Chumash vs San

Better Essays
AP World History
31st August
Comparative Essay

In a period of complete change beknownst to us as the Neolithic Revolution, some groups of nomads deserted their “normal” way of life and began to settle down in villages and use agrarian methods to make a living for themselves. Two examples would be the Chumash of Southern California and the San of South Africa. Although the Chumash and the San both led a gathering and hunting way of life, they are ultimately two completely different civilizations, embodying unique political organizations, social structures and hierarchies, distinct economic foundations and individual sets of differing values. Sometimes a more elaborate material life isn’t always the better one. The Chumash peoples enjoyed a rich environment, a growing and settled population, flourishing commerce involving a market-based system (“individuals acting out of a profit motive”), and technological innovation with the creation of the planked canoe, aka tomol. Yet as fabulous as this innovation seemed, it caused major inequality in Chumash society. The elite craft guild, more commonly referred to as the Brotherhood of the Tomol, not only monopolized canoe production but elevated themselves to a position of immense power within the Chumash peoples and deepened the class distinction. After the innovation, emerged the permanent and hereditary political elite among the Chumash: the Chumash chiefs, all of whom were, not coincidentally, canoe owners. These high-ranking officers had fancy and elaborate burials, and were often buried with parts of their very own canoes. The more equality-seeking San peoples, however, had no formal leaders, chiefs, priests, or craft specialists. Political decisions were merely made by individual families and camps after group gatherings. Both peoples’ values in life also differed greatly. The San peoples’ values were characterized by modesty, cooperation, and equality. An example of modesty would be a

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