Anthropology: Understanding Subsistance Patterns

Topics: Ya̧nomamö, Shabono, Indigenous peoples of South America Pages: 4 (1304 words) Published: January 14, 2008
Horticulture is defined as "the production of plants using a simple nonmechanized technology" (Nanda and Warms 2006:148), while Webster's Dictionary defines horticulture as the art or science of growing fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, or trees. When most people think of horticulture, they simply think of gardening or farming. Most people do not associate horticulture with culture itself or how horticulture relates to anthropology, or the study human culture. In all actuality, horticulture is a major part of cultural anthropology. The groups that hunt and grow food, and the associated eating rituals or ceremonies associated with food differs by culture or environment. This paper will discuss the subsistence pattern of horticulture as it relates to the Yanomami Indians of South America.

The Yanomamo Indians live in the Amazon between Brazil and Venezuela for thousands of years. Everyone lives together villages where the houses are built in a circle, often times, the place of shelter is one large circular house. These structures are often referred to as yanos. In the middle of the yanos, the Yanomamo Indian villagers conduct feasts and other cultural celebrations. The Yanomamo Indians do not have any written language but speak the language of Guycan. Yanomamo religion beliefs are based on hallucinogenic drugs and myth like tales handed down through ancestry.

The subsistence pattern of horticulture involves planting or farming and the up keep of domesticated animals like chickens, pigs, lambs or cows. The bananas, hunt fish and animals, and gather the fruit that grow in the forest for their diet and for medical treatment. Horticulture works well in humid, tropical conditions like those found in the Yanamamo Amazonian environment. In these environments, temperatures and rainfall are usually high, there are no cold seasons, and plants usually grow year round. Horticulturists grow plants and harvest their lands with simple tools like digging sticks, hoes,...
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