The Case of Darkness in El Dorado …as the Yanomami Group Three: Brian Staub Colin Ricketts Ryan Mercier Andrew Kay Courtney Calloway Dan Colaiezzi
YANOMAMI Background Information
Where do they live? • Border of Venezuela and Brazil • Orinoco River Basin (Southern Venezuela) • Amazon River Basin (Northern Brazil) • Approximately 363 Villages • 30 to 90 Residents each
How do they live? • Communal House • Shabono • Relocate approx. every 5 years • Horticulture • Plantains • Tobacco • Vegetables • Medicines • Foraging • Monkeys • Deer • Foul • Nuts, Fruits • Fish
Social Organization • Each Village is Autonomous. • Age, Sex, and Personal Accomplishments are Important in Status Differentiation. • “Yanomamö men acquire high status through valor in combat, accomplished oratory, and expertise in shamanism”. • Mature men dominate positions of political authority and religious practice. • Local descent groups play important roles in regulating marriages and settling disputes within the village.
Family Structure • Monogamous or Polygynous nuclear families are the rule. • Marital partners ought to be cross-cousins. • Men and women average 2.8 marital partners. • 75% due to divorce as a result of death to male or female partner.
What problems do they face? • Conflict with other villages • Brazilian Gold Miners (Beginning 1980s) • Physical Health Effects • Noise from supply planes scaring away game. • Mercury dumped in rivers. • Introduction of new illnesses. • Social System Effects • Introduction of Alcohol outside ritual leads to violence. • Introduction of prostitution.
Major Changes • Growing dependency on trade with outsiders for metal goods. • Pots, arrows, fish hooks, axes, etc. • Effects of Brazilian Gold Miners
YANOMAMI Role In Controversy
The Controversy • October 1, 2000 - Patrick Tierney publishes The Darkness in El Dorado • Sensational revelations • Exposes people of prestige in the anthropological community • Main Focus: • Long term project of study of the Yanomami organized by James Neel in which Chagnon, Asch, and numerous other anthropologists took part • Tierney’s Revelations: • Project was an outgrowth and continuation of the AEC’s experiments on human subjects • Neel and Chagnon started an epidemic of measles • An attempt to provide scientific support for Neel’s eugenic theory
Role in Controversy • The Yanomami people are the “subjects” in the case of The Darkness in El Dorado • Neel-Chagnon anthropological research in the 1960s • Patrick Tierney’s detailed book titled The Darkness in El Dorado • Investigations by the AAA, and both Venezuela’s and Brazil’s government • The victims of alleged “culture-destroying” practices
YANOMAMI Benefits and Losses
Benefits • Ties to the real world. • Gained modern day tools and weapons, through trade. • axes, machetes, fish hooks, cooking pots
Losses • Yanomami culture was given bad image. • Napoleon Chagnon’s book The Fierce People. • Changes in everyday life. • Broken alliances.
Losses • Disease and death. • Measles Epidemic of 1968. • Loss of privacy.
YANOMAMI Relationship with Anthropologists
Relationship with the Anthropologists • Yanomami and anthropologists were allies for the most part. • Yanomami gave anthropologists information in return for goods (soap, machetes, etc.). • The anthropologists introduced the Yanomami to things such as healthcare and vaccinations. • Yanomami gave names to their “friends” the anthropologists (i.e. Waru). • Yanomami made the anthropologists establish friendships upon entering their territory.
YANOMAMI Relationship with Native Countries
The Yanomami in Venezuela and Brazil • Are considered full citizens by both governments. • They are mostly ignored by the two governments. • Both countries failed to the Yanomami from invasion into their land. • Which led to disease, pollution and frequent violent encounter.
Venezuela Relationship • Yanomami are full citizens with rights to language, culture, religion and political organization. • Government promised to provide healthcare, but has never delivered on the promise. • Government failed to protect Yanomami from miners in the late 80’s, early 90’s. • The Yanomami were awarded a National Park in 1990 after suing Venezuela Government.
Brazil Relationship • Yanomami are full citizens. • National Congress can permit the use of their land for hydroelectric and mining projects. • As in Venezuela, Brazilian government failed to protect Yanomami from rogue miners.
Brazil Relationship Continued • The Northern Perimeter Roadway made it easier for ranchers and miners to take over Yanomami land. • Led to disease, violence, loss of land and pollution. • Yanomami made claims of rapes at nearby military bases.
Sources • Shabono - http://www.yanomami.de/yanomami.html • Overview Shot of Yanomami Village - http://www.socioambiental.org/pib/epienglish/yanomami/land.shtm • Settlement Patterns - http://www.unl.edu/rhames/212/YANREADG.htm • Benefits & Losses -http://members.aol.com/archaeodog/darkness_in_el_dorado/documents/0421.htm • http://phschool.com/science/science_news/articles/rumble_in_jungle.html • Role in Controversy – • http://www.ratical.org/ratville/Yanomami.html • www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0204/q_n_a.html • http://members.aol.com/archaeodog/darkness_in_el_dorado/index.htm