A World Apart: The Unique Architecture of an Uncontacted Amazonian Tribe

The world is getting smaller. With lower barriers to trade and mobility, people on disparate sides of the globe now share pop culture, news sources and, of course, building practices. Amid this cultural fluidity, it is sometimes easy to lose track of those pockets of humanity that exist outside that vast, integrated network of goods, capital and information that journalists simply call “the world.” While communities that forego contact with the outside world are a rarity in 2016, some still exist. These groups tend to have different conceptions of basic ideas like family, property and authority than the vast majority of humankind, which is why studying them can be so profitable. Take the Yanomami people of the northern Amazon. The Yanomami population consists of about 35,000 people living in about 250 villages dispersed on either side of the Brazil-Venezuela border. Despite their sizable numbers and geographic footprint, the Yanomami have preserved their traditional way of life, engaging with local government authorities only when necessary. Recently, images have emerged of a particularly isolated Yanomami village, a community of around 100 people that is thought to have had no contact with the outside world at all. Like most ...
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