Helena Valero and Adoption

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Valero is a white Brazilian who was abducted in 1932 by Yanoami Indians. She lived with them for 22 years until she escaped back to white society. Her story is told in the book Yanoáma.

Since her return to white society she has assisted a number of anthropologists, and at the request of missionaries she has become involved in trying to smooth the inevitable contact between these people and European civilization.

Rejected by her family after she escaped, she returned to the Yanoami, and in 1997 she was still living with her children as a poverty-stricken Yanoami on the Ocamo Catholic mission station on the upper Orinoco River.


Valero, Helena, and Biocca, Ettore. Yanoáma: The Story of a Woman Abducted by Brazilian Indians. (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1969); new edition (Kodansha, 1996) Carrera, José Antonio. "Los Yanomami." Available at: Donovan, Corey. "Real Ethnography vs. Anthropologically Inspired Fiction: Shabono and Yanoáma Compared." Available at: