Documentary Educational Resources
distributes many films made about the Yanomamö by Napoleon Chagnon and Timothy Asch.
Information about sales and rentals of these works is available from:
Documentary Educational Resources
101 Morse Street
Watertown, MA 02172
(800) 569-6621 and (617) 926-0491
FAX (617) 926-9519
The films are also available from:
Psychological Cinema Register
17 Willard Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania 16802
1970. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon Chagnon, 29 min. This film focuses on the alliance
practices of the Yanomamö and documents the emergence of a specific alliance during
the context of a feast held in the village of Patanowä-teri in 1968.
Yanomama: A Multidisciplinary Study.
1971. Neel, James V., Timothy Asch, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 43 min. This film
describes the nature of multidisciplinary field research by a team of human biologists,
geneticists, serologists, dentists, and anthropologists. It includes an ethnographic
vignette of Yanomamö culture and is very useful in showing how many scientific disciplines
can collaborate in the study of human populations and culture.
1973. Chagnon, Napoleon, A., 28 min. This film depicts the interrelationship of
religion, politics, and the use of hallucinogenic snuff in shamanism. It focuses
on a specific two-day incident in the village of Mishimishimaböwei-teri during which
all the prominent shamans of the group collectively demonstrated their good will toward visitors
from Bisaasi-teri by practicing harmful magic against enemies of the latter.
A Man Called Bee: Studying the Yanomamö.
1974. Chagnon, Napoleon A., and Timothy Asch., 40 min. This film illustrates the
methods of field research used by Chagnon during 42 months of fieldwork among the
Yanomamö, emphasizing investigations of genealogy, settlement patterns, politics,
demography, and mythology.
Ocamo Is My Town.
1974. Chagnon, Napoleon A., and Timothy Asch., 23 min. This film describes the
attitudes, accomplishments, and objectives of a Salesian missionary who has spent
fourteen years in a Yanomamö village. Skeptical about the possibility of immediate
success in Christianizing the Yanomamö, the priest emphasizes the importance of his attempts
to introduce practical measures that will help soften the impact of civilization
when it eventually comes to this village.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 10 min. This film depicts Yanomamö
boys learning to shoot accurately under duress and to dodge arrows shot in return.
Man-sized arrows with the points removed are used in this somewhat hazardous game,
which terminates when one of the boys is hit in the face with an arrow-damaging his ego
more than his face.
Weeding the Garden.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 14 min. Even the most prestigious
members of the village must engage in all the economic activities. Dedeheiwä, the
most respected shaman in the village, weeds his garden, interrupted periodically
by his wife and children, who groom him while he rests.
A Father Washes His Children.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 13 min. Dedeheiwä, respected shaman
and political leader, takes his younger children to the river and bathes them. His
wife remains in the village and recovers from a minor sickness.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 10 min. Yanomamö women spend several
hours each day collecting and maintaining the family fire. The irksomeness of chopping
and carrying firewood is shown as a woman strenuously brings home the daily kindling. Her older son quietly babysits for his infant brother while the mother works.
A Man and His Wife Weave a Hammock.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 12 min. Yanomamö hammocks are manufactured
on a pole frame consisting of two upright poles between which the spun cotton threads
are plaited. A strong headman, Möawä, quietly works on the hammock while one of his wives and infant daughter rest in their hammock and quietly chat with him.
Children's Magical Death.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 7 min. A group of young boys between
the ages of 4 and 10 years imitate the shamans as they blow wood ashes into each
other's nostrils through hollow reeds. Their amusing pantomime clearly reveals how
socialized they have become by observing the elders. This film should be used in conjunction
with Magical Death.
Climbing the Peach Palm.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 9 min. Fruits from the cultivated
peach palm tree can only be harvested by climbing the spiny trunk. The Yanomamö
have invented an ingenious device--a climbing frame-for this purpose. Young men
carefully ascend the thorny tree with this vine-and -pole frame, lowering the bunches of fruit
with long vines.
New Tribes Mission.
1974. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 12 min. Dedicated members of the
New Tribes Mission, an Evangelical Protestant missionary group, explain their reasons
for attempting to bring Christianity to the Yanomamö and why the Yanomamö must stop
worshipping their "false demons."
The Ax Fight.
1975. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 30 min. A fight erupts in Mishimishimaböwei-teri,
involving clubs, machetes, and axes. The structure of kinship and marriage ties
is revealed by the participants as they take particular sides in the fighting. Slow-motion replay and freeze-frame editing make this film useful as a methodological
tool in both ethnographic and ethnocinematographic studies.
1975. Chagnon, Napoleon A., and Timothy Asch, 15 min. The distribution of meat,
particularly large game animals, reveals within-group alliance patterns based on
kinship and marriage ties. The village headman presents his kill to his brother-in-law,
who ceremoniously redistribute the meat and cooked vegetables to household heads within
the village. After the ceremonial distribution the women move in to distribute the
scant remains, followed by the village dogs.
Tug of War.
1975. Asch, Timothy, and Napoleon A. Chagnon, 9 min. The more playful and amicable
aspects of daily life are illustrated by this film, which portrays a group of women
and children in a tug-of-war during a rainstorm.
1975. Chagnon, Napoleon A., and Timothy Asch, 10 min. A young man returns from
hunting and collecting with a large wild turkey and a heavy basket of wild fruits.
Through his father, he presents the food to his father-in-law. A 10-year-old girl
is sent to fetch the food. She is embarrassed and self-conscious, complicating her own situation
by collapsing under the weight of the load amidst the laughter of village onlookers.
The Yanomamö Myth of Naro as Told by Kaobawä
1975. Chagnon, Napoleon A., and Timothy Asch, 22 min. The intimate relationships
among Man, Spirit, and Animal are revealed in the amusing and complicated myth of
Opossum (Naro), who invents harmful magic to treacherously slay his brother and acquire
the latter's two beautiful wives. Kaobawä's dramatic and intimate presentation of the
story brings out his acting and narrative skills. English voice-over narration.
The Yanomamö Myth of Naro as Told by Dedeheiwä.
1975. Chagnon, Napoleon A., and Timothy Asch, 22 min. The same myth that is described
above is told by Dedeheiwä, an accomplished and renown shaman who lives in a remote
village far to the south of Kaobawä's village. This film provides excellent contrast for students interested in comparative mythology. English voice-over narration.
Moonblood: A Yanomamö Creation Myth as told by Dedeheiwä.
1975. Chagnon, Napoleon A., and Timothy Asch, 14 min. The origin of Man (Yanomamö)
is revealed in the myth of Peribo (Moon), who, in Ancestral times, descended to earth
and ate the ashes of the deceased Ancestors. Moon is shot in the belly by one of
the Ancestors, his blood spilling to earth and transforming into fierce people. English
Jaguar: A Yanomamö Creation Myth.
1975. Chagnon, Napoleon A. and Timothy Asch, 22 min. The Ancestor, Jaguar, nearly
devours all of humanity. All that remains is Curare-Woman, who is too "bitter" to
eat, and her pregnant daughter, hidden in the roof. Jaguar discovers the daughter
and eats her, but Curare-Woman saves the unborn twins, Omawä and Yoasiwä, who miraculously
grow to adulthood and exact their revenge on Jaguar. English subtitles.