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Warriors of the Amazon

Viewing Ideas

Before Watching

  1. Have students locate the Amazon rain forest on a map of South America. Explain that they are about to watch a program about a group of people—the Yanomami—who have lived a fairly isolated life in the rain forest for centuries. Today, their survival is in danger because of contact with outside societies. Have students think of ways that encounters with other social groups have provided advantages and disadvantages for other indigenous people. What might be some of the influences that the Yanomami people are facing? As they watch the program, have students be alert to the specific examples of outside influences that affect the Yanomami culture.

  2. What seem to be ordinary practices to one culture may seem strange or unusual to other cultures. To prepare students for this program, have them think of an activity they do regularly—such as engaging in personal hygiene, playing sports, or performing religious rituals—and write about how the activity might appear to someone from a different culture. Discuss students' descriptions and the assumptions people might make based on their observations. As they watch the program, have students observe the life-cycle practices of the Yanomami.

After Watching

  1. Discuss with students their reactions to the threats to the Yanomami people's way of life caused by contact with outside cultures. Summarize their responses by categorizing them as biological or cultural. Ask students to compare the influences on the Yanomami culture to similar situations in other parts of the world at other times. For example, illnesses that affected indigenous people in North and South America after the arrival of Europeans in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries; or cultural changes that occurred when isolated groups in the Philippines or Brazilian rain forests encountered outsiders.

  2. The filmmakers in this program are not shown on camera, but they impacted the events that transpired. Do students think the film crew influenced the events they documented? If so, how? How do students feel about the relationship between the camera crew and the Yanomami people in the program? What is their reaction to how the film crew compensated the village leaders?

Teacher's Guide
Warriors of the Amazon