The Mbuti Pygmies Of The Ituri Forest

  • Просмотров 526
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 18

The Mbuti Pygmies Of The Ituri Forest Essay, Research Paper In this paper, I have selected to alluminate the BaMbuti Pygmies of the Ituri Forest. They are located in Central Africa, in the northeast corner of the Belgium Congo. The Mbuti-a reciprocal economic band-hunt wild animals, fish, and gather fruits, and vegetables, in their cool and damp rain forest. The Pygmies, also referrred as the Forest People, consume much of their goods, and exchange the rest with their neighboring villagers. In addition to focussing on the previous, I will also touch upon the Pygmies domestic life style, and their political and religious systems. The Pygmies are believed to be the first inhabitants of the Ituri Forest. Records dating back to the sixth Dynasty in Egypt, verify the Pygmies long

existance in the tropical rain forest. Due to its location in Central Africa, the Ituri Forest receives an annual precipitation of sixty to eighty inches. The climate is generally hot, and at times cool from violent rain storms. The Ituri Forest stretches about two hundred miles across, and four hundred miles in lenght. It contains an abundance of wild animals, fresh rivers, and numerous types of fruits, vegetable, and plant roots. To the Mbuti…the forest is a father a mother…and like a fatther or mother it gives them everything they need…food, clothing, shelter, warmth and affection…One may not relay with the Pygmies feelings towards the forest, but one can surely comprehend as to why they uphold it with such esteem. For so long as the forest is undistubed, the Pygmies

can continue to live and enjoy all of the goods that the Ituri Forest offers. Although the forest provides the Mbuti with all their needs, they are times when hunting becomes a difficult task. This often occurs, when the normal life in the forest is disrupted by the Pygmies neighboring villagers. The villagers whom are cultivators, clear away land enableling them to plant their crops. Unfortunately, the cutting of trees and the after burning, scares away many of the game from the surrounding area. In such instances, the Mbuti may go into the villages and obtain food. The villagers acknowledge their invasion of the Mbuti land, and in return, they provide the Pygmies with occasional meals. In the eyes of the Mbuti…the village is merely another source of food-acquired by another

form of hunting…for if the villagers do not give of their free will, the Pygmies are not above rading the plantations and stealing what they want…The Pygmies are not always free loading, for they also engage in an informal exchange system with the villagers. Meat being the primary source of trade, is welcomed by the villagers, for it supplements their otherwise large vegetarian diet. In return for game, the Pygmies are given metal tools, rice beans, cassava, corn, and other cultivated products which are grown by the villagers. In addition to exchanging forest goods, the Mbuti also exchange their services. For instance: The villagers have to clear away trees and shrubs to plant their crops. Consequently, they are left with a shortage of sapling to build their homes, and leaves

to cover their roofs. The Mbuti, taking advantage of the villagers fear to enter the forest, easily provide this vital service in exchange for crops. Furthermore, when villagers are overwhelmed with work, the Pygmies supply additional labor in the plantations. Further attributing to threir economic exchange. The exchange syster that is maintained between the Pygmies and villagers, relies heavily on the accomodation of the Mbuti Pygmies. The Pygmies exchange their goods or sevices with the villagers, and return to the forest when it sutis their purpose. Turnbull, author of the Forest People, concludes, “Dependency of the Mbuti on the villages for food or metal is minimal, and it expressed better in terms of convenience than of necessity.” The villagers often left stranded, and