Anthropology is a major area of specialization. It involves studying various aspects of humanity. In other words, anthropology focuses on all elements that make humans. Thus, anthropology enables individuals to understand their origin, ancestors, how they became human, similarities in all humans, different cultural and linguistic groups, cultural and biological changes over time, and factors contributing to diverse human behaviors and beliefs throughout the world. This discussion focuses on a descriptive reflection on the Yanomami tribe, a comparison between the indigenous group and my culture, how role perspectives from Anthropological Perspectives Checklist impacted conception while studying indigenous people, and questions concerning indigenous groups that remain unanswered.
A Descriptive Reflection on the Yanomami Tribe
Week 2 and 3 were educative and informative. During this period, students learned about various aspects of the Yanomami Tribe. The Yanomami forms America’s largest indigenous group (Ramos, 2020). It lives in South America in the mountains and rainforests based between southern Venezuela and northern Brazil. In Brazil, this tribe occupies more than 9.6 million hectares, while its territory in Venezuela is about 8.2 million hectares (Englebert, 2019). The two areas form the largest forested indigenous territory globally. Yanomami Tribe migrated between Asia and America across the Bering Straits around 15,000 years ago and settled in South America (Englebert, 2019). Their current population is approximately 38,000 (Englebert, 2019). The Yanomami stay in circular, large, and communal houses known as shabonos, which accommodate approximately 400 people (Englebert, 2019). The tribe uses the central area for various activities, including feasts, rituals, and games. However, families prepare their food differently during the day. Hammocks are slung around the fireplace and are stoked throughout the night to keep them warm. The tribe strongly believes in equality among its members. Families are independent and work cooperatively in various economic activities to produce food that benefits the entire tribe. Consensus holds long debates before making significant decisions.
A Comparison between the Indigenous Group and my Culture
Similarities and differences exist between the Yanomami and my tribe. The indigenous tribe and my culture are similar since both value family and is considered the smallest functional unit. Family members who cook together are concerned about each other well-being. Secondly, in both cultures men and women are involved in economic activities, aiming at benefiting them at the personal, family, and community levels. On the other hand, the indigenous group and my culture differ in terms of living arrangements. The Yanomami tribe resides in circular, large, and communal houses that accommodate about 400 people (Englebert, 2019), while in our culture each family lives separately. Secondly, the Yanomami strongly supports equality and communism among its members and families depend on each other for survival. For instance, a hunter does not eat meat that he has killed. He is given meat by another hunter and shares out his meat with family members and friends (Englebert, 2019). On the contrary, in our culture, each family is dependent and parents provide for their children. Thirdly, the indigenous group and our culture differ in terms of division of labor. In the indigenous tribe, division of labor is based on sexes. Men engage in weapon making and hunting various animals, including peccary, deer, tapir, and monkey, and often use, while women engage in gardening, spinning cotton threat, and plaiting baskets (Englebert, 2019). On the other hand, our culture allows males and females to engage in similar economic activities. It is believed that women have equal capacity and skills to men to complete various tasks.
How do Role Perspectives from Anthropological Perspectives Checklist Impact Conception while Studying Indigenous People?
Cultural relativism is the first role perspective from Anthropological Perspectives Checklist that reinforced my conception while studying indigenous people. This anthropological perspective holds that individuals should aim at understanding another person’s behaviors and beliefs based on their culture rather than ours (Brown et al., 2020). Thus, I focused on understanding the behavior and beliefs of the Yanomami tribe from the perspective of its culture instead of mine. Secondly, the study of the Yanomami tribe was influenced by a comparison perspective, which focuses on learning similarities and differences, and changes experienced over time (Brown et al., 2020). In this case, I aimed at studying the differences between the indigenous group and my culture and how the Yanomami tribe has changed over time from its origin to date.
Questions Regarding the Yanomami Tribe that Remains Unanswered
Questions regarding the Yanomami tribe that has not yet been answered paves way for further studies in the future. These questions include
- Is there any technological advancement among the Yanomami tribe?
- Does the Yanomami community seek medical attention when they fall sick or during pandemics?
- Are these indigenous people interested in living outside the forest or engaging in white color jobs?
Overall, the Yanomami forms America’s largest indigenous group, living in South America in the mountains and rainforests based between southern Venezuela and northern Brazil. This tribe has similarities and differences with other cultural groups. They are similar since both value family and considers it as the smallest functional unit. However, the indigenous people differ from other cultures in terms of living arrangement, dependency level, and division of labor.
Brown, N., McIlwraith, T., & de González, L. T. (2020). Perspectives: An Open Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. 2nd Editio., The American Anthropological Association, 382-406.
Englebert, V. (2019). The Yanomami. Survivalinternational.org. https://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/yanomami
Ramos, A, R. (2020). Reflecting on the Yanomami: Ethnographic Images and the Pursuit of the Exotic. Duke University Press, Durham, USA.
Submit your Ethnographic Narrative, which should be 5–6 pages long and include the following: A descriptive reflection on the Yanomami tribe. Please include any additional insights about the group’s history/origins, culture, beliefs that you found after Weeks 2 and 3.
A comparison of the similarities or differences that you found between the indigenous group and your own culture.
An evaluation of how two of the five role perspectives from Anthropological Perspectives Checklist (Week 1 Resources Tab) influenced, changed, or reinforced your conception while studying indigenous peoples.
A description of two or three questions about the indigenous group that you studied that remains unanswered, and that you may pursue in the future.