Patrilineal Descent and Postmarital Residence among the Yanomamo Village Growth and Division - Essay Example

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I looked up and gasped when I saw a dozen burly, naked, filthy, hideous men staring at us down the shafts of their drawn arrows! Immense wads of green tobacco were stuck between their lower teeth and lips making them look even more hideous, and strands of dark-green slime dripped or hung from their noses." That's how Napoleon A…
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Patrilineal Descent and Postmarital Residence among the Yanomamo Village Growth and Division
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Download file to see previous pages The Yanomamo people of Central Brazil are one of the oldest examples of the classic pre-Columbian forest footmen. The Yanomami comprise a society of hunter-agriculturists of the tropical rainforest of Northern Amazonia, whose contact with non-indigenous society over the most part of their territory has been relatively recent. Their territory covers an area of approximately 192,000 km2, located on both sides of the border between Brazil and Venezuela, in the Orinoco-Amazon interfluvial region. They communicate in various dialects but have No written language. The total population of the Yanomami in Brazil and Venezuela is today estimated to be around 26,000 people.
The Yanomamo exist in small bands or tribes and reside in round communal huts. The Yanomami local groups are generally made up of a multifamily house in the shape of a cone or truncated cone called yano or xapono, which are actually made up of individual living quarters or by villages composed of rectangular-type houses .Each collective house or village considers itself an autonomous economic and political entity (kami theri yamaki, 'we co-residents') . The village is the basic sociopolitical unit and is occupied by several extended families, composed of nuclear family households. The founding nucleus of such a village consists of two intermarried pairs of brothers, their sisters or wives and their descendants. The two resulting lineages exchange their women, thus creating a number of affinal alliances. As additional lineage groups join the village community and intermarry with members of the original lineage, political pressures and internal factionalism frequently lead to the splitting apart of the village and the establishment of a completely new community.

These small tribes hold their men in high ranks. Chiefs are always men who are held responsible for the general knowledge and safety of the group's women. The males are permitted to beat their wives if they feel the need to and can marry more than one woman at a time. This loose form of polygamy is a way of increasing the population of the tribe.Each village has its own headman (pata), and one pata is usually more influential than the others. Migliazza (1972: 415) claims that the position of chief or headman is not really inherited, but is dependent on the chief having many living agnatic relatives and the ability to assert himself among them. There is some indication, however, that the office was once inherited patrilineally from father to son or from elder brother to younger brother. During times of war, a man with experience in combat was often chosen to act as war chief, an office which was not hereditary and which became inactive when hostilities ceased. Marriage among the Yanoama serves to bind non-agnatically related groups of males to one another in a system of exchanges involving goods, services, and the promise of a reciprocal exchange of women at a later date. All Yanoama groups, as well as their Carib neighbors, have bifurcate
Merging kinship terminology for the first ascending generation, accompanied by Iroquoian cousin terminology. Patrilineal descent and agnatic relationships are considered more important than matrilineal relatives. Clans and moieties have apparently never existed among the Yanoama, but lineages have been mentioned by Chagnon (1971). In his analysis of the kinship system, Chagnon affords a central place to the local descent group-basically a lineage segment, consisting ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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