Humans - Tribes · Yanomami

Yanomami – Customs & Beliefs – Amazon

Taken from –

Also see Shabono – the village style of the Yanomami –

Also – Notes on the impact on their culture by mining etc.

” The people of Yanomami are interested in protecting their culture and heritage, but what is most important to them is protecting the environment they are spiritually connected to (Survival International, 2015, p.1).”


Spiritual Beliefs and Culture

Spiritual Beliefs

The people of Yanomami have a strong spiritual connection with the world through their practicing of Shamanism (Survival International, 2015, p.1). Members of the tribe believe that everything has a spirit, and that those spirits are controlled positively or negatively by Shamans (Survival International, 2015, p.1). There is a spiritual practice done by the Yanomami to contact the spirits. A person inhales a hallucinogenic substance called “yakoana” which allows them to enter a trance state of mind.


The Yanomami tribe is primarily located in isolated rainforests and mountains between northern Brazil and southern Venezuela (Survival International, 2015, p. 1). Within a Yanomami community there are large communal houses called “yanos” or “shabonos” that are large enough to hold up to 400 people (Survival International, 2015, p.1). The communities within this tribe do not believe in having one leader or chief, they believe in equality among everyone and making decisions together (Survival International, 2015, p.1). Similar to other ancient civilizations the Yanomami people divide daily activities between the men and women of the tribe. Men are hunters, and women do the gardening and cooking (Survival International, p.1). Plants and wildlife play an important role in the Yanomami’s culture, as they use approximately 500 different types of them for medicine, food, and building shelter (Survival International, 2015, p.1). A days work for a typical Yanomami community is finished within four hours, the rest of the time is used for leisure and social activities such as weaving baskets and painting one another (Englebert, 2004, p.186).

Tribe History

The Yanomami is a vast indigenous tribe, situated in the Amazon rainforests and mountains circumscribing Brazil and Venezuela. The number of inhabitants in this tribe was once over 35,000 individuals who lived in about 250 villages. This tribe started over 8,000 years ago, and is still around today. Throughout the years, the tribe have claimed new land—distinguish it by placing out posts to mark their territory (Nilsson, M., & Fearnside, P. (2011, June 1).


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