During Week 2, you identified an indigenous group and shared the reasons for your selection. This week, you take a closer look at the group that you have identified by examining its culture. What is culture? Culture is the learned, shared understandings among a group of people. Culture helps to explain how people live, behave, and act and how to interact with others. In this week’s Field Notes, you examine elements of the culture of an indigenous group.
TO PREPARE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT:
Review the assigned chapters in the Omohundro course text.
Review the indigenous group that you selected in Week 2.
Choose two elements of culture from your selected indigenous group. (Note: Elements of culture might include rituals, religious beliefs and practices, marriage customs, gender roles, celebrations, birthdays, holidays, economic, government or social systems.)
Welsch, R.L. & Vivanco, L.A. (2021). Cultural anthropology: Asking questions about humanity (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
Chapter 2, “Culture: Giving Meaning to Human Lives” (pp. 33-45)
This is already discussed in Chapter 1 of the text.
Peters-Golden, H. P. (2012). Culture sketches: Case studies in anthropology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Chapter 3, “The Basseri: Pastoral Nomads on the il-Rah” (pp. 40-59)
Chapter 8, “The Minangkabau: Matriliny and Merantau” (pp. 142-157)
Chapter 10, “The Ojibwa: ‘The People’ Endure” (pp. 177-193)
The chapters from this text provide case study analyses of individual groups around the globe.
Reyes-García, V., Guêze, M., Díaz-Reviriego, I., Duda, R., Fernández-Hamzares, A., Gallois, S., Napitupulu, L., Orta-Martínez, M., & Pyhälä, A. (2016). The adaptive nature of culture: A cross-cultural analysis of the returns of local environmental knowledge in three indigenous societies.Links to an external site. Current Anthropology, 57(6), 761-784. Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/78566475.pdf
Reading Focus: Pages 761-763. In “The Adaptive Nature of Culture,” Dr. Reyes-García shares fieldwork findings relative to three key hunter-gatherer societies: The Tsimane of the Amazon region; the Baka of the Congo Basin; and the Punan of Borneo.
Field Notes 1
ANTH 3001 Indigenous People in Modern World
Prof Tammy L Pertillar
April 23rd 2023
Indigenous identity is a complex and often debated idea considering many different cultural, political, and historical aspects. Indigenous identity is fundamentally about a community’s connection to a location and surrounding environment (Stewart-Ambo & Yang, 2021). A strong sense of responsibility, belonging, and dedication to preserving cultural traditions are frequent characteristics of this connection.
I have chosen the San people, sometimes referred to as the Bushmen, who reside in Southern Africa, mainly in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, for my field research. They are one of Africa’s oldest and most well-known indigenous populations, with a rich cultural legacy and a distinctive way of life. Therefore, I chose them as my subject. With a history spanning more than 20,000 years, they are a well-known indigenous community (Hitchcock, 2019). The San are considered indigenous since they are the area’s first settlers and have a different cultural and linguistic legacy from their dominating societies.
The San are regarded as indigenous for several reasons. For instance, they strongly bond with the land and the environment. The San have been hunter-gatherers for thousands of years, depending on the resources of the land to support their way of life. Their cultural practices, such as their in-depth knowledge of native plants and animals and their spiritual convictions regarding the interdependence of all living things, are reflections of their relationship to the land.
The San have endured extensive historical marginalization and prejudice, which is another reason why they are deemed indigenous. The colonial powers and the post-colonial governments of Southern Africa have used violence and exploitation against the San, including forced removals, land dispossession, and other acts (Hitchcock, 2019). Despite these obstacles, the San have persisted and have kept claiming their political rights and cultural identity.
Anthropologists are drawn to the San due to their distinctive social structure, linguistic diversity, and cultural and historical relevance. The San have a sophisticated system of kinship relationships and reciprocity as the foundation of their social structure. With more than 30 unique dialects and languages, they have some of the most diverse languages in the entire globe.
In conclusion, the San are a crucial indigenous group that embodies many important aspects of indigenous identity. They make an engaging subject for anthropological study due to their strong ties to the land, distinctive cultural legacy, and ongoing struggles for recognition and rights. Anthropologists can better comprehend the intricacies and difficulties of indigenous identity in the modern world by studying the San and their communities.
Hitchcock, R. K. (2019). The Impacts of Conservation and Militarization on Indigenous Peoples : A Southern African San Perspective. Human Nature (Hawthorne, N.Y.), 30(2), 217–241. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12110-019-09339-3
Stewart-Ambo, T., & Yang, K. W. (2021). Beyond Land Acknowledgment in Settler Institutions. Social Text, 39(1), 21–46. https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-8750076