Napolean Chagnon

Napoleon A. Chagnon
Napoleon A. Chagnon
• Best known for his extensive ethnographic
fieldwork among the Yanomamö
• Began his fieldwork in 1964 and ended in
1988, although he has returned intermittently
since then
• Warfare, genealogies, marriage patterns, steel
tools, controversy, vaccinations
•Tierney’s allegations:
•Measles outbreak
•Chagnon frequently traded tools to his “informants”
•Machete, steel ax
•Theory that Chagnon incited Yanomamö warfare by
injecting prized possessions into their society.
•The Ax Fight
•Cites “Yanomamö have had access to some steel
tools for as long as 100 years”
•American Anthropological Association report (2002)
•Refutes most of Tierney’s claims
Chagnon the Ethnobotanist
• Yanomamo gardens provide 80-90% of typical
– Brazil nuts, palm and hardwood fruits, avocado,
papaya, hot peppers, plantains, tobacco, cotton,
arrow cane, several tubers ohina, hukomo
• Extensive cultural use of Banisteriopsis (yaje)
and ebena snuff
– Containing Virola theiodora, Justica pectoralis,
and Elizabetha princeps
Major Publications:
Chagnon, N. (1974), Studying the Yanomamö,
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Adaptation and Human Behavior:
An Anthropological Perspective
(with Lee Cronk and William Irons), 2002
The Last Days Of Eden, 1992
The Fierce People, 1968
Filmography/Visual Anthropology
The Yanomamo Series
– The Ax Fight (1975), Children's Magical Death (1974), Magical
Death (1988), A Man Called Bee: A Study of the Yanomamo
(1974), Yanomamo Of the Orinoco (1987).
• Tim Asch, filmmaker
• Myth of Naro (Dedeheiwa)