Known for their fierce, aggressive nature and frequent violent disputes, the Yanomamo are a primitive tribe of Indians that live in almost complete seclusion in the dense rain forests of South America. They are one of the oldest examples of the classic pre-Columbian forest footmen. Little is known about them because of their jungle isolation, but because of the destruction of the forest, foreign influences are beginning to interfere with the tribes way of life. From their physical environment, subsistence, clothing, marriage variations, religion, to cultural change, it is quite easy to see how many of us Americans take our culture for granted.
No matter the location, people everywhere must become adapted to the physical environment within which they live in order to survive, and produce offspring who will carry on their traditions. The Yanomamo are no different. Their physical environment contains not only lands, forests, resources, and foods, it contains many other things as well. Rivers and streams are a vital part of Yanomamo living quarters. Most of the rivers and streams begin in the hills as tiny trickles that are dry at some times of the year but dangerous torrents at other times. A sudden heavy rain can have a dramatic effect on streams, and the Yanomamo therefore avoid larger streams when it comes to selecting garden and village sites (Chagnon 1997: 46). The jungle is relatively dense and contains a large variety of palm and hardwood trees. The canopy keeps the sunlight from reaching the ground, and on overcast days it can be very dark and gloomy in the jungle (Chagnon 1997: 46). Villages are scattered irregularly, and the distances between the villages can be a short as a few hours walk to as along as a week to ten days (http://Indian-cultures.com/cultures.yanomamo.html). They usually travel on dangerous trails that include many risks. The Yanomamo have no shoes or clothing, so thorns are always a problem (Chagnon 1997: 47).