Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Iroquois Nation

The Iroquois Nation

            The Iroquois Nation is a nation of Native Americans that is situated in the North Eastern part of the United States that is made up of 5 tribes: Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and the Seneca.  Originally they were located in what is now New York between the Adirondack Mountains and Niagra Falls but managed to expand through conquest and migration.  At their peak the nation expanded from the north shore of the Chesapeake Bay through Kentucky to where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet, then northward to the south end of Lake Michigan, going east through Ontario and Quebec, and then south through Northern New England through Hudson and Delaware Valleys across Pennsylvania back to Chesapeake.  Despite controlling this enormous area they mainly stayed in present day upstate New York.  (Sultzmen)    In general the area they occupied is humid continental, but is still very diverse.  The temperature varies throughout the area.  In the winter the average temperature could vary from 16 degrees near the mountains to 26 degrees in the lower Hudson Valley.  In the summer the temperature averages about 90 degrees.  Generally there's no dry or wet seasons but there is a monthly average of about 2.7 inches of rainfall throughout the states, with more precipitation towards Long Island and less in the Lake Champlain regions.  There is a lot of snowfall in the area, ranging from 100 to 175 inches a year dependent upon the area. 
    There were very few Iroquois to 20,000 between the 5 tribes.  Once the European epidemics hit the number dwindled to about half of its original number, however conquest increased their population to it's maximum in 1660, about 25,000 people.  They live in relatively rural and unpopulated areas making competition for resources minimal.  Today there are about 70,000 Iroquois in approximately 20 settlements in the United States and Canada.  About 3/5 of the area is made up of forested woodland that includes about 150 different kinds of trees.  There are many animals that live in the area including deer, moose, beavers, bats, whales, wood rats, woodpeckers, whip-poor-wills, herons, cormorants, geese, salamanders, frogs, turtles, salmon, catfish, pike, bass, and herring, as well as many more.

      The Iroquois have two particular physical adaptations that stand out over any others.  The first is a higher baseline production of melanin.  Because they spent a great deal of time outdoors, hunting, gathering, farming, and fishing they needed more protection from the sun.  Their skin compensated for the higher exposure by producing more melanin and eventually it became coded in their genes so that naturally Iroquois have much darker skin than even Europeans located the same distance from the equator.  They have also developed something commonly referred to as the "thrifty gene."  This genetic hardwiring is described as "being a model of optimal genetic selection in which the survivors are those who are able to store enough energy in times of plenty to sustain themselves during famines.  Consistent with notion that addictions can be rational because they are driven by acquired human capital, genetic traits are also independent of consumer preferences because they impact the expected budget set.  Thus, the thrift gene hypothesis implies that, although famines may no occur in modern times, those with the thrifty gene are more likely to behave as if there is a positive probability of scarcity" (Richards).
    The largest cultural adaptation that the Iroquois developed was the use of firearms in warfare.  Traditionally they both hunted and fought with bowes and arrows and spears, but once the Europeans came over they had to adapt fast in order to survive.  Not only did the colonizers have superior fire power but they also had superior numbers.  The Iroquois quickly learned how to get a hold of them and use them, and once combined with their unity they were able to hold out for over 100 years.  Another cultural adaptation would be their longhouses.  

They needed shelter from the storms that were common in the area but still needed a living area large enough for all of the family to live together, and all of the clans in the same house.  The third cultural adaptation would be their farming techniques.  Overtime, they realized that farming would add a lot of food to their stores, and that the slash and burn follows the natural cycle of the earth, but that eventually the fields have to be moved because all of the nutrients are sucked out of the soil and that's exactly what they did.
    Since the Iroquois nation is made up of many different tribes, and since the tribes develop relatively independently there is a multitude of languages that make up this nation.  These include Tuscarora, Nottoway, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, Huron/Wyandot, Laurentian, Susquehannock, and Cherokee.  Today there are only 7 of these spoken: Cayuga, Cherokee, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.  The only two languages that are not in danger of extinction at the moment are Cherokee and Mohawk.  
 Linguistically, 6 of the 7 languages (all except Cherokee) are grouped together as the Six Nation languages. "They all use Roman orthography, with certain diacritics and symbols added to reprint sounds not available in the 26 letter Latin alphabet.  Cherokee is unique among North American Native languages because of its orthography, a syllabary invented int he historical era by [Sequoyah]" (  Verbally, it is still an open question as to whether or not the origins of the language are related to any other languages.  Most likely, they seem to be distantly related to the Siouan and Caddoan family of languages.  We can tell by the fact that verbally this language is not closely related to any other, yet uses the Roman alphabet as a basis for its written language, that the alphabet was something that was brought into the culture from outside.

