Kinship System of the Bushmen

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Kinship System of the Bushmen
Dior McClelland
ANT 101
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Melissa Kirkendall
June 25, 2012

For thousands of years the San people have inhabited southern Africa, foraging through the Kalahari Desert. The San also known as the Bushmen, but the word Bushmen can be affiliated with negativity, so they prefer to be called the San people. This paper will briefly explain the kinship system of the San people, provide three examples of how the kinship system impacted their culture and also compare their society to American society.

The San people lived a foraging lifestyle, living in self-sufficient, mobile groups known as bands (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Every couple of weeks they move to areas where food and water is thriving. ”Foragers move over land year after year, knowing where all prime location are for the foods and water needed not only for basic survival, but to thrive” (Nowak & Laird, 2010) Constant movement and division of food and water are what build the kinship ties in the foraging culture. These ties build a greater sense of obligation to one another (Nowak & Laird, 2010). The San eat nuts, fruits berries, tubers, bush onions and other plant materials which are gathered by the women of the band. They are the main gatherers and contribute to nearly 80 percent of the food, with the men providing the remaining 20 percent of their diet with the meat (Nowak & Laird, 2010). In addition to plants, insects furnish ten percent of animal proteins consumed during the dry season (Morris, 2004). The Bushmen consume 18 to 104 species including grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and termites (Morris, 2004)

The women of the San society use simple and effective gear to do their gathering. It normally consist of a hide sling, a blanket, a cloak called kaross to carry foodstuffs, firewood, smaller bags, a digging stick, and perhaps a smaller version of the kaross to carry a baby. In one day...
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