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anthro - Buck Sugden Cultural anthropology human diversity...

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Buck Sugden Cultural anthropology & human diversity 8:30-9:20 (room 262) The Nyimba-Na question set The Nyimba and the Na are two Tibetan-speaking cultures that share similar economic problems, but who’s societies differ in comparison. The Nyimba are a Tibetan speaking society that lives in the Nepali Himalayans. The Na are also a Tibetan speaking culture which resides in the Yunnan Province in China. Although the Nyimba and Na come from different regions, they both share the common economical problem of land tenure. Land tenure is the central economical problem for Nyimba and Na, because the crops that are harvested from the lands are the foundations of their economies. For the Nyimba and the Na crops act as a currency in their societies, since paper currency is not as pertinent. Therefore wealth is not based on the money your family holds; but instead, it is based on the amount of land that your lineage owns. In both societies, land is split into ownership between the men or women of a lineage. This land is the primary source of each lineage’s crops; these crops must feed all the members of that certain lineage. If all the owners of the land work together and harvest the land as one, this system works fine. Although if an owner decides to take his or her share of the land for themselves, the land becomes divided; as separate lineages grow the land becomes more and more divided until it
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cannot sustain enough for a lineage to live off of. This is the problem that Lopsang of the Nyimba faced, as his son Sonam had hatred toward his brothers because of Dzoomkyet. Sonam wanted to leave the lineage and split the land. Lopsang told Sonam he would destroy the lineage by doing so. Since land for both these societies is the basis for their resources and economies, keeping this land shared among a lineage becomes both societies’ main economic struggles. The Nyimba and the Na both pass land down through inheritance; this aspect is similar between the societies. Although to whom which the land is passed down to differ. The Nyimba pass land down through brothers. Therefore the women in the Nyimba society depend on the men for resources, making the Nyimba a patrilineal society. In the Nyimba society this dependence causes a patrilocal society, in which after a man and woman marry they move into the man’s father’s house. In contrast to the Nyimba, the Na pass land down through women. The Na are a matrilineal society in which men depend on the women for resources. As a result the Na are matrilocal, and the man lives in the woman’s household. In the Na society the man lives in the woman’s household and not his wife’s, because there is no institution of marriage among the Na. In Na society women have “secret visits” and “open visits”. A “secret visit” is a visit in which a man at dark sneaks into a woman’s home and into her room to “visit” her, which in most cases means to have sex with the woman. The man then must leave before dawn so he is not seen. An “open visit” is where a man is invited by a woman to her household, with the other household members’ knowledge that he is visiting. The first time the man visits the
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