I´ve always heard about the marriage between American anthropologist Kenneth Good and the the Venezuelan amazonian Yanomami Yarima. Married in her native village, Hasupuweteri, since 1982, he with 15 and she with 39 years in 1986 were residing in the U.S. , where they were married “in paper” according to the American civic protocols. Nine days later, David Good was born! They had two sons (David and Daniel) and a daughter (Vanessa).
Kenneth Good first came to Amazon in 1975 as a student of the American anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, author of ” The Fierce People ” (1968 ) – record their research with the Yanomamo of Venezuela in the 60ies, a reference work on ethnicity for decades – although his former student Kenneth Good, who lived with the Yanomamo until 1986, claimed that Chagnon manipulated data in his research.
After Good returned to the United States, he left Chagnon’s department and finished his dissertation with Marvin Harris, the leading cultural materialist and a professor at Columbia. When the protein studies were finally published, the findings, perhaps unsurprisingly, were split: Good showed that the Yanomami in his village ate slightly less protein than what’s in a Big Mac; Chagnon and Hames showed that their group ate much more. Daniel Gross, who recently retired from the World Bank, says the debate remains unresolved. He pointed out that the Yanomami are about five feet tall, on average. “You have to wonder what accounts for their low stature,” he said. “It’s most likely not a genetic trait”.
But Good payed a high price for this choice in his personal life: his marriage to Yarima, would be controversial even today. There is no ethics code that forbides anthropologists affective and/or sexual relations with their tribal interlocutors. However, Kenneth Good still accused by some of pedophilia: Yarima became engaged to when she was 12/13 years, but he says only had sex when she turned 15 .
The offer of a wife to Kenneth Good was made in 1978 by her brother, the chief of the tribe, where Good was called “shori” (coined), a culture that, after menarch, the woman may have already a husband as Kenneth Good explains in his book Into the Heart: An Amazonian Love Story, 1991. The chief said, Shori , “you always come here to visit us and live with us … I was thinking we should have a wife. It is not good for you to live alone”. The offer was not accepted immediately , but eventually realized.
Chagnon studies were questioned more vigorously since the launch of the book author of ” Darkness in El Dorado ” by journalist Patrick Tierney ( ” Darkness in El Dorado – how scientists and journalists devastated the Amazon). In that work there are charges that Chagnon has wrought, for scenarios, but with real deaths, conflicts between Yanomami villages to prove that the people are warlike Yanomamo of nature. Aventam Chagnon gave approval to the experiments of the University of Michigan geneticist James Neel : antissarampo a vaccine that triggered an epidemic that killed hundreds of Yanomami .
In 1993 , Yarima , which seemed adapted to life outside the tribe , decided to stay with his people , when he was there attending a movie about his life . The offspring was under the care of her father, although she insisted on staying with the girl .
In “American goes to the Amazon in search of Yanomami mother ,” David Good tells how he tried to hide his ancestry Yanomâmi : he asked his father to say he was Hispanic . Adult , full of questions , went in search of its origins. In 2011, we had an exciting reunion with his mother , when entered into for the purpose of ” creating bonds of friendship between the Yanomamo culture and the outside world – but from the point of view of someone who belongs to this culture.”
“Who am I ? I ‘m ianomâmi or ‘ nabuh ‘ ( white ) ? The Yanomamo see me as a ‘ nabuh ‘ , and ‘ nabuh ‘ see me as Yanomamo ? Today I am proud to be an American – Yanomami , I’m proud of my heritage. I love my mother and longing to be with her again , learning the customs Yanomamo . I’m not an anthropologist , I’m not political, not missionary . I ‘m a brother and a son ” ( BBC 9/7/2013 ).
Reflecting on their oown identity, David Good repeats here, now, live and on cameras to the whole world, the questions that Darcy Ribeiro, greatest brazilian anthropologist, remade and recreated brilliantly revealing the genesis of mestizo identity developed by brazilian the collective thought. Thinking to himself as mestizo Darcy reveals the reasoning of thousands of brazilians, indeed millions of human beings for centuries. He asks:
“But the son of an indian female, generated by a stranger, white or black, would wonder who it was, and it was not Indian, nor white or black. Was he the protobrasileiro, built as a negative made of the absence of ethnicity? Searching for a group identity is no longer recognizable to anyone, he was forced to generate their own identity: its own mestizo identity”. Darcy Ribeiro. The Brazilian People.
David Good reveals someone at peace with his dual mestizo identity, both american and Yanomami, but deep down, is neither completely american, nor completely Yanomami… it is better than both separated identities, because it is a special and unique mixt of both. David Good is a mixed one and embodies himself the double mixt indentity. Welcome brother Good to our mixed tribe!!! Our village… is the World. Our ethnic group… Humanity!!!
From Edward M. Luz. Anthropologist.