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Yanomami Tribe

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    World Affairs
  • Published
    8th Sep, 2020
  • Since the 1980s, the Yanomami have been facing an onslaught from illegal gold miners.
  • The Yanomami live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, and are the largest relatively isolated tribe in South America.
  • The Yanomami are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait from Asia into North America perhaps 15,000 years ago, and travelled southward to their home in the Amazon.
  • The Yanomami practise an ancient communal way of life. They live in large, circular houses called yanos or shabonos, some of which can hold up to 400 people.
  • Rituals, feasts and games are held in the main, central area.
  • Each family has its own hearth where food is prepared and cooked during the day. At night, hammocks are slung near the fire which is stoked all night to keep people warm.
  • A hunter in Yanomami does not eat the meat he has killed. He shares it out among friends and family. In return, he will be given meat by another hunter.
  • The Yanomami consider all people to be equal, and do not have a chief. Instead, all decisions are based on consensus after long discussions and debates.
  • A third of the gold produced in Brazil is sold as jewellery in India and China.
  • India was the fourth largest importer of Brazilian gold in the world.

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