Anthropology is the analysis based on the genesis of human beings, their social and intercultural development. In accordance to their work Ethnography takes care of human ethno-genesis. Therefore it is part of historical science which revolves around peoples’ composition and social welfare characteristics. In this event it is a tool that is vital in the collection of data that is first hand and secondary data collection. This hence aid in unraveling the local life and its origin. According to Boaz “Secrets of the Tribe” is a film based upon the Yanomami Indian tribe (The fierce people) which focuses on the anthropologist’s way of life. The films thus bring to light the unethical behavior of anthropologists who studied the Yanomami Indians during the 1960s and 1970s. In this way they engaged themselves in uncouth interactions with the tribe that is medical and sexual violations among other things. Hence it was nominated for the grand jury price among the other documentary films. Through this the film accounts the setbacks and virility among the Yanomami people.

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The Apocalypse

The awareness of the Yanomami came into center stage when Chagnon Jacques Lizot, anthropologists, took to the field. The Yanomami Indians during the 1980s and 1990s died under the assault of enlightenment. According to Chagnon this led to public outcry by the Anthropologists who then accused the Brazilian government for spearheading their deaths. This led to the alteration of Brazilian policies for instance the demarcation of land specifically for the “virgin” tribe. Despite the efforts death cases were still reported due to Malaria, sexual transmitted diseases, infections due to viruses and malnutrition. The Yanomami perceive life as precarious and hence proximity to the end of the world. Omame (Yanomami creator) buried toxic substances underground which when it could escape into the earth would impact fatal outcomes. Therefore as long as the gold remains unearthed all is well. Nature brings with it supernatural threats and misfortunes for instance diseases. Shamans in this way keep them at bay.

The Yanomami Indian tribe is among the world’s “virgin” cultures in existence. They are hence the largest population in the indigenous Amerindian people in South America. They reside in the Amazon lining the border between Brazil and Venezuela. According to the natives Yanomami means mankind. However, because their remoteness of their habitats they remained so “yesterday”. This was until the beginning of the 20th century when they were exposed. Though in the late 1960s garimpeiros commenced penetrating into the Yanomami territory this caused less impact.  During their gold exploitation venture they killed the natives in conflict over land. Moreover the methods they used in extraction of the mineral led environmental impairment.

Secrets of the tribe

The film, which was directed by Brazilian Padilha focuses on the westerners who leaved within the Amazon’s Yanomami people. The film thus documents how the tribe had isolated from civilization. Tribe’s men hence points at the camera angrily protesting against anthropologists. Thus it unravels the hundreds of death cases caused by the greed to research. This was a result of the Atomic energy commission research. Moreover this led to sexual predatory character among the anthropologists, Jacques Lizot. He traded guns and other needs for sexual favors from young Yanomami boys. This makes prostitution a way of life in his career. In this event they had whatsoever no interest in appearing in media, maiming their lives. This is depicted through the long camera duration focusing on the tribal men contrary to Lizot who opts not.  However, when time elapse the victims retaliates to bring forward Lizot’s behavior.

Apart from prostitution Kenneth Good perhaps an angel as perceived by the Yanomami, marries a girl barely at her teens. Academic ethnicity is compromised with ethnocentric morality. On the other hand Chagnon indulges into the genocide and homicide of the tribe. Yanomami were seen as a fierce tried but he went ahead and equipped them with lethal weapons. For instance he traded with them machetes, axes and other harmful weapons. Eventually this made them a potential risk even to their own clan’s men.

Anthropology avoids the vital axiom of the venture that, knowing thyself. This erroneous action has caused more harm than good. It has hence inflicted human suffering by anthropologists for instance the agony stomached by the Yanomami. Thus had Chagnon focused on the axiom they would have caused less animosity with the latter. Apart from that natives detest the anthropologists. This is depicted through the palm-frond effigy of Chagnon was shot by arrows after their departure. It was therefore important for the characters to have a sense of gyidance amonest them so that the real theme and aim of the film is brought out clearly.

Anthropological practices through the structuring of genealogies may lead to eventual setbacks especially to the Yanomami natives. He hence forced the natives to pronounce out loud the names of their dead. This was a taboo making the natives face difficulties. The natives therefore could not comprehend the reason behind pronouncing the names. They in this way understood this as witchcraft and black magic. According to Tierney the natives this was an insult and would otherwise trigger war. For instance within a period of three months in the arrival of Chagnon three different wars broke out as a result of greed. Tribes fought over the steel goods (lethal weapons) brought by him. As a result the tribe’s men traded their daughters with them. Tribal accusations due to Chagnon’s doings with black magic behind the scenes sprouted bloody war. This never was an issue among the tribe before his arrival.

