Hunter-Gatherers Economic Strategies Social Structure Case Studies: Aka & Okiek
Hunter-Gatherers • Economic • no direct growing of domestic plants • No herding of domestic animals (except dogs) • Social • bands, small groups (20-25) • Egalitarian • Equal access to all things necessary.
Common Beliefs/Misconceptions • Comparative, evolutionary and materialist explanations. • Studied because represent antique/extinct stage of human culture. • Yardstick of human kind • Society at its most basic level. • “Noble Savage”
Contribution to Studying World Cultures • Direct encounters with primitive people spawned field of Anthropology. • “Arm-chair” anthropology-people would interpret what explorers described about the “primitive” people they encountered.
Highly Variable • Subsistence • Hunting (Inuit) important in some, • Gathering in others (!Kung). • Organization • Patrilineal, Matrilineal, Composite • Patrilineal-exogamous, 50-100, patrilocal, patrilineal descent and land inheritance. • Matrilineal-exogamous, 50-100, matrilocal, matrilineal descent and land inheritance. • Composite-several individual families, endogamous, bilateral descent, no rules of residence (Algonkian and Athapaskan)
Generalized Foraging Model • Egalitarianism-mobility constrains property, maintains equality. • Low Pop Density-food supply keeps pop low, but also social controls such as abstinence, abortion, and infanticide. • Lack of Territoriality-resource availability, mobility • Minimum of Food Storage-movement and visiting. • Flexible Band composition (H-G=Band).
"Original Affluent Society" • Sahlins-hunter-gatherers spent little time working, had all the food they needed. • Leisure hours spent sleeping and socializing. • Supported by Lee’s work with the !Kung • 20-30 hours per week “working”
Interdependent Model • All H-G affected by “outside” influences. • contact, disease, shot, traded with, etc. “The gods must be crazy” • H-g today rarely obtain all food from foraging. • Pushed to edge environments. • “Professional Primitives” Model • H-G interactions with non-h-gs. • Some remain h-gs because it is their most viable option given restricted circumstances.
PygmyHunter-Gatherers • Indigenous peoples known as Pygmies live in the tropical rain forests of Central Africa, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the Philippines. • They are the earliest known inhabitants of the Congo Basin in Africa and are estimated to number 150,000 to 300,000. • The best-known tribe, the Mbuti or Bambuti, are the shortest of all human groups, averaging near 51 inches in height. • African Pygmies may be divided into four groups: the Binga along the Atlantic coast, including the Beku, Bongo, Jelli, Koa, Kola, Kuya, Rimba, and Yaga; the Twa in the high regions surrounding Lake Kivu; the Gesera and Zigaba in Rwanda and Burundi; and the Mbuti, Aka, and Efe of the Ituri forest in northeastern Congo (Kinshasa).
Housing Pygmies live in huts called mongulus. They are round or rectangular one-family houses made of branches and leaves and are normalt always built by women.
Marriage • Pygmies live in small bands of less than fifty members. • Each band has its own territory but they move on to different territories when the food supply runs low. • Inter-band marriages are common and individuals are free to leave one and join another. • Marriage is by sister exchange. A man must arrange the marriage of one of the female members of his band to a man in his prospective bride's band. Pygmies are normally monogamous and have a strong family structure. • There are no formal leaders heading a band. Problems are solved through open discussions.
Hunting • Game size and hunting technique • Miseteke-net hunting camp-more blue duiker. • Mokumbokumbo-more rodents. • Net hunting is affected mostly by behavior of animals. • very young blue duikers stay hidden
Okiek Hunter-Gatherers • Okiek • Kaplelach and Kipchorwonek • southernmost Okiek • Mau Escarpment, Kenya, about 100 miles north of Nairobi. • Highland forest dwellers • Interactions with Maasai and other pastoral, agricultural groups.
Ecology • Mau Escarpment • rises in altitude from 1800-2800 m over 50 miles • Five kinds of forest • Soyua-open bushy forest from 1800-2100. • Sasaontet-forest with glades and fields 2100-2400. • Tirap-thick forest 2400-2600. • Sisiyuet-tick bamboo stands 2400-2600. • Mau-open moorland, 2600-2800. • Lineage owned, patrilineally transmittted parcels (tracts). • Moves primarily determined by honey availability. • Tirap from Dec-Jan • Soyua from May-September • Aug-Nov Sasanotet
Social Structure • Residence groups of small extended families. • Patrilineal core. • Six to ten adjacent lineages constitute a group. • Sons inherit tracts and hives. • Age-set relations cross-cut lineages. • Unites men of different lineages. • Younger age-set respects older.
Gender Roles • Resources and Production • Men • traditionally providers of meat and honey. • Made decisions regarding household • Travelled farther and longer than women. • Women • very little contribution to diet. • Child rearing main responsibility. • After maize and millet, women had more control over food.