Gender Roles
    The Iroquois have 2 genders in the population, male and female.  Traditionally there are very defined roles for each of the genders, though today the roles are starting to blend together slightly more.  The Iroquois are a matriarchal society, making the women the dominant gender in the culture.  Traditionally the men would go and hunt, they were the warriors and did most of the outdoor activities, while the women stayed in the longhouse, raising kids, cooking, sewing, and essentially running the politics and the culture of the society.  They were the keepers of the culture,and all of the male delegates of the ruling councils were appointed by senior women of the tribe.  There were clan mother's to each of the clans, though the chief was still a male.  The clan mother made sure that everything at home was running smoothly, that everyone was safe and fed.  While the women stayed at home the men were the ones to travel and work out political issues with the other tribes, as well as the ones to fight for the welfare of the community.  Since it was a matriarchal society the family name was passed down through the women, and when a couple was married they lived in the longhouse of the wife's family and became part of her clan.
Iroquois Clan Mother

Iroquois Chief

    Today the men overpower the women in decision making, but women can be chiefs.  The chiefs are voted in by a community vote of the clan or tribe.  Clans are still passed down through the women, though the family name is now passed down through the father.  Children are still taught about the traditional gender roles and all of the responsibilities and traditions that went along with them. Responsibilities are spread more equally between the genders, which is a great deal of change from the 1600s, or even the 1800s, when the roles were clearly defined.


    Traditionally the Iroquois were both hunters and farmers.  The men would be responsible for the hunting and farming while the women would gather what produce they couldn't farm.   The foods that were gathered were berries and roots, as well as other plants that they would use in their cooking.  The men hunted in cycles, fished year round, and cleared the fields so that the women could farm.  In the early spring they would fish and hunt passenger pigeons, in the late spring and summer they would clear the fields and plant their crops which they would harvest in the late summer.  The harvest season was followed by a hunting season that would last until the winter solstice.  They used the slash and burn method to farm maize, beans, and squash, and in the good years they would dry and store the excess crops for future years.  Today the hunting has greatly diminished because most of the men are working off-reservation.
    The farming means that the beans and squash that are main staples in their diet are only available fresh during the late summer.  Since they were dried and stored they were still used year round.  The animals that were hunted were only available after the hunt, but year round fishing means that fish was consistently available, as were any plants that were foraged, though specific plants went in and out of season.

    The division of labor was relatively simple.  The men would hunt, clear the fields, and fish, while the women foraged, foraged, and prepared any food that was to be consumed that day.  Children would learn to do these tasks as well as the became of age, but social class did not take any role in who did what, with the exception of the medicine-men.
    The multitude of ways to gather food makes it so that they were very rarely lacking anything nutritionally.  They had some form of meat and vegetables or fruits year-round thanks to fishing and gathering.  Because they dried and stored their food they also had grains all year, rounding out their diet.
Economic System
    The Iroquois would produce as much food through farming as they could.  They did this because they would dry it and store it for use through the rest of the year, and future years, that way there would rarely be a shortage.  When gathering, hunting, and fishing, they would use what they brought home when they brought it home.  There is a specialization of labor in the sense that the men and women did separate things, but that was as far as the specialization went.  They didn't have special groups just for hunting, just for fishing, and so on, but rather all of the men hunted and fished, while all of the women farmed and gathered.  There was a sense of redistribution of goods or wealth in the sense that all food and goods were shared by the whole tribe.  They didn't have any real form of currency since they produced everything they needed.  If they did need to trade it would simply be goods for goods, no currency was involved.

