ANT.101, WK5 As1 Final DRAFT SEMAI CULTURE, Tarasha Hickson-Smith

ANT.101, WK5 As1 Final DRAFT SEMAI CULTURE, Tarasha Hickson-Smith

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Running Head: THE PEACE WITHIN UNDERSTANDING THE PEACE WITHIN THE SEMAI SOCIETY Tarasha Hickson-Smith ANT. 101 Professor Rachel Grabner August 1, 2011
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THE PEACE WITHIN 2 UNDERSTANDING THE PEACE WITHIN THE SEMAI SOCIETY Throughout history anthropologist have done much research both ethnographically and ethnologically to enlighten people about the surrounding societies and their cultures. The one particular culture that seems to be peculiar to many that study them is the Semai from the Orang Asli tribe located the peninsula of Southeast Malaysia. They are the have largest community of the 19 tribes within the Orang Asli group. The points expressed in this document will be from an etic point-of-view, attempting to further analyze how the peaceful character of Semai communities plays a part in its subsistence that affects them in three different aspects; their beliefs and values, their social organization, and their economic organization. While the Semai culture is based on keeping the peace using nonviolent tactics to counteract negative forces that they feel are ubiquitous, their actions seem to be counterproductive for the sustainability of their society in today’s economy (Nicholas, 1992). Semai Beliefs and Values The Semai society has a distinguished way of life that is built on the foundation of their peaceful nature. The origin of their peaceful demeanor comes from the unique values passed down through generations. The traditional belief system of the Semai people is to maintain a state of general peace called Slamaad at all times and practice animism. This means that everyone must keep their emotions hidden on the inside, except for fear and love that is said to counteract conflict, as well as keeping the peace with the spirits of those hunted and gathered (Alternative to Violence and War, n.d). The Semai believe in placing a high value on group solidarity, mutual dependence, and peace; these values are reaffirmed often during bcaraa’ proceedings to settle internal disputes (Alternative to Violence and War, n.d). They also practice
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THE PEACE WITHIN 3 animism and believe that if the spirits of the animals, plants, or nature are not please then they will not have success in hunting, gathering, or farming (Denton, 2008). Social Organization As hunters and gatherers their beliefs and values also support their system of sharing to support the egalitarian social structure and the subsistence oriented economy. The Orang Asli people believe they are the direct and last decedents of the first man, Adam. The
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This note was uploaded on 09/18/2011 for the course ANT101 ANT101 taught by Professor Nancy during the Summer '10 term at Ashford University.

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ANT.101, WK5 As1 Final DRAFT SEMAI CULTURE, Tarasha Hickson-Smith

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