Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Leslie E. Sponsel
As one of the most famous of all cultures in anthropology and beyond, the Yanomami are ethnographic celebrities. They are a large population of indigenous people living in a vast area of some 192,000 square kilometers in the Amazon rain forest. The heart of their homeland is the Sierra Parima, part of the Guyana Highlands, the mountainous divide between the watersheds of the two most famous rivers of the Amazon region, the Orinoco and the Amazon itself. Their territory overlaps the border between northwestern Brazil and southeastern Venezuela. Some 21,000 Yanomami reside in 363 scattered communities that range in size from 30 to 90 individuals with a few reaching more than 200 in size. Although very little archaeological research has been conducted in the area, two other independent lines of evidence, linguistics and blood group genetics, indicate that the Yanomami have been a separate population for 2,000 years. Their language ...