    The social structure of the Iroquois is completely dependent upon the women of the family.  They were a monogamous culture, with no real practice of any form of cousin marriage.  The women of the family would choose the marriage partner for the young women as they came of age.  The mother had the final say but all of the elder women took part in the decision.  There was no real economic exchange for the marriage since males and females were valued as equals.  Once a couple was married the husband would move in with the wife's family and take her name.  All of their children would belong to the woman's family as well, even in the case of divorce.

   The Iroquois follow a descent pattern through the women.  Being a matrilineal society means that tye family name as well as positions are passed down through the mother.  A husband still belongs to his mother's family in a way, but all of his contributions will go towards his wife's family. 
 In each particular family the matron has the final say with any issues, thought the chief is still in charge of any decisions for the tribe including whether or not to go to war.  The inheritance patterns do indeed match the descent patterns, as all land is passed down through the mother's family.

Social Organization
    For the most part the Iroquois are generally an egalitarian society.  There are leaders in society such as the chief, the clan mother, and the matron of each family, but all members are cared for and treated equally.  There are no separate classes.  Because of this there is no mobility across status levels since there are no status levels.  A chief is selected, matrons and clan mother's gain their spot with age and experience.

Political Structure
    The Iroquois had an unusual and original political structure that greatly influenced the Europeans who came to America.  They had a system of checks and balances, with supreme law, and this system united them in a way that allowed them to come together with a sense of purpose and prevail over their enemies, including the Europeans.  Their leaders were all chosen by the women of the tribes, and these leaders made up the League.  They had a Great Law of Peace called the Kainerekowa, and this simply stated that the Iroquois should not kill each other.  The council had 50 male sachems, the Onondaga had 14, the Cayuga 10, the Oneida 9, the Mohawk 9, and the Seneca 8.  These leaders were nominated by the tribal clan mothers and the positions were held for life.  
These sachems ruled in time of peace, but during war the War Chiefs ruled and they were chosen on the basis of birth, experience, and ability.  They had little central authority until 1660 when they needed a united front against the Europeans.  All decisions of the council had to be made unanimously, which at times was a serious weakness.  The principal sachem was always from the Onondaga tribe.  This political system held them together until the American Revolution whereas many other Native American Nations succumbed to European power.

Role of Violence
    Violence is presented as both a positive and a negative in the Iroquoian culture.  In one sense they were not only a farming nation but also a warrior nation, intent on expanding their boundaries and completely overcoming their enemies.  Because of this, they went to war, and war means massive amounts of violence, and killing anyone that is necessary to conquer a tribe.  
They were not afraid of violence in any way, however, when it came to the Iroquoian people, which includes those that have already been conquered, that was a completely different story.  They had the Kainerekowa which stated that no Iroquois should kill another Iroquois, or cause any harm to them.  Essentially, violence towards outsiders was acceptable when necessary, but towards those who were members of the nation it was never acceptable. 

    The Iroquois have a religion of their own, not one that is commonly recognized in today's world.  It is not in any way related to a larger branch of religion since it originated on its own.  The religion is a polytheistic one, though they do have one main god.  The most important deity was the Great Spirit and she was responsible for the creation of human beings, the plants and animals, and the forces of good in nature.  
The Great Sprit creating the 5 Great Lakes
There were other important deities such as the Thunderer, the Three Sisters, the spirits of the crops they farmed.  There were deities on the opposite end, the Evil Spirit and lesser spirits that were responsible for disease and misfortune.  They could not communicate directly with Great Spirit, but they burned tobacco as a way to communicate with lesser spirits of good, and those spirits would carry on their message.  Dreams were supernatural signs that expressed the desire of the soul, and they were encouraged to fulfill their dreams.
    They had religious ceremonies that involved the whole drive and were for farming, health, and thanksgiving.  There were 6 major ceremonies each year, that of the Maple, Planting, Strawberry, Green Maize, Harvest, and New Year's festivals.  "The first five in this sequence involved public confessions followed by group Ceremonies which included speeches by the keepers of the faith, tobacco offerings, and prayer.  The New Year's festival was usually held in early February and was marked by dream interpretations and the sacrifice of a white dog offered to purge the people of evil" (Iroquois-Religion and Expressive Culture).  

