Unformatted text preview: Final Cultural Research 1 Final Cultural Research Earlwood Armstrong ANT: 101 Mario Tovar February 13th, 2012 Final Cultural Research Final Cultural Research In the rainforest of Africa there are many different pygmy tribes of people. One such tribe that lives in 2 the rainforest is the Mbuti tribe. These people are foragers and horticulturalists, the culture of these people have been unchanged since their inception aside from little culture change until the 1960's when pressure for economic organization to compete and keep up with other tribes caused them to change. This paper will seek to get to know the history and present of the Mbuti people; some of the cultural aspects are kinship, economic organization, and beliefs and values. The Mbuti is one of those tribes, they are a people that that may be linked to "pygmy people that have lived in the rainforest for more than 6000 years" (Everycuture). The Mbuti tribe like other cultures has there certain kinship they practice. "The Bambuti tend to follow a patrilineal descent system, and their residences after marriage are patrilocal. However, the system is rather loose. The only type of group seen amongst the Bambuti is the nuclear family. Kinship also provides allies for each group of people" (Absolute Astronomy 2011). One of the beliefs that Mbuti have long believed and holds true to their existence is that "the forest is the center of their existence, the source of all that is good in their lives" (UCC). Kinship among the Mbuti tribe plays a vital role in the people lives from start to finish each individuals role is different yet essential to the well being of the tribe. The Mbuti follow a patrilineal descent system, which means that in a patrilineal descent system, an individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as his or her father (Word IQ). The tribe is like a family not only do they all work and hunt together since the tribe is basically one big family all children call all women in the tribe mother. The nursing of children is shared amongst women and children lasts long after a child is in their toddler years (Everyculture). The family life in the Mbuti is one of uniqueness in that often women swap and adopt children of their sisters and friends, but it doesn't stop there. The Mbuti family system is nuclear and the way that they get there is through an exchange system, but often times the man offers a female from his family to a male of his wife's family during the exchange process (Everyculture). Final Cultural Research 3 "Sister exchange is the common form of marriage . Based on reciprocal exchange, men from other bands exchange sisters or other females to which they have ties . In Bambuti society, bride wealth is not customary. There is no formal marriage ceremony: couples are considered officially married when the groom presents his bride's parents with an antelope he alone has hunted and killed" (Citizendia 2009). Divorce also plays a role in the family and kinship process within the Mbuti people, in which divorce is accepted and often happens were drama tends to be a problem. It is as easy as the woman packs her belongings as well as the children and returns to her family's tribe. The children tend to stay with the mothers and when the boys are old enough to hunt they return to live with their father. Another interesting fact about the Mbuti is that marriage is monogamous; this is because the numbers of men far exceed the number of women and thus they reproduce with the different females within the tribe. This explains the reason why they share in the children's raising and the exchange between them (Everyculture). The drama that is involved with the people is due to a lack of women to men ratio, because of these disputes and problems do happen. "Reciprocal marriage exchanges are therefore difficult to fulfill because families often have uneven numbers of females. Men harass, capture, and come into armed conflict with each other over "sister exchange"(Everyculture". This conflict amongst the tribes is the largest and thus causes the most strife yet they are still considered a strong clan and remain to have strong kinship tides. It seems that politics is in all societies and the Mbuti is one of the exceptions, they have no political structure as a ruling group that creates and makes laws for people to live by. "The Bambuti are an egalitarian society in which the band is the highest form of social organization. Leadership may be displayed for example on hunting treks. Men and women basically have equal power. Issues are discussed and decisions are made by consensus at fire camps; men and women engage in the conversations equivalently. If there is a disagreement, misdemeanor, or offense, then the offender may be banished, beaten or scorned" (Absolute Astronomy 2011). This is strange to think that there is such equality within small tribes as the Mbuti, usually there is a chief or some kind of hierarchy to be the over ruling decision maker for the people, but this is not the case. This has worked for these people