Cultural Anthropology

Yanomami

The Hopi Tribe:

The name of the Hopi tribe is the derivation of the word Hopitu which means "peaceful ones," or Hopitu-shinumu, meaning "peaceful all people." The area where the Hopi live is a territory covering about 4,000 square miles in northeastern region of the state of Arizona. This territory was historically famous as the Tusayan region. Their language has its roots fro the Shoshone branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family. The climate of the region where the Hopi tribe lives is dry and temperate. The yearly average rainfall is not more than 10 inches per year, which is mainly due to the midsummer thunderstorms. This area is a flat terrain marked with washes, channels, valleys, and mesas. The natural foliage includes sage, yucca, greasewood, cactus and numerous other plants. The wild life of the region consists of animals like deer, antelope, badger, coyote, antelope and rabbits.

The Hopi tribe is by tradition agriculturalist, the main crop is the maize however some other crops are also grown such as beans, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, and cotton. The concept of Irrigation is not very common but it is usually seen to be practiced at small level. They have not adopted the practice of hunting as a profession but it is a traditional activity and they have designed several methods of hunting. The Hopi region is consisted of "Three Mesas." They have built their settlements on the tops of three mesas so as to protect themselves against the attacks of the outsiders. In the First Mesa there are the pueblos belonging to Sichomovi and Walpi, while on the Second Mesa are Mishongnovi, Shipaulovi, and Shongopovi. Finally in the third Mesa Bakavi, Hotevilla and Oraibi are settled. Some new villages are also formed by New Oraibi and Moenkopi, who are dissidents from Old Oraibi. They are also located on Third Mesa. In the first Mesa, there is also a non-Hopi pueblo, known as "Hano." The pueblos in actual is the residence of the Hopi tribe which consists of terraced apartment buildings arranged around streets and plazas. The structure of these buildings is similar to a two or more stories building if measured in height. The Hopi live jointly in the form of extended families.

The life at the Hopi villages revolves around their religious calendar. The calendar is divided on the basis of the visits of the "Kachinas." The Kachinas are believed to be the ancestral spirits which arrive after the winter and leave at the time when the summer season is at its peak. To recognize and celebrate their stay, colorful ceremonies and dances are arranged in the village plazas. It is believed that such ceremonies are going to benefit the people, plants, animal and spirit life of the tribe. When these Kachinas finally depart from the tribe, stamped images of the Kachinas are given as spiritual gifts. The Katsinam, who perform the public dances, are sacred to the Hopi people, as are the carved Kachinas which have been ceremonially sanctified. The religion is something of prime importance in the Hopi culture. The Religion involves highly structured ceremonies and events in which a religious figure Katcinas occupied a prominent place. The Katcinas symbolizes sacred living beings. These includes the spirits of plants, animals, stars, ancestors and several other creatures who have some part in aiding the humans in their passage of life. The group who is responsible for the arrangements and performances of the Katcina ceremonies is known as the kiva groups. The responsibilities for the performances of the Katcina ceremonies rotate among the kivas on year to year basis. The character of Katcina is usually performed by men in the ceremonies, however the Katcinas are male and female both. The person performing the role of a Katcina wears a mask and this mask is repainted and ornamented each time when it is used. The reason for repainting the mask every time is that each time it represents a different Katcina. Ceremonies are held throughout the year, with the location and date determined according to custom and tradition.

The governmental and controlling structure of the whole tribe is distributed. Each pueblo (which stands for a family) is politically independent. There is no central controlling authority such as a chief or a council. However, in each there is a village chief who is the person responsible for the arrangement and performances of overall ceremonies. He is considered as the leader and the most important figure of the major ceremony of the Hopi tribe known as, Soyal. The office of the village chief is held by a single family as the appointment is made on hereditary basis. The land is owned by the chief and he is the person responsible for the protection and care of his people. To assist him in his work, a council of hereditary clan leaders works with him. These leaders are also considered as the leaders of the ceremonies within a pueblo.

The most important of the society for the Hopi tribesmen is the society where they were trained during their teenage years. These societies are known as the Wuwutcim, Tao, Ahl, and Kwan. Researchers think that these are the primary societies that are most closely associated with the kivas, and it is the kiva to which a man owed his primary commitment, no matter what his tribe affiliation is. In addition to these four major societies, there are a number of men's and women's societies for instance the Flute, Antelope, and Snake societies. These societies are associated with somewhat minor issues such as rain and war and they are responsible for the performance of some of the minor ceremonies.

The Hopi tribe first came into contact with the outer world when Spanish explorers invaded the land in the year 1540. In the later years the influence of the foreign invaders started to increase and soon the Hopi men found themselves surrounded by several external invaders. The Spanish started to establish their Christian missions in the year 1629 but their efforts to influence the religious believes of the tribe never proved to be successful. There continuous interference in the internal affairs of the Hopi people resulted in the form of a revolt against them in the year 1680. In this uprising almost all of the Spaniards were killed. With the contact of the tribe with the outer world, the Hopi people faced a number of challenges. Within a very short time of fifty years their cultural existence was brought to stake. The major cultural challenge that the Hopi men faced was in the form of Religious campaigns initiated by the Spaniards in order to promot the cause of Christianity. However, their limited contact with the Spaniards benefited them to some extent as they were less influenced by them. Along with these challenges, the Hopi men were being introduced to some new things such as horse, sheep, burros and cattle. In addition to this several new vegetables and fruits were also introduced. However, the main objective of the Spaniards was to convert the religious believes of the tribe and hence they kept making persistent attempts to convert the Hopi from their spiritual beliefs.

Along with these "blessings" from the Spaniards, the Hopi people were exposed to a severe disease which was previously unknown to them. This disease was smallpox, which crashed down their population from about 10,000 to a mere 3,000. one more threat they faced was the invasion of the Navajo, who entered the region about the 13th century. They used to make frequent raids and attempted to secure Hopi land during the early part of the 19th century.

In 1882, president Chester a. Arthur allotted a small rectangular area in northeast Arizona as the Hopi reservation. This area included the present day three mesas that comprise the Hopi homeland.

The Yanomami Tribe:

The Yanomami are a native tribe made up of four subdivisions of Indians. They are expanded in the region of the tropical rain forest of Southern Venezuela and Northern Brazil. They are generally also known as the Yanamamo, Yanomam, and Sanuma. Each subdivision of the tribe has its own language and a slightly different culture. These four subdivisions of the tribe include the Sanema who live in the Northern Sector, the Ninam who live in the southeastern sector, the Yanomam who live in the southeastern part and the Yanomamo who live in the southwestern part of Yanomami region. The majority of the Yanomami existent today belong to the Yanomamo subdivision.

Their pattern of living is somewhat similar to the Hopi tribe as they live in about hundreds of small villages, which are grouped by families in one large joint residence named as Shabono. It is a building of a disc-shaped structure with an open-air central plaza. Hunting is one of the primary activities of the tribe and they use to hunt and fish over a wide range. Villages are independent but there is a great level of interaction and cooperation among them. These villages…