    This culture was completely based off the beliefs.  The women held higher power because of the Great Spirit being female.  It was believed that crops and hunts were successful because the gods were happy with the festivals.  It was so entwined with the culture that should this religion never had been a part of it the Iroquois nation never would have been what it was.  However, it is possible to function without it, as it is now, but many of the traditions have been lost.

    All Iroquoian art was tied in with its religion, especially the creation of false face masks.  These masks were carved into the tree by someone who had seen the vision of a deity and then cut out of the tree, decorated, and worn in celebrations.  
cowhorn rattles

water drums
They also had music and dance in their celebrations to give thanks to the creator, and used a water drum and cow horn rattle.  There was dancing for social reasons that would occur either at the festivals or just in the LongHouse.

    The Iroquois Culture has greatly been influenced by outside influences, especially those of European descent, and today's American culture.  Because of this many of them have adopted Christianity and they have started working in the cities at steel mills.  They have lost touch with the religious origins as well as with the hunting portion of their culture.  Personally, I don't see any good coming out of this change, it just means that a culture is slowly disappearing because it is easier to live as most Americans do, many of the languages are already dead.  It is very quickly losing its cultural identity, it's mainly the older generations that know the religion and the language right now, and the number of people in each generation is diminishing.  While we tried to preserve their culture by establishing reservations as sovereign land, the colonization of America essentially killed the culture of not only the Iroquois, but of all of the Native Americans.  They now have very little influence, if any at all.  We'll be lucky if any of the cultures that are left last another 200 years, and while that seems like a long time to most of us, this is a whole culture going extinct, a whole religon, language, and way of life, dying.


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Backwoods Boy

  1. I don't really think the cave artists where really trying to say anything, I simply believe that they were just painting the world around them. Freud even said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and i think that we re just reading into this too much. People have  naturally artistic side and enjoy exploring that even if its only simple drawings.
  2. Maybe the people at that time held some sort of mystic view or pedestal view of the animals in the cave maybe the depended on them for food or had some sort of religion which worshiped them. 
  3. I believe intelligence in the people is most likely forming faster than ever before because art is a huge jump from the physical world. The cave dwellers lives also heavily revolved around animals.  
  4. First of all they need the simple coordination in order to draw in the way they did, the use of colors and what makes certain colors. They would also have to find a way to draw all over the caves including the last bit which seemed to have a little drop. We also cant forget the cognitive ability to move past the physical world into putting their thoughts and sights onto the wall.
  5. The art could be a crude form of written language for storytelling or instructional purposes. The art could have been just a simple way for early man to explore themselves and the world around them. The art could also have been the equivalent of a bored kid drawing on the walls with marker. 
2. Modern art today is often use to communicate some point, look at the street art of Banksy. Visual cues usually have a powerful effect on humans even more so than the spoke word and the images can often stay with us for many many years. Modern art is also a way for people to express themselves or tell stories such as which music, this could be a simple attempt at that by the cave dwellers.

3. Country Music

  1. Personally this type of music has always been pretty dear to me, i think of it as almost story telling and a way to express yourself in a more musical way. it can be a way to play away your troubles, you can sing about a girl who broke your heart, your boss who works you to the bone or a bottle you cant seem to put down, it can sometimes be the thing that helps keep you sane.
  2. Well a tucked in button down, nice belt buckle with some worn out jeans with a skoal ring, a scuffed up pair of boots and a nice stetson with a purdy leather band is pretty stereotypical but there's no needed dress code except everyone should have a good pair of boots. There is a language i suppose its more of the language of a blue collar crowd.
  3. Music can help anyone through a hard time so of course it helps out quite a bit, and there's a few people that could learn to just cowboy up instead of complaining about life. on a more personal note a country girl and that's kept me going on more than one occasion so I do think that it can have a pretty amazing effect it just takes some people getting used to if they weren't raised around it. Only detrimental effects I could think of would be the amount of people who have been smacked for changing the radio on Hank. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


