Darkness in El Dorado Controversy - Introduction

Books by Napoleon Chagnon and Patrick Teirney Related to the Darkness in El Dorado Controversy

This portion of my website is dedicated to providing a place to find information about the controversies surrounding Patrick Tierney’s Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon (2000)—it is an archive of information, not to further a particular view of any arguments that Tierney’s book has fueled.

I began collecting information on the views, critiques, and association documents about Patrick Tierney’s book Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon in October, 2000. Soon thereafter, I began making web pages with links to information about the issues raised within the book, but I found that many links were expiring. I also found that some sources of information required a user password or to sign up for a service. Since this archive is for information purposes, I transitioned the web site from a collection of resource links to an archive of resources.

Over the years this archive has provided both students and researchers a place to find materials about the Darkness in El Dorado controversy. One such researcher noted,

Fortunately, these reports and a multitude of other documents remain available so far in the Douglas Hume archive. One individual had the good conscience and foresight to accomplish what successive leaders of the entire professional organization of the AAA inexplicably and carelessly failed to do since 2000. — Leslie E. Sponsel, Yanomami in the Amazon: Toward a more Ethical Anthropology beyond Othering (Seattle: Kindle Direct Publishing, 2022), 160.

In addition to maintaining this archive, I have written about the scandal within a book review, analysis of the documents on this website, and in chapters about Yanomami cultural survival:

Hume, Douglas W. 2020. “Yanomami of Venezuela.” In Native Nations: The Survival of Fourth World Peoples, edited by Sharlotte Neely and Douglas W. Hume, 3rd ed., 269–89. Vernon: JCharlton Publishing Ltd. Cite - Download

—. 2017. “The Yanomami of Venezuela.” In Native Nations: The Survival of Fourth World Peoples, edited by Sharlotte Neely, 2nd ed., 217–36. Vernon: JCharlton Publishing Ltd. Cite - Download

—. 2016. “Darkness in Academia: Cultural Models of How Anthropologists and Journalists Write About Controversy.” World Cultures EJournal 21 (1). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/75j9q56x. Cite - Download

—. 2013. “Anthropology: Tribal Warfare.” Nature 494 (7437): 310. https://doi.org/10.1038/494310a. Cite - Download

As more information becomes available concerning Tierney’s book, Napoleon Chagnon, James V. Neel or others accused by Tierney, I will add it to this list of ever growing documents. If you have any documents or informative links to share, please contact me.

  • Biographies A collection of links and information that form a biographical sketch of several of the key players in the Darkness in El Dorado scandal.
  • Book & Film Reviews Reviews, either online or published, of Darkness in El Dorado as well as Secrets of the Tribe.
  • Journal & News Articles An up to date list of both academic and news articles and that have appeared in journals, magazines, newspapers, and electronic news sources around the world about the ‘scandal’.
  • Position Statements The position statements of the University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Michigan; American Anthropological Association; the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES); W. W. Norton Publishers (Patrick Tierney); organizations in Venezuela, Brazil, and other countries; and several individuals.  Includes blog posts, mostly concerning the impact of Noble Savages: My Life Among Two Dangerous Tribes — The Yanomamö and the Anthropologists by Napoleon Chagnon.
  • Teaching Resources A collection of assignments that can be used for classes and by students that I have suggested through emails that enable examination of the controversies surrounding the book Darkness in El Dorado.  Includes past news items and other information that pre-dates the scandal concerning Patrick Tierney, Napoleon Chagnon, James Neel, and/or the Yanomamö.
  • History and Education in the Circulation of Ethnographic Knowledge in the Amazon: the Yanomami Controversy, a Decade Later I participated in a session about the Darkness in El Dorado controversy at the 2010 American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, in New Orleans.
  • Bibliography A growing bibliography of resources on the Yanomamö, Darkness in El Dorado, Patrick Tierney, Napoleon Chagnon, and James Neel.