Anthropologist Struggles To Save A Warrior Tribe

The Yanomamö are among the most violent people ever studied, yet Napoleon Chagnon is battling to protect them from the likes of us SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.—When a Yanomamö headman complained to Napoleon Chagnon that a missionary was intimidating the village’s shamans, the feisty anthropologist decided to remove his mantle of scientific detachment and take action. The next time the missionary came rushing into the village center to stop the dancing, Living with a tribe

Roberta Friedman
Oct 2, 1988
The Yanomamö are among the most violent people ever studied, yet Napoleon Chagnon is battling to protect them from the likes of us

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF.—When a Yanomamö headman complained to Napoleon Chagnon that a missionary was intimidating the village’s shamans, the feisty anthropologist decided to remove his mantle of scientific detachment and take action. The next time the missionary came rushing into the village center to stop the dancing,

Living with a tribe in which violence and murder is a accepted as a part of daily life keeps Chagnon on his toes. He remember a number of incidents, in which a wrong step could have ended his research—or even his Iife.

One afternoon Chagnon on found that villagers had taken the new floorboards for his canoe chopping them into paddles for their own craft. After lecturing all hearers on how hard he had worked to fashion and lay eachboard....

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