For my interview I decided to interview my father so that I could get the most information possible.  I know that I would have been able to get more interesting stories had I interviewed his mother but that there are people that she won't talk about that my dad could tell me.  I was hoping that he would know why contact was cut or why those people were not included in his life, but unfortunately he didn't know much.  My father is turning 51 in just about a week.  He has one older sister.  His parents adopted him shortly after his birth and he knows nothing about his birth parents or ethnic background.  He grew up in the San Fernando Valley and moved to Lancaster, Ca in 1989 to start a family and open up an auto repair shop.

When asking my dad questions I wanted to dig a little deeper than what he was willing to offer.  He is a very closed off man and his family has a lot of secrets.  He doesn't even know much of his family history so even if I had pried there still wouldn't be much to learn, though this would not have changed had I talked to a different family member.  I tried to ask questions in a way that he didn't feel as if I was intruding but would still let him answer to an extent that would allow me to do this assignment.  There was some awkwardness when I asked questions that he either didn't know the answer to or wasn't comfortable talking about, especially if I knew that he has never talked about it before.  This would have definitely been easier if it was someone that I didn't know because I would have no way of knowing whether or not that specific topic or family member could or could not be talked about.

There is a difference in my dad's family between maternal family and paternal family.  I know that this is because no one talks about his dad's family, though I still haven't learned why no one talks about them.  His mom has always been very sentimental about her mother and her time in Indonesia so there are more ties to her side of the family, especially since her brother showed back up.  There aren't so much different attitudes towards young and old in the family but rather different attitudes towards individuals.  For example, my dad talks about his parents and his mother with great respect, while he talks about his nephew and his mother's step-father with contempt.  There is a huge tendency towards smaller families on both sides of my family.  With my dad, he has a single sibling, and a single aunt and uncle.  His dad is an only child, his mom has a half sibling, and all of his mom's parents were only children, and I am an only child.  Essentially, our family stays as small as it can while still continuing on.
There are huge social impacts on my family based on where they are from.  These mainly come from my grandmother since she is the one who actually grew up in a different country.  Growing up in Indonesia she has a strong Hindu faith, and a love for and understanding of nature.  Being from an extremely wealthy Dutch family she also has manners and etiquette that would make a debutante look savage and those manners have been passed down (though also watered down) through my family.  There is also the history of the war, with my grandfather fighting in it and my grandmother being a victim of it, that affects how my family has learned to view the world.

My Perspective
I have a very small and very closed off family.  It is easy to start grudges, and very hard to start talking to each other again.  Because of this the family that I do know well is extremely limited.  I know my grandparents, and I know my aunt on my dad's side very well.  I don't know my cousin very well because I don't agree with his lifestyle or want him to be a part of my life.  On my mom's side there was recently a coming together with her brother and his wife so I am beginning to know them well.  I don't know any of my parents aunts or uncles with the exception of Rob, and I never met their grandparents.  
I definitely socialize more with my mom's side of the family because growing up when my parents were working I stayed with her parents rather than with my dad's family.  I also socialize with them more recently because we have finally started talking again and we have a lot of time to catch up on.
The person with the most influence in my family is definitely my mother, and I suppose by extension my father.  This is because my grandparents are all at a stage where they won't be with us much longer unfortunately, so my parents are starting to make the decisions for them.  My mom is also the most stubborn person in the family and once she has made up her mind there is no changing it.  She even has the most influence on my dad's side of the family, which shows you that everyone in our family has been treated equally regardless of whether they are a part of the family due to blood or marriage.
Gender plays a role in my family in the sense that the women are not to be messed with.  While the men may be the ones who bring home the money, that is all they do.  The women make the decisions, they are the real heads of the households, and they are the ones that control our lives.  At the same time though it is also expected that since the men are out earning the money the women will not only take care of the family issues but they'll play the traditional house wife role.
This exercise has helped me to realize that my family has very strong opinions, and that those opinions are not easily changed.  I knew that my grandfather's parents were never talked about but I never realized how far back it went or that it was to the extent that my father doesn't even know their names.  I also learned some more about my dad's uncle and how happy of an occasion it was when he was reunited with our part of the family.
Overall I wish that my family was more open.  All of the stories that I have heard have been so interesting that I want to know more about more people.  I feel like a kid who has had a taste of candy and whose parents aren't letting them have the whole piece.  Hopefully one day I'll know more. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Supermarket Hunter

