The harmful Yanomamo culture as portrayed in Spirit of the Rainforest

Today, we will continue the series of “Spirit of the Rainforest” by looking at the negative aspects of this culture from an outsiders perspective. This is a commentary on the appearance of a culture that was portrayed in the book.


Negative Aspects

A major negative aspect of the Yanomamo culture is a degrading and disrespectful view of women. They are often raped and captured as part of village raids. If they try to escape and leave their husbands they are maimed or killed. Women are promised to whoever presents himself as a good son-in-law by hunting meat and serving the parents, regardless of a woman’s desire and age. The men assert that the women are only here for the men, not the men for the women.[1] The men seem only to care about sex and when the woman is ready for sex (meaning of age).[2] This is further illustrated in the story of Longfoot and Yoshicami when she was sick, he left her because he could not “get any more sex out of her.”[3] However, many of the wars that occur in the book happen over a dispute over a woman, including the war between Honey and Mouth.

Another negative aspect is the cycle of vengeance. It is taught from an early age and continues throughout one’s life as long as that may be. If a village kills a relative, the relative and the rest of their village is to raid the killer’s village to kill them as well as others. This often led to fear of attack and ambush, eventually causing villages to starve. While Honey turned from this Yanomamo culture, they still faced that struggle of seeking revenge when they were wronged. But, God changed their lives and helped them understand what it means to live a life that honors Him valuing peace, love, and respect for others including women over vengeance and war. Their loyalty to God surpasses their loyalty to others and even one’s appearance when they appeared as cowards.

[1] Ibid, 102.

[2] Ibid, 102, 157.

[3] Ibid, 189.


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