Cultural Practices among the Yanomamo Affiliation) Yanomamo belong to the group of Indians that live in an area that borders Venezuela and Brazil. They occupy the rain forest of Amazon. They usually group themselves with each group having a small number of people of approximately thirty people. Some groups have large numbers that can consist of nearly five hundred people. These groups are usually composed of extended families from the great grandparents to their offspring. The Yanomamo people live in unique shelters where all the people in one group live under one shelter (Warms & Nanda, 2010).
Therefore, when a tribe consists of five hundred people, the shelter usually appears large enough. Again, it is usually firm to withstand the number of people that live in it. Yanomamo live in areas near water sources especially permanent rivers that can sustain their needs. The different groups establish their borders, so that other Yanomamo group does not exploit their land. The Yanomamo are in two groups, those that live in the highlands and those that live in the low areas. Therefore, the different areas that the Yanomamo live in influence the food that they eat (Kemf, 2003).
They practice hunting, fishing in the rivers that neighbor their shelters as well as horticultural foods that they plant and harvest. Many cultural practices and beliefs come with the change of a female from childhood to being a woman in the Yanomamo tribe. When a woman first experiences her menstrual periods, the Yanomamo view her as an adult woman. Moreover, when a woman is experiencing her first menstrual period, the community views her as dirty.
Therefore, she has to stay in a deserted place where people will not see her (Andreatt, 2011). She has to dig a hole and squat on it so that the periods can leave her body and she can be clean again. The culture allows her to speak only to her siblings and her mother, which she does in whispers ensuring that other people do not hear. Her mother gives her food and she must feed by the spoon only because her body is extremely unclean. When her periods are over, she is ready for marriage to the person who booked her when she was still young.
This is because the culture of the Yanomamo people believes that the girl is still a child. She can only be married when she gets her period and becomes an adult woman. The community expects a young adult woman to bear children as well as take care of her husband. The men can treat their wives cruelly by beating them up to show other males in the community that they are strong (Ember & Ember, 2003).
The young women rarely get their menstrual periods again. This is because, for most of their marriage life, they will be pregnant or lactating for nearly three years for each child. A different cultural practice of the Yanomamo people is their value of the male who are strong and able to protect the tribe. People refer to the Yanomamo male as ferocious and dangerous. This is because most of their lives were characterized by wars and fighting that resulted in death. A majority of people in a village had their relatives killed by another person from the Yanomamo tribe (Marvin, 2006).
Therefore, this is the main reason that made the males in the community start warfare against other tribes of the Yanomamo community. The males also conducted other activities like hunting for wild animals. This was quite rare as the tribe normally survived on fish and plants that they grew in their farms. This made the birth of male children a happy moment, more so than the birth of female babies. I believe that this is because the males would be able to join the community’s warriors and fight other groups (Alber & Borofsky, 2005). From an early age, the fathers are always with their sons.
This is so that they can learn from their father how to be strong and how to fight. The fathers teach the young boys about brevity and show them how the community holds brave men highly. The women loved the males that were brave in the community and respected them. Because there was no initiation to transit the boy children to adults, the young boys started practicing and exercising to become warriors (Alber & Borofsky, 2005).
When they became strong enough and able to participate in war successfully, the women loved them, and they got sexual favors. Therefore, when they became old enough and skillful in fighting, they were able to get a wife. Consequently, the community now saw them as adults and capable of defending the tribe. The Yanomamo community believes that the only way they can protect their community and guard their resources is by use of violence. During the raid, the Yanomamo tribe captures the women.
Consequently, they marry them. This is because many wives die due to their extreme violence; and so they capture other women from other communities (Marvin, 2006). In conclusion, the Yanomamo community is the last existing of their original tribe. They usually stay in exceedingly small groups to sizeable groups of people, and the tribe is made up of their extended relatives. They have a rich culture that is decidedly different from many cultures in America. The cultures of the community looks down on women and have a system that ensures that they fear the males.
The women, unlike in many communities, become adults when they have their first menstrual periods. The people of the community view violence as a good thing because it enables them to protect their territory and their people. ReferencesAlber, B., & Borofsky, R. (2005). Yanomami: The Fierce Controversy and What We Can Learn from It. Redwood: University of California Press. Andreatt, S., & Ferraro, G. (2011). Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective. New York: Cengage Learning.
Ember, M., & Ember, C. (2003). Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the Worlds Cultures, Volume 1. New York: Springer Publisher. Kemf, E. (2003). Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas: The Law of Mother Earth. New York: Earthscan Publisher. Marvin, H. (2006). Cultural anthropology. New Jersey: Pearson. Warms, R., & Nanda, S. (2010). Cultural Anthropology. New York: Cengage Learning.