blow guns are also made out of cane and the darts are made from sharpened fibers and balanced on the end with either cotton or the fiber of the kapok tree. Archery training starts while the boys are young and they often use a lizard tied to a string. The Yanomano’s are accurate with a blow gun and even though the darts seem to be weak, with poison it can bring down the biggest animal they hunt. They smoke a hallucinogenic drug called yopo which has been known to be very painful but they smoke it anyways to be able to speak to spirits.
Yopo is made by grinding many different roots found is the rainforest and when use it will put them into a trance state. The drug is taken in by someone else blowing it through a pipe into your nasal cavity. Many other tribes have been using hallucinogenic drugs for years because they believe that’s how you’re able to speak with spirits. The Yanomano villages consist of more of children and babies because the life expectancy is very short. Diseases including malaria and aids are very common with their villages. The common cold is even deadly because they have no immune system to fight it off.
Since the adults live a short life it’s a good thing that children start learning how hunt and gather while their young to be able to survive after their parents die. David Yanomami (one of the Amazon’s most respected “Page” or Medicine men) foretells that if the white man does not stop his perverse destruction of our Mother Earth, that the white men are doomed to extinction, right along with the rain forest and the Yanomami (Hecht, Cockburn, 1989). He’s right about us destroying the earth because pollution caused by the machines and equipment we use.
We have hospitals and medicine so while our culture might be harmful to the planet we still live longer lives because of all we’re developed. Their tradition with their dead is also very interesting because they cremate the bodies then grind and drink their bones in a final ceremony so they will remain close to their love ones. In our culture some family cremate their love ones and keep the remains in an urn to keep them close. We also bury our love ones because that’s also part of our culture. The yanomani traditions seem odd to us but our traditions may seem odd to them.
Like of culture the Yanomano Indians work together to so they’ll be able to spend time together and visit others. Also like our culture the men feel like they are the ones who have to provide and the women should just prepare plants and other things they use to cook. Now the women provide and the longer time goes the more right they get. Women even hunt and in some cases they don’t everything because they might be a single parent. From what I’ve learned about the Yanomani culture they have a little in common with other tribes as well as our culture.