Ant 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Professor Ronald Bolender
March 14, 2011
When compared to our society, the San people have similar value systems. The San are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, where they have lived for thousands of years. The term San is commonly used to refer to a diverse group of hunter-gatherers living in Southern Africa who share historical and linguistic connections. “Some foragers have lived in their present location for thousands of years, such as the San in southwest Africa” (Nowak and Laird, 2010, p. 3.2). The San were also referred to as Bushmen, but this term has since been abandoned as it is considered derogatory.
Here are three examples of how the San are like many American societies. Like many American families, the San people have no true leader. Leadership among the San is kept for those who have lived within that group for a long time, who have achieved a respectable age, and good character. In many American families this is also true. The eldest person is treated with the most respect and families often try to discuss their problems together in order to keep peace in the family. The San also believe there is one powerful God. In our circles this belief is also true. They also respect the dead; we pay our respects to the dead as well by the various small things we do. We pull our vehicles over during a funeral procession, we do not walk on anyone’s grave, we lower flags for dead dignitaries, and we have large lists of things that we consider respect for the dead.
Lastly, the San have religious aspirations. We also share this trait. There have a person they hold in high regards as we would a priest of preacher. They call their holy man a Shaman or medicine man. The San are big on having strong family ties and bonds. Let’s look at how the family is thought to work or structure itself.
Most foraging societies consist of a nuclear family setting. When looking how a... [continues]
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