Yanomamo: The Fierce People Short Essay - Answer Key

Napoleon Chagnon
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1. Discuss the mortality rate, its cause and resolution.

Infant mortality rates are particularly high. All unexplained deaths are the result of evil spirits, typically sent by another person. As a result, tribe members send out evil spirits of their own.

2. Describe the basic facts of the Yanomamo.

The Yanomamo tribes are "thinly scattered" over a large region. The tribes have a complex language, live in villages of forty to three hundred people, and typically dress only in scant attire.

3. What is the main dietary staple of the tribes?

The plantain--a cooking banana--is the main dietary staple of the Yanomamo.

4. Describe the work ethic of the tribe.

The Yanomamo typically work only about three hours each day. Activities include gardening, hunting, gathering or making baskets, hammocks, bows and arrows.

5. Describe the difference between the Yanomamo and their northern neighbors.

The Yanomamo avoid rivers. Their northern neighbors, the Ye'kwana, do not avoid the rivers and have elaborate canoes.

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