though and continues to do so even with changes. Final Cultural Research 4 The Mbuti people have their religious beliefs like all other people and the Mbuti is no different. "Everything in the Bambuti life is centered on the forest. They consider the forest to be their great protector and provider and believe that it is a sacred place. They sometimes call the forest "mother" or "father." An important ritual that impacts the Bambuti's life is referred to as molimo. After events such as death of an important person in the tribe, molimo is noisily celebrated to wake the forest, in the belief that if bad things are happening to its children, it must be asleep. As for many Bambuti rituals, the time it takes to complete a molimo is not rigidly set; instead, it is determined by the mood of the group. Food is collected from each hut to feed the molimo, and in the evening the ritual is accompanied by the men dancing and singing around the fire. Women and children must remain in their huts with the doors closed" (Turnbull 2011). The Mbuti not only believe in the forest and the power that it provides but also spirits as well. Along with the molimo ritual they also have the anjo, which is a ritual that they perform to help with weather conditions and hunting as well. The spirits that the Mbuti believe in are as follows; "The Bambuti believes the wealth and goodness of the forest comes from Muungu, a high deity, the greatest of forest gods, who fills all their needs. Tropical forest foragers believe in totemic spirits (sitana) --animals whose spirits and characteristics represent the group's unity. They also believe in a water animal, called nyama ya mai in Swahili, who is responsible for any serious water accidents" (Everyculture). The Mbuti depend on the forest for everything in their lives, not only religious beliefs they depend on what the forest provides for housing and food. The history of the people has relied on the forest since their inception and it is no wonder they believe what they do. "The Bambuti are primarily hunter-gatherers, foraging for food in the forest. The Bambuti have a vast knowledge about the forest and the foods it yields. Crabs, shellfish, ants, larvae, snails, pigs, antelopes (such as the blue duiker), monkeys, fishes, honey, wild yams, berries, fruits, roots, leaves, and cola nuts are some of the assortment of food that the Bambuti collect . They have been specifically hunting the Giant Forest Hog for food, as there have recently been increases in the amount of confrontations between the two groups, as the hogs are driven into the Mbuti territory for food, and, in a few rare events, have ended up eating children from their cribs in the night. Final Cultural Research 5 Other food sources yielded by the forest are animals for meat consumption, root plants, palm trees, and bananas; and in some seasons, wild honey. Yams, legumes, beans, peanuts, hibiscus, amaranth, and gourds are consumed. The Bambuti use large nets, traps, and bows and arrows to hunt game. Women and children sometimes help out by trying to drive the animals into the nets. Both sexes gather and forage. Each band has its own hunting ground, although boundaries are hard to maintain" (Citizendia 2009). The Mbuti are simple people with little need of nothing more than the forest can provide, and life is as equal among the children onto adulthood amongst men and women, boys and girls. "Tropical forest foragers place great importance on respect for each other, and children learn this early. In principle, children of the same age group remain on equal footing throughout their lives and call each other apua'i. Their games teach them to be social and interdependent in solving problems. Evening campfires offer adults daily opportunities to discuss and resolve disputes. Anyone who speaks from the center of the camp must be listened to. Members of a band gang up on wayward members to enforce rules and maintain harmony in the group. Individuals and families visit the camps of other tropical forest foragers for months at a time to socialize with family members and to look for marriage partners. These visits break up the monotony of daily life. Relations between the Bambuti and villagers are also very important. Researchers disagree on whether this relationship is essentially dependent, independent, or interdependent. The first view sees tropical forest foragers as slaves of the villager overlords. The second sees them as fully independent if they so choose because the forest supplies them with everything they need; contact with villagers offers an agreeable change of pace but is voluntary and temporary. The third view finds a mutual interdependence between forest dwellers and villagers, with neither side holding an advantage; each has something the other wants and needs" (Everyculture). As was mentioned earlier is life is simple and the Mbuti use their goods to trade for what they need but don't have. "Traditionally, material comfort, wealth, and security are the least of the concerns of forest dwellers. They trust the forest to provide their