Here’s a list of primitive tribes and their unusual cultures.
Jivaro Indians: South America
Jivaro (forest man) Indians are primitive tribes living in the jungles of the upper Amazon basin. They became one of the
most studied tribes of South America because of their religious practice of taking and shrinking heads of their enemies
and violators of moral codes. The skull bones are removed, and then the skin is sewed up in back. And by heating, the
head is shrunk to about the size of a large orange; it still preserves its human expression. The tsantsa (shrunk head) is
hung from the killer’s neck at the feast celebrating their victories. Jivaro tribes also practice polygamy. More wives mean
The Jivaro were highly recalcitrant to outside influences, and their resistance of Incan subjugation, European influence
and Christianization accounts for their continued independence in modernity.
Dyaks or Dayaks: Southeast Asia
Dayaks are people of Borneo. One unusual custom of these people is that – they usually live in enormous long houses
which are about 270 meters long and large enough for 30 or more families. Sometimes one building houses an entire
community. The Dayak were animist in belief, however many converted to Christianity, and some to Islam more recently.
Ilongots: Southeast Asia
Years ago, among the headhunting tribes of Ilongots of the Philippines, a man who intended to marry a woman must
pass a test almost similar to that undergone by the legendary William Tell. But here, the target was a one foot long
bamboo tube held under the armpit of the prospective bride. The man had to shoot the arrow through the narrow hole
of the bamboo tube. Should he fail or injure the woman, he would be beheaded, but if he passed that test, he would
undergo another test, this time, he had to go headhunting and present a human head, complete with drying blood in it.
And finally, to seal the marriage rites, the couples’ index fingers must be sliced with a knife.
Yahgan Indians: South America
Yaghan Indians, who live at the tip of South America, formerly wore almost no clothing, despite the chilly climate. They
traveled by canoe from one beach to another in search of food. Yaghan were famed for their complete indifference to the
bitter weather around Cape Horn. Although they had fire and small domed shelters, they routinely went about completely
naked in the frigid cold and biting wind of Tierra del Fuego, and swam in its 48-degree waters. They would often sleep in
the open completely unsheltered and unclothed while Europeans shivered under their blankets. They could not survive
contact with white man’s diseases; they allegedly became sick immediately if the missionaries persuaded them to put
on some clothes. In the 1920s some were resettled on Keppel Island in the Falklands in an attempt to preserve the tribe
but continued to die off. The last full-blooded Yahgan died in 1999.
Chiquito: South America
Chiquito (little one) is a group of South American Indian tribes constituting a different linguistic stock, inhabiting the area
between the headwaters of the Mamone and Paraguay Rivers. Their house is unique. The low height of their hut’s door
requires crawling position to enter just like the igloo of the Inuit people.
Khoikhoi: South Africa
The Khoikhoi (also Khoekhoe) of South Africa believe in the existence of the soul after death and in a maker of all things
who came out of the east. Their graves therefore are oriented toward the east.
Mound Builders: North America
Mound Builders are Indian people who built numerous earth mounds in what is now the eastern and central part of the
United States particularly in Ohio and Mississippi river valleys. The size, shape and purpose of these mounds varied from
place to place. The largest was the Cahokia Mound found in Illinois.
Caribs: South America
Caribs or Kalinago are noted for their ferocity. They practiced cannibalism; in fact, the world cannibal is derived from the
Spanish term for these Indians, canibales. Instances of cannibalism are said to have been noted as a feature of war
rituals: the limbs of victims may have been taken home as trophies.While the Kalinago would chew and spit out one
mouthful of flesh of a very brave warrior, so that his bravery would go to him, there is no evidence that they ate humans
to satisfy hunger. The Kalinago had a tradition of keeping the bones of their ancestors in their houses; initially this had
been taken as evidence that they ate human flesh. To this day the Kalinago people fight against what they regard as a
misconception about their ancestors. The film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was recently criticized by
the National Garifuna Council for portraying the Carib people as cannibals. Caribbean Sea is named after them.
Hope you enjoyed this.Thank you!