7 comments on “Jivaro: The People of the Shrunken Head

  1. Here’s the strange part in cases like this. If left alone and unmolested, this culture will continue to survive this way for tens of thousands of years, long after everyone else is gone. Although their ways seem savage, their ways do appear to have positive results concerning population control, Gene Pool management and less impact on, and depletion of, the resources around them. Sometimes the strangest ways turn out to be the most successful in the long term.

    I have a couple curious questions Roberto? when they refer to “women come from the egg of the “Chingaso.”. What definition are they using for Chingaso? And do these peoples also have a Flood story?

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  2. BTW, when I said that you had reached into the deepest depths of human action in the article about the Yanomamo and cannibalism, I was wrong, Trophy shrunken heads might be a bit deeper. lol

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  3. I think what they are saying is that women come from the man having sex with a woman. The birth of a male is somewhat considered divine I think while the birth of a woman is not. Gender roles are clearly defined in these tribal Amazon cultures and the male is highly esteemed while the females are not. In some of their stories they speak of a time when women ruled but they botched it so the men took over. That tells me they once had a matriarchal society that changed to a patriarchal one somewhere along the line which is interesting in itself.

    Yes, indeed, the trophy shrunken head may be a bit deeper lol.

    I will be posting an article about yet another Amazon tribe in which homosexuality is encouraged and men are kept away from women other than when one wishes offspring. This tribe is also a warrior society although perhaps less blood thirsty than the Yanomamo and Jivaro.

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  4. I just can’t help it… But the upcoming article culture sounds like a modern pro football team.

    So they are referring to female reproductive organs as the Chingaso? If so, they were pretty astute to understand the “Egg” thing!

    I find the Gender roles interesting because the Ancient Fuegians also had the exact same culture and rituals in their society too. I guess most societies did this throughout history. Many Native North American tribes were matriarchal though.

    Can a connection with Peaceful or Violent Tribes be made depending on matriarchal or patriarchal governance? We know the Hopi were matriarchal and peaceful. I wonder if there is a common pattern in this?

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  5. I believe so 🙂 All of this is very common in tribal cultures especially if they are warrior cultures and/or headhunters. Yes there are several Native American tribes who have a matriarchal society you are correct. I think there is a common pattern as you say the Hopi are matriarchal and are usually a very peaceful people although I’m not so sure the Spanish friars they tossed off the mesas to their deaths would agree lol.

    What I have noticed is the tribes that seem the most violent are warrior cultures or close to it and they are patriarchal. Fighting you might say is a “man thing” in these cultures. Notice that the Yanomamo are one people but in different villages yet they make war against each other and the same is true with the Jivaro. So they war among themselves usually. But, they also make war against other tribes in the Amazon or invaders such as the Spanish. In these wars all the villages unite and fight the invaders.

    I’ve often wondered if it were just a pastime lol. A way of males expressing their masculinity to achieve status. Males with the most kills hold the high positions in these cultures. Usually, as expected, they are the older males. Those will less skills hold the lower positions or no position at all. So killing is a way to achieve status and esteem. It is their way of climbing the social ladder.

    Most matriarchal societies tend to be peaceful and status is achieved by more peaceful means. Men in these societies tend to be hunters and/or farmers like the Hopi BUT when war breaks out it is the men who become the warriors. In fact, most ancient tribes all over the world trained their boys to be warriors via hunting! The same skills used in hunting are those used in war. So the males who are hunters are also the warriors, simply. In matriarchal cultures these warriors are, you might say, more docile but in patriarch societies they are more obvious or “in your face.”

    I know this is a long way to answer your question but, simply, I would say yes. There is a correlation between what you propose.

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  6. You explained it very well. 🙂 As for the Hopi I guess everyone can get tired of being pushed around sooner or later. From what I gathered is matriarchal societies might tend to be more defensive rather than offensive when it comes to War? They will stand their ground when needed but not as likely to go out conquering to prove their battle skills and plunder like patriarchal Warrior Societies?

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  7. Yes I think matriarchal cultures are more defensive than offensive. The Hopi never went on a rampage against the Spanish but they did get tired of the friars and threw them off one of the mesas to their death. The friars were trying to force Christianity on them and the Hopi just didn’t buy it.

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