Indigenous Struggles

1. The high level of warfare and violence among the Yanomami shows that human nature is innately violent and aggressive.
The Yanomami tribes are often referred to as one of the most primitive ethnic group studied by anthropologists, and although this fact is often disputed, their behavior really characterizes them as being at a lower level of civilization. It has been proved that 35 percent of Yanomami males die in wars. Meanwhile, there is a correlation between their aggression and fecundity, and this fact may prove that it is male nature to be violent and aggressive, because these features are vitally important. On the one hand, they help to win the natural selection, and on the other hand, they directly contribute to procreation. Therefore, not human, but male nature is probably innately violent and fierce, but it is controlled with the development of civilization. Female nature is obviously of other kind.

2. Ethical Principles in Research.
Robert Borofsky alarms that Western anthropologists often abuse their dominating position in work with the indigenous people. In order to establish a more just approach, Borofsky proposes four general principles the researcher should follow while working with the informant. The first is, to keep the informant informed and aware of what he or she is participating in and what reasons and consequences of particular actions are. Then, there is a very important principle, like in medicine, of doing no harm. This principle was severely violated by Chagnon who is believed to spread measles epidemic among the Yanomami for the benefit of experiment. Not only didn’t the informants receive the fair compensation, as demanded by Borofsky, but the tribes were also unfairly described as a fierce nation, though aggression was provoked by the experiments of the Western invaders.

3. How has the AAA responded to the controversy with concrete policy changes? Do these changes seem adequate and appropriate to you? (Why?)
In fact, Borofsky criticizes the mechanisms applied by the American Anthropological Association. On the whole, there are firm principles and strong code of ethic requirements for the researchers, but generally they are present only in theory. The AAA fails to manage situation in practice. And thus, despite progressive and encompassing mechanisms, the anthropologists are not controlled enough for accountability. And all the AAA can do is to take measures to avoid further similar controversies that divide the members. Meanwhile, it also showed its weak position when Changon was discharged and no measures were taken to make his example warning for other specialists. Consequently, first of all not new sense of purpose, but new sense of unity is needed. This unity must be obviously centered on ethical obligations.

4. The Amazon: Whose Decision?
As Gustavo Lins Ribeiro and Paul E. Little underline, global governability is becoming a matter of explicit concern, especially in terms of environmental problems. Power relationships of course change when local and global interests are interfaced, but it does not give an easy answer for who is right and who is wrong. The area of the Amazon River is considered to be a strategically important zone, therefore it is becoming an object of environmental appropriation. There are three discourses of environmentalism concerning Amazonia: (1) throughout the globe this is the largest remaining area with tropical rainforests; (2) the local indigenous people are seen as allies in the struggle against deforestation; (3) this is a region with recording levels of biological diversity. Naturally, the local forces are not enough to cope with the problem themselves and the United States are able to fund perspective projects against deforestation, but actually they are provoking the problem themselves and it is important to neutralize negative effects of their intrusion with the world forces united in order to escape misuse of funds and resources.

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