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The territorial distribution among the villages is irregular and the distance between villages may vary from a few hours walk to a ten day walk.
Yanomami are basically peaceful people, however a number of them are brutal warriors. In majority of the cases, their militaristic skills are you to capture a woman in order to maximize the reproductive success of their best warriors. The general trend is that the militaristic villages are usually at a distance of several days walk from each other while the peaceful ones are usually at a distance of merely less than a day. The Yanomami do not live in the form of large populations and the villages will usually split when the population reaches 100 to 150 people. However, when there is war raging out there preferences change and they will not split before they reach a population of around 300 individuals. The reasons for a warfare can be numerous primarily the women and such warfare last for a considerably long time. Hence, warfare makes up a large part of Yanomami life. The extent to which they are involved in war can be measured by the fact that about 40% of adult males have killed another person and there is always a tendency that about 25% of adult males will die from some form of aggression. This cultural aspect is the most prominent factor of the Yanomami culture that distinguishes it from the Hopi tribe. As discussed earlier, the Hopi people are peaceful and avoid war and conflict.
The Yanomami people also strongly believe on the spirits and supernaturals as the Hopis do. The Yanomami people's customs are shaped by the belief that the natural and spiritual worlds are a combined force. They believe that everything is created by nature and is blessed. It is their faith that the destiny of all the human beings is inevitably linked to the fortune of the environment. Therefore, destructing the environment is going to lead to the total humiliation of humanity. Their spiritual leader is known as a "shaman."
The Yanomani people are not limited to spend their lifetime in warfare but they also actively participate in trade and business. It is also an important aspect of Yanomami life which is somewhat helpful in reducing the chances of warfare between villages. The trade usually involves barter transactions. One village who has the ability to ptroduce any goods will exchange those goods in return of the village wives of the village who is in need of those goods. The more the trade exchanges take place among the tribes the lesser are the chances of the war.
Another important aspect of the Yanomami life are the marriages. The marriage arrangements are not only critical in establishing partnership among the villages but also in keeping the peace between families as well. The majority of the marriages are prearranged and women are usually married at a very young age. The most preferable method of marriage is the cross-cousin marriage among the families which helps produce strong associations between families and villages.
The Yanomai people are to some extent in agriculture but it is not the main profession as is the case with the Hopis. Though a very short time of their day is devoted to this job, usually two to three hours, but it is quite a labor demanding process. The major crops grown by them include sweet potatoes, bananas, sugar cane and tobacco. Hunting is one of the primary activities of the Yanomami people. They spend considerable time in hunting and it may take up to several days. Men usually make up the hunters and the women the gathers. Men will go on long distant hunts that may last up to a week. Their hunting habits and their ability to spent weeks in the forest for the purpose of hunting is enough evidence for why they are able to survive in such deep forests. Since most outsiders have invaded the Amazon via the large rivers, the Yanomami have been able to live in isolation until very recently. Because of this they have been able to retain their culture and their identity which many Indians of the Amazon have lost. They were totally spared from the outer world until the 1980s. However, in the later periods they have suffered from several diseases and annihilations brought to them by outsiders.
Eggan, Frederick Russell: Social organization of the Western Pueblos: Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1950. 17, 373
Frederick Webb Hodge, ed.: Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30,…[continue]
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