Monday, April 23, 2007

Anger Management, Yanomami Style!

The Yanomami, as I have mentioned before, are a very violent people. They are often referred to as "The Fierce People". They have interesting ways of dealing with problems among their tribe.We lived beside a village of Sanema which is a sub group of the Yanomami tribe.

They are known for raiding each others villages to steal women. Well, actually girls. For this reason, the governments of the past tried to limit their access to rifles. Although this limited the amount of rifles somewhat, they always managed to find a few. They also can kill quite well without rifles as they are experts with their longbows, and blow guns. Recently there is more access to rifles.

They have different manners in which they deal with conflicts, depending on the amount of offense they have take from an action. If they are angry and words alone are not enough, they will have "chestpounds". The angry people will stand in the cleared center of the round house, or these days, on the soccer field, and began to throw themselves at one another in such a way as to THUMP chests. After several rounds of this, they may feel better, and that will be that!

If that is not enough, they may have a machete hacking session. The two, or more, angry people begin to beat one another with the sides of the machete. Inevitably, they will then begin to "hack" at one another's backs. We have had to stitch up backs that had been cut in this manner. Even women and children will sometimes do this.

The old ladies will yell and cheer on their clan and make such terrible noises! This is your first warning that a fight is coming! I never knew how the old ladies always found out first!

If the machete hack job doesn't quite take care of the issues, there will be a pole fight. This consists of two people at about 20 paces from one another, politely taking turns as they lift heavy poles and hit one another over the head with them!

WHACK! What an awful sound that makes! Believe it or not, they usually survive several rounds of this brutal treatment.

And of course, if things are still bad, there is always witchcraft and spells. Or even outright murder.

There is also a way to settle a dispute over who owns the girls. If there is a discussion and no one can agree as to whom the girl should belong to, they will have a girl pull. Each man will invite his family to be on his side. Then they each grab onto an arm or a leg of the girl in question and pull! Like tug of war, but the girl is the rope. The family members grab on to help the men pull with more force. This , obviously, causes pain to the girl, dislocations of shoulder, knees and hips. I have even heard of girls being pulled to their deaths.

Next time you wonder about the "pristine" indian cultures that some say should not be taught to change...just imagine you are a Yanomami girl!

What Would Jesus Do?


Abouna said...

We can only hope and pray that they receive Jesus Christ and change their ways. What purpose would it serve them or the world to be left to continue on in this way?

Harry said...

Ah yes, the "noble savage", a state we should all aspire to in order to save the Earth. Isn't that what Al Gore wants?

Happymama said...

Ok, this is just sad. Very sad. Just out of curiosity....what is that second to the last picture of. I'm almost afraid to say what it looks like.


Anonymous said...

Just a peek at the depraved nature mankind owns! We are all depraved without Jesus Christ. How well is the Gospel received there? Is it taking a lot of time for them to be converted? I know of missionaries who spend their whole lives in a place and never see the fruit of their comes later for other missionaries who pick up where they had to leave off! In His time.

NspiredByFaith said...

Holy cow! That is horrible. I'm thinking they should give all the rifles to the girls!

MissKris said...

I do most of my blog reading before 5 am in the morning, so I don't often get a chance to do much commenting since my time frame is pretty small before my little grandson arrives for the day! But this morning I wanted to let you know I DO come by and enjoy your blog a lot! I have a brother who does a lot of world traveling with his wife, and they're taking off for their 3rd trip to Africa in October. I give them credit for some of the countries they choose to visit. I give you HUGE kudos for actually LIVING where you do, haha! What an interesting, never-know-what's-coming-next life you have. This is wonderful for us "armchair travelers" who visit other countries and cultures thru the eyes of someone else. I'm so happy you have a blog and are able to share your experiences with us! Hope this finds you well...does the weather ever change much where you're at???

Jungle Mom said...

Happymama, That is a woman de-lousing her husband and he has scars on the top of his head from pole fights.

Luvvom" The Yanomami are very resistant. The one village where there is a thriving church is where Bautista lives and the missionaries have been there for about 50 years.

MisKris, thanks for commenting and letting me know you are reading! I love my life! God has allowed me to see and do some amazing things. I also like to share it with others who have not ha the opportunity to travel in this way.
The weather here only changes in that we have a rainy season and a dry season. Rains start in April and go till October or so!

groovyoldlady said...

Romans 1 played out in real life. What more can be said?

Oh God, Hvae mercy on the precious Yanomami who so desparately need Your love and forgiveness and peace and righteousness. Open their hearts and minds to the truth of your Word and the provision of Your Son!

