May 9, 2011
The Huaorani Society of Ecuador
The Huaorani people are an indigenous forest people who live in and around the Yasuni National Park, Amazonian Ecuador. There is roughly about 1200 Huaorani people and live between the Napo and Curaray rivers in the western Amazon rain forest region. They reside in homes called “longhouses” which contain approximately 10-35 family members. The Huaorani people are more like hunter-gathers than horticulturists because they spend the majority of their time cruising or trekking through the forest and collecting what they need for that particular day and often take time to look for potential resources that they can gather at a later time. To get a better understanding of the Huaorani society we must look at the primary mode of subsistence that has played a pivotal role in their social organization, economic organization and social change. As stated earlier the primary mode of subsistence for the Huaorani society is based on hunter-gathers and its impact on their social organization can be traced through the traditions of marriage, residence status, and ritual ceremonies. The Huaorani culture shares a lot in common with several indigenous forest societies in which the social organization is confined in smaller groups of people sharing the same residence and participating as a kinship in ceremonies of their culture. Generosity is often displayed in this society by the giving of resources or meat from the animal harvested. Sole ownership of a hunt or harvest does not fare well with the kinship and is looked down upon because they work in a tightknit group to provide subsistence for all of the kinship of the longhouse. In the Huaorani culture, unmarried men live with their married sisters and act as second husbands in terms of division of labor and single mothers live with their mothers and married sisters. The on-going common residence “longhouses” that...