The thought of consuming human flesh is abhorrent to most, but not to the Yanomami. Living in the jungles between Brazil and Venezuela, the Amazonian tribe sees the consumption of dead tribe members as a unity-strengthening act.
This practice was brought to light the 1980s with the release of the shock/exploitation film Cannibal Holocaust, a fake documentary wherein the film crew are trapped, butchered, and devoured by the tribe. While unsavory, the cinematic depiction of a violent tribal culture is not altogether unfounded.
The 1997 autobiography Yanoáma: The Story of Helena Valero, a Girl Kidnapped by Amazonian Indians, details the story of Helena, a trader’s preteen daughter who was kidnapped and assimilated into the Yanomami tribe in the 1930s. She recounts the tribe’s war-time activities, saying, “They killed so many. I was weeping for fear and for pity but there was nothing I could do. They snatched the children from their mothers to kill them, while the others held the mothers tightly by the arms and wrists as they stood up in a line. All the women wept… The men began to kill the children; little ones, bigger ones, they killed many of them.”