needs, which are extremely minimal. The Bambuti need spears, bows and arrows, and nets for hunting; pots to cook in; huts to sleep under; and loincloths to wear. They trade Final Cultural Research 6 forest products to villagers for items difficult to obtain such as salt, knives, and metal tips for their weapons. Settlements are rustic, temporary camps situated within fifty yards (forty-five meters) of a stream suitable for drinking. Their igloo-shaped huts have open doors. Huts are made of bent saplings that form a frame onto which large mongongo leaves are tied. Mats or leaves generally serve as beds, and cooking is done on open fires near the huts. People simply relieve themselves in the forest near the camp. After one to three months in one place, animals, fruit, and honey become scarce, and the smell of garbage and human waste becomes unbearable. The community packs up and moves to a new site (Everyculture). Final Cultural Research Paper Throughout this course, we have learned that the primary mode of subsistence (how a culture makes a living) impacts many other aspects of cultural behavior and has been an effective way to organize thoughts and studies about culture. In order to demonstrate your understanding of subsistence modes and its impact on a culture and why a culture acts as it does, your final research paper will require you to: 1. Select a specific culture from the following list: o Basseri of Iran o The Batek of Malaysia o Enga o The Amish o Huaorani of Ecuador o Bedouin o Zulu o Kurds o Maori o Mbuti o Nayar of India o Semai o Navajo o Tikopia of Melanesia 2. Research this culture using the Ashford University Online Library. Please identify and use a minimum of three scholarly articles from the library in addition to the text your research. Keep in mind that most anthropological research, whether article length or book length, is either an ethnography or an ethnology. You may use any combination of ethnographies or ethnologies in your paper. 3. Write a seven to eight page long research paper that does the following:
o Identifies and classifies the selected cultures primary mode of subsistence. (Foragers, Horticulturalists, Pastoralists, Emerging Agriculturalists, Agrarian States, or Industrialists) Final Cultural Research 7 Analyzes and evaluates the impact that the primary mode of subsistence of the selected culture has on at least three of the following aspects of culture: Beliefs and values Economic organization Gender relations Kinship Political organization Sickness and healing Social change Social organization The Research Paper must be formatted according to APA style and include a title and a reference page (which does not count towards the page length). For information regarding APA samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar, in your online course. In Week Three, you are required to submit an introductory paragraph, thesis statement, an outline, and your properly formatted reference page with the required sources identified. At this point, you should have chosen your culture and identified its primary mode of subsistence. Writing the Final Cultural Research Paper The Research Paper: Must be seven to eight double-spaced pages in length and formatted according to APA (6th ed.) style as outlined in the approved APA style guide. Must include a cover page that includes: o Title of paper o Student's name o Course name and number o Instructor's name o Date submitted Must include an introductory paragraph with a succinct thesis statement. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought. Must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a conclusion paragraph. Must use at least three scholarly research journals, ethnographies and ethnologies, two of which can be found in the Ashford Online Library. Must use APA (6th ed.) style as outlined in the approved APA style guide to document all sources. Must include, on the final page, a Reference Page that is completed according to APA (6th ed.) style as outlined in the approved APA style guide. Must include parenthetical text citations for direct quotes and paraphrased material.
o Final Cultural Research 8 References: Encyclopedia 2011. Mbuti. Retrieved April 11, 2011 from http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/mbuti Citizendia 2009, The Mbuti people. Retrieved April 23, 2011 from http://www.citizendia.org/Mbuti Countries and Their Cultures. Retrieved April 11, 2011 from http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Brazil-to-CongoRepublic-of/Efe-and-Mbuti.html The Mbuti of Zaire. Retrieved April 11, 2011 from http://www.ucc.uconn.edu/~epsadm03/mbuti.html Turnbull, C. 2011. Mbuti: Religion. Retrieved April 23, 2011 from http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/Mbuti::sub::Religion Word IQ. Definition. Retrieved April 23, 2011 from http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Patrilineality ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course ANT 101 taught by Professor Wright during the Spring '11 term at Ashford University.
- Spring '11
- Cultural Anthropology