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Word Count: 969
In 23 years of field work Napoleon Chagnon has observed and recorded the histories of 60 Yanomami villages In recent years his writings have contributed to the label of the Yanomami as a fierce people He has created an image of these people which is not only questionable from an anthropological perspective but also an image that has brought detriment to their society as a whole By analyzing Chagnons interpretations of the Yanomami lifestyle one sees that his ideas are highly influenced by western standards of life and can be rethought using basic non-biased logic One of the central arguments that the Yanomami are a violent people is the presence of unokai in Yanomami society a word Chagnon translates as killer These unokai are as defined by Chagnon men who have either killed another person or were involved in the attack which led to the killing Although his arguments presented in a 1988 article of Science magazine do not go into great detail about the process of gaining the title of unokai he centers many of his points around the unokai and their actions Of the 283 deaths Chagnon recorded in 23 years among the Yanomami he attributes 153 of these to unokai who were living when the article was published He goes on to state that almost everyone in the villages he has visited had a family member or kinsman killed by blood revenge or because of a unokai hunting party Because of this supposed high incidence of violence and its effect on a large portion of the population he leads the reader to the conclusion the Yanomami are an exceedingly savage society and that the unokai epitomize this idea Chagnons ideas are in contrast to those presented by Bruce Albert in his 1989 article in Current Anthropology Albert a noted anthropologist has conducted research among the Yanomami and has developed different theories about their violent tendencies One of the
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