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Mbuti Culture - Research Paper Example

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Introduction Mbuti, an indigenous pygmy tribe lives in the Ituri forest, at the heart of Congo. The region is located at the northeastern part of the Republic of Zaire. The Mbuti tribe is one of the oldest tribe in the region. The lives of the tribesmen have been closely associated with the forest and acknowledgement to the forest can be found in their culture and celebrations…
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Mbuti Culture Research Paper
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Mbuti Culture

Download file to see previous pages... The Mbuti tribe is dependent on the forest for all the aspects of their life including getting their food, clothes, materials for hunting, item of play, musical instrument etc. In the recent times the tribesmen have come in contact with the agricultural people living the peripheries of the forest. However hunting remains their primary source of subsistence. Even in their trade with the agricultural people they exchange the meat they get from the forest in exchange for farm products (Tanno, n.d. pp. 1-51). The forest and hunting activities influenced the culture, social structures, gender relations and the beliefs and values of the Mbuti tribe associated with the Molimo ritual of the tribe. Social Organization The difference in the strategy for procuring the subsistence has attracted the interest of the anthropologist and ethnographers. Along with the difference in the hunting technique some difference in the social structure has also been observed with reference to the number of members in the community. The inhabitants of the southwestern region, the net hunters live in a comparatively large camp consisting to seven to thirty families together. There method of hunting and distribution of the hunt are also of communal type. The women beat the under bush to drive the animals to the net which are looked after by the men. According to famous pygmy researcher Turnbull, this method of hunting requires a number of families to cooperate with each other in order to procure their subsistence. On the contrast the archers live in small groups of three to five. Individual members hunt with the help of arches and bows. The different operations of arching are tracking and ambushing which requires less number of men than net hunting. Several reasons have been cited for this difference in hunting pattern and consequent social structure based on region. According to Turnbull, this has occurred due to the historical distribution of the forest. The southwestern parts of the countries have been subjected to encroachment for agriculture, mining, plantations, tourist centers etc. As a result the inhabitable land and the land for hunting and gathering have been reduced. On the other hand the population of the tribe has increased over the years. As a result the tribe was forced to increase their utilization of the reduced amount of available land. Moreover due to the Law of Diminishing Return the tribesmen had to undertake more work individually in order to maintain similar level of consumption. Another interesting feature that has been pointed out by the scholars is that the pygmy tribe has a low exposure to the technological advancement. Therefore they are unable to increase the utilization of the plot of land with the help of technology. To compensate for that, the tribesmen are required to increase the coordination and cooperation among themselves to maintain similar level of consumption. (Abruzzi, 1979) Renowned anthropologist, Harako suggests another alternative theory. According to him the original mode of hunting of the Mbuti tribe was archery. But some time in history a part of the tribe came in touch with the Bantu speaking tribes. In course of their interaction and exchange the Mbuti tribe learnt to use the net as a tool for hunting. This theory gives an explanation for the division of hunting methods ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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