Wednesday, April 09, 2008
The tribe in Venezuela which has received the most attention and fame is the Yanomami tribe, often called, The Fierce People. One who did not know better would assume that they are the predominant people group in the amazonian jungle of Venezuela for not only are they war like, they outnumber every other tribe in the region. My husband would often warn that if the Yanomami ever learned to count higher than two, they would realize the Ye'kwana were much fewer than they and take over! ( The Yanomami counting consists of , 'one, two, and a whole lot')
The truth is , the Ye'kwana dominate the amazon region and the Pemon control the sabana. Why is this when the Yanomami are more numerous ?
The Yanomami/Sanema are very violent by nature. Their culture promotes violence and it is the means of acquiring just about anything, including women. Their tendency to violence and war has meant that the Venezuelan government has tried to limit their access to guns as much as possible. This has never stopped the Yanomami from killing! If they can not get their hands on a gun, they will kill with a blow gun, or bow and arrow, or machete, or, if they must, a club. If that fails, they will resort to witchcraft.
This warring between villages can only be curtailed in one way. If a Yanomami village is feeling weak or just needing a break from fighting, they will move in next door to a Ye'kwana village. This provides them a bit of protection from the rest of their own tribe.
Again, why is this? Simple, the Ye'kwanas have guns. Nearly every male Ye'kwana has a gun, primarily for hunting, but also for protection from jaguars, snakes, and other predators. The Ye'kwana will not permit the Yanomami to 'war' near their villages, and since the Ye'kwanas have the guns, they make the rules.
This does not by any means deter the Yanomami from murdering, it just means they have to ambush the intended victims far away in the jungle, on a lonely trail.
The Ye'kwanas all have guns in their homes at hands reach. I only heard of one homicide while living among the tribe. This murder was brought about by alcohol. I also saw one suicide by gun shot, also involving alcohol. The preferred method of suicide among the tribes is to drink the poison of the unprocessed cassava root which is a type of cyanide and brings instant death. Suicide among the tribes is fairly common especially among the women.But suicide can not be blamed on the guns.
Murder by gun shot is practically not heard of because every man knows the next man also has a weapon at the ready. This deters the violence from escalating to that point.
Indian children grow up with guns, loaded guns all around them, yet, they do not accidentally kill themselves or each other. Why? Because they are taught to obey adults. They are taught to respect their elders and guns. They have seen first hand the damage a shotgun does to a deer, they know that as a toddler if they even stretch forth a hand towards a gun, they will be punished. It is just not a problem. Teach kids to obey and to respect first off and then, everything else falls in to place!
My point in all of this is simple...guns don't kill people. People kill people. Whether it be as the Yanomami , with a stick or a stone, or as some would, with a gun, the problem is the society that does not promote respect for life. That is why we have violence, not because of guns.
I often wonder, why are people so intent to take away our right to own a gun? If you look at crime in our nation, the common element seems to be alcohol and drugs.
Why don't we work harder at eliminating those from society?