Arrival of measles at Mission Ocamo

The arrival of measles in the territory came with the arrival of the Brazilian visitors. Neel and his colleagues spent a lion’s share of their time vaccinating the natives. This was made through Dr. Marcel Roche a clinical practitioner who was performing his research. It was carried out on a 14 year old male in which he later developed severe fever. A period later the vaccination progressed however, victims developed similar illnesses. It hence led to the wide spread of the disease. The Brazilians were never infected before arrival hence not the source.

Apart from inter-tribal wars medical practices administered by Chagnon led to mass death during that period. Measles vaccination with toxic Edmonton B virus was a sole cause of the genocide. After his arrival Yanomami population decreased dramatically from 3,000 to 200 within the Ocamo headwaters. The measles vaccination instead of cubing the risk resulted into an epidemic which escalated with their encroachment into Yanomami territory. The natives were used as “guinea fowls” in acquiring scientific statistics for advancement in clinical studies. Thus Chagnon under his supervision in vaccination impacted into the genocide.

Moore emphasizes that the anthropologists visit apart from minutely benefiting the natives it eventually caused devastating actions to them. The scientist were responsible for the genocide and other inhuman practices but went scot free that is unpunished. In this event Chagnon became likeable as a result. The experiments done were similar to those carried out among the Nazi and the Japanese during the 2nd world war. Violations against human rights were done under the disguise of vaccination inoculation. However, this was not the case as it was part of a clinical experiment cycling around racial lines.

Was this an experiment?

The strategy used in administering the vaccine relayed a typical experiment that is involving control groups among others. Half the population of the village was vaccinated the remainder acting as control test. For example at Ocamo mission Chagnon vaccinated only forty people while 36 unvaccinated. Thus it is evident that this was an experiment depicted through Chagnon actions. If he had 40 doses of vaccination this could not be the case contrarily he may have withheld other doses for 15days. Hence this was true as the vaccine contained no gamma globulin and the village being a good choice because of the inadequate literacy level among the Yanomami. Notes were not taken showing their deliberate violation of humanity. Moreover his notes never at one instance discussed the fate of the vaccinated individuals.

James Neel who designed the whole project was responsible for the mass killings. The word “anthro” derived from anthropology has so far become a term in the Yanomami people and is far from being close to affection. Hence they describe as a powerful inhuman creature with evil goals. For instance Lizot was referred to as Bosinawarewa that is anus eater. His character became less stomached as he was characterized with sodomy (lizo-mou). In the eventual end some villages took after them through naming themselves “Lizot’s” capital of homosexuality and “Chignon’s” as warlike tribe.

Data misrepresentation

According to Tierney, Chagnon highly participated in the killing of the natives despite the fact it was a disguised experiment. This can be seen from the deceptive dead and divorced wives data. Chagnon relays that men had more than three wives. For example in his book of study the data depicts that only 2 men had more than two wives. This depicts that medical misrepresentation of data as no evidence is clear whether the individuals were dead or truly alive.

The documentary thus sensitizes the upcoming anthropologists to take heed and practice ethical behavior. Hence anthropology should take into consideration the axiom of knowing thyself. Therefore charges labeled on the anthropologists are true and their evil motives not punished. Instead of that the Chagnon’s books paved way into colleges though was challenged by Rutgers University Newark anthropologist Brian Ferguson. He was the seed to all conflicts among the tribe’s men. Moreover he manipulated his data to support his socio-biological that is natural selection stirred up the violence. Apart from that he created artificial villages and staged fights to add value to their structured theories.

Anthropologists (Chagnon) had evidence of biological determinism. This evidence forces that shape up human culture are genes and evolutionary imperative. His books being popular despite critics he was considered the herald to other anthropologists. Moreover he is seen to have the courage to beat a path to gather raw data from the actual scene. The data hence displays various phases of the natives. In these event men who spent their time among the Yanomami structured destructive lunacy to its conception. Therefore charges laid upon them are the weakest part of the documentary. For instance genocide and sexual violation acts among others. Yanomami people had already reached their verdict through their character displayed with the camera. However, Chagnon is an embarrassment to sociobiology because most of his actions less constitute anything to do with academics.


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