Chagnon, Napoléon

Napoléon Chagnon (1938–2019 ) Professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, best known for his writings about the Yanomamo of Amazonia. Chagnon’s discussion of Yanomamo shamans (or “shamanizers,” since any man can seek the aid of hekura “spirits” and perform functions elsewhere specific to a few individuals) notes processes of initiation, uses of ebene snuff, sucking and other healing methods, and combative roles. His work became controversial when Patrick Tierney’s book Darkness in El Dorado alleged that Chagnon had participated in a range of unethical experiments. More lasting criticisms have included challenges to Chagnon’s portrayal of the Yanomamo as the most violent people on earth and his commitment to sociobiology.

SOURCE:

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism by Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis 2007

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