Instructor Michael King
January 29, 2012
Culture is the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations (Webster-Merriman Dictionary). This research paper explains the culture of the Mbuti of Zaire. Since the beginning of time, there have been many different types of cultures. Cultures can define a small village or an entire race of people, not to mention defining where a community will live, and what methods are used in their day-to-day survival. This paper will focus on the culture of the Mbuti Pygmy tribe. The Mbuti people are a foraging society, which impacts many different views of their culture. This paper will further identify their cultural subsistence on foraging as well as their kinship, beliefs and values, and social organization. A close look at their beliefs and values will show how all aspects of the Mbuti culture are in affected by their spiritual symbolism.
The Mbuti people live in the Ituri Forest, a tropical rainforest covering about 70,000 km2 of the north/northeast portion of Zaire. The forest is the main element around the traditional Mbuti life. They sometimes refer to the forest as mother or father, acknowledging it as the source of their food, clothing, and materials for shelter (Turnbull, 1961). In turn, this richness of foliage sustains a broad range of animals, birds, and insects which become a food source for the Mbuti. They think of the forest as a place to return to for safety. The Mbuti are characterized as good natured and happy. They are peaceful and avoid conflict with outsiders, preferring to return to their "real" world of the forest rather than deal with unpleasant situations. They live in small groups of families, building camp sites of small, round huts from pliable saplings covered with large leaves to shed the rain (Turnbull, 1961). These villages are temporary, and... [continues]
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