Pat said...

I see faces that need the hope of a risen Saviour!!

In the "scalp pic", it looks as though he has been quite an angry person or made alot of men angry!!

I realize young ladies the world over because of ritual would probably die than suffer the tribal customs......may they hear the gospel and realize the love of our Lord!

jennifer said...

Were you ever worried about your daughters?

Jane-Jane said...

Thank you again for educating us on a part of the world that we may never visit. Your REAL life experiences are not known by most.
I do thank God for technology like blogs so that we can learn about others.... Kinda like reading a book, one page a day!!!
So on my favorite books to read, will be listed your blog page... one page at a time!

Thank you for using technology, your passion and your love for God and His children to spread His word!

You rock!!

Jungle Mom said...

Jennifer, Yes, we had to be careful with our girls. We lived with the Ye'kwana who are all armed with rifles. This keeps the Sanema, Yanomami, in line as they know the Ye'wana are better armed. Hmmm... Could an armed populace lower oractually STOP violence?!?!?!

I will post about all the precautions we had to take with our children one day.

Jungle Mom said...

Jane-Jane; Thank you for reading! I do hope to write a book in the near future.

serendip said...

JM: I had to stuy Yamamano's for my anthropology class and I always admired the way they managed their level of hostilities and physical violence. Given the environment and culture they live in, it's quite a sophisticated form of conflict resolution.

Jungle Mom said...

Serendip; I am wondering which anthropologists' studies you used in college? Some of the anthropologist really "romance" things perhaps due to the fact that they rarely stay in their "test" culture long enough to observe the truth. Most come in and out for short visits and never actually learn the reality of what they are viewing or the language well enough to make a true analysis of what they "think" they are seeing. I certainly am no expert, but I have seen this many times. Often what they go back and write is pure fabrication of what they "want" to see.
To me the Yanomamis are entrapped in a society of ancestral revenge of which they want to escape but don't know how. Especially the females. They are treated as badly as the Moslem girls who undergo brutality in the name of "culture".
These people live in constant fear.

The only village where there is a avid difference is where the missionaries have taught the value of all life and a life of peace.

Did you perhaps study Napoleon Chagnon? He has been barred from ever returning due to the atrocities he has committed here with these people. Many of his precepts are untrue and he himself knows it. He said things just for the publicity, even invented legends that do not exist, etc.

I feel so sorry for these people especially the girls.
*sigh* some things are the same the world over.

Jungle Mom said...

Serendip; have you read, "Life Among the Yanomamis"? It is written by an ex-missionary, Dr, John Peters ,who lived among them and then went on to get his doctorate in anthropology, His is perhaps a different and in my opinion , clearer view of the culture due to his having lived among them and speaking their language. There is a website for his book, if you are interested.,M1

Pastor David said...

You continue to have a great blog. I may use some of these 'methods' in resolving conflicts in our congregation. Should stop most of them! :>)

serendip said...

Thank you JM. Actually, my true passion is actually cultural anthropology and I wish I had pursued it instead of biology. I much rather write about anthropology and genetics than any of this political stuff. I will definitely check it out. In fact, I'm going to order the book today.

serendip said...

JM: you don't need to be an expert to write about your observations...I much rather read your invaluable observation than some ethnographer who stays there for a short time and projects his/her own idealism in their writings.

I do remember the book I read was sort of the romanticized version of these people. You could say that I was indoctrinated quite good to this day by what I had read in college. Your keen observations have answered many questions swirling aroud in my head for years. Your blog is such a blessing for me.

javagirl1111 said...

oh, this is unthinkable! I think it's amazing how much Jesus can change people though. I think in America we need to remember what happens when God is truly forgotten and beware!

Harry said...

I too studied the Yanomamis by way of Chagnon many years ago in an Anthropology class. Do anthropologists only become famous if they - um - exagerate? I hear (but I don't know for sure) that Margaret Mead made up some whoppers.

American Crusader said...

Simple answer...send people like you.
You're an is your entire family.

Sarah Joy said...

Thank you for the education I am recieving here. That sad young face-just breaks my heart. I am praying God opens up the gospel to them again.

Elízabeth said...

JM, they don't smile.. isn't that telling?

Very educative post!


Pam said...

Another amazing post. I just love reading everyone's comments. Poor girls! Can you just imagine being pulled by so many people and for what?

Urban Infidel said...

The picture of the girl with arrow is beautiful. Both are. I wonder if any of these tribes people ever leave and venture out into the modern world.