yanomami woman

Human rights

The Yanomami Way

October 29, 2013 by Madeleine Lesser

Sharing, listening, and communicating are all part of Yanomami culture and are ingredients to building consensus – a crucial element of Yanomami governance.

The past couple of blog posts have surrounded themes of equality, justice and democracy between indigenous peoples and their governments and associated organizations or individuals.

As world citizens, better understanding the ways of life of indigenous tribes can help us and our governments to not only have more equitable policies, but to construct them in more equitable ways.

The Yanomami tribe in Brazil, for example, values equality among all people; decisions are made by consensus after everyone has had the opportunity to voice their concerns, which often happens after long debates. They also live in very large, round, communal homes called “shabanos,” that can house hundreds of people.  Yanomami men are hunters and will not eat the meat that they hunt, but will share it with the rest of their community; they benefit from fellow tribesmen’s hunts.

Yanomami and indigenous peoples all over the world have cultivated, over centuries, harmony with their environments by balancing their needs with the needs of the surrounding ecology and do so in ways that distribute power throughout their communities.  A gap arises between decision-making methods used by indigenous peoples and their governments and if governments were more conscientious of this gap, perhaps closing it will be easier.

Rainforest Fund’s mission is to support the indigenous peoples in their efforts to protect their environments, fulfill their rights and preserve their cultures against harmful government policies and extractive industries.

Photo: Tom Wool, www.tomwool.com


To help the indigenous peoples defend their human rights and lands, please visit www.rainforestfund.org/donate and consider making a contribution this holiday season. 100% OF YOUR DONATION GOES TO THE FIELD.


Want to blog with us?  Contact Madeleine at rffund@rffny.org for more information!

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