Part 1

1. The benefits of a hunter gather type of lifestyle could be the closer we are to our food creates a better quality of food we can usually get. If we have to chase our protein across miles of woods we expend calories for a comparatively low gain which could quickly take care of any obesity problems. A nomad lifestyle allows us to leave or fallow the food and fallow the growing season rather than being devastated by drought you can pick up and scurry on off. Monetary value also crashes because an economy weights heavily on the money and taxes we pay for food. While an agricultural society there is more stability in larger groups where as in larger groups HG societies can quickly be literally screwed if game is not plentiful, as a hunter I can assure you typically game isn't plentiful. Having agriculture also allows for a more stable economy and import and export.

2. Some of the disadvantages of HG lifestyles is the fact if there is a large population to sustain you can deplete the game in the area and if there is no game you will starve. In a HG society those who are not as agile or strong are not viewed as useful and any with any serious issues can hold the group back. A huge disadvantage of agriculture is the fact the food is so weather dependent. If weather is poor or there is a blight it could be a repeat of the Irish potato famine.

3. The healthiest diet depends on your living conditions, hunter gathers tend to be healthier but overall I believe the best would be a mix of the two.

4. I think early humans made the transition because its simply easier to supply a population with a steady almost predictable amount of food. For a population which is growing rapidly this a huge plus and give them stability in a unstable world.

Part 2

1.  Your population has a minimum need to survive what ever isn't used is a surplus which can be readily traded. Its a dangerous game to trade on supplies that could possibly be needed and you could end up starving yourself just because you canted to trade without having the proper resources at your disposal. 

2. A social benefit of trade is the exposure to other cultures which allows different thoughts and views on life. Along with expose to other people you also gain new technology passes on similar to how it was on the silk road.

3. Trade gives a some people all the power and some people nothing due to the uneven distribution of wealth, and the wealthy can pick on the poor. Another negative could possibly be exposure to new pathogens that the native people do not have antibodies for could cause a epidemic.

4.   Only some foods will grow in some areas so if some people have things others do not but those others want it they can arrange a trade, simple supply and demand.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Culture and Language

Part 1:
                I found this experiment to be very difficult.  I enjoy talking to people and sharing my thoughts.  At first when reading the guidelines I was really excited that I could still use ASL until I saw that guideline.  It made it very difficult for me to get across what I was trying to say to the other person, not to mention very difficult not to speak at all.
                My partner in this communication session seemed very confused at first.  I didn’t fill her in on what I was going to do so that her reaction wouldn’t be biased.  She kept repeating herself at first, thinking that maybe I didn’t understand her, and then she started to use more hand gestures when she was talking to me.  I assume that this is in an attempt to essentially use the same language as me.
                I don’t really think that either one of us had an advantage in the discussion.  At first examination I felt that I did because at least I could understand what she was saying whereas she could not understand me.  Then I started thinking back to the conversation and realizing that really I did not have an advantage, after all I was the one that was struggling to communicate properly and make her understand me.  If we were different cultures trying to communicate for the first time then it would still be the same, neither of us would have an advantage.  The best we could do is use those hand gestures that hopefully we both can understand.  Within our own culture deaf people have trouble communicating with spoken language, and they have the same problems that I was having.  Most of them are also unable to speak and therefore they’re trying to communicate with us using nothing but symbols and pointing at what they want, while for the most part as long as we’re speaking normally they can read our lips so they know what we are saying.

Part 2:
                I barely lasted a minute using nothing but speech to communicate.  Not using hand gestures was easy, granted I had to sit on my hands, but that was the easiest thing to keep myself from doing.  Not moving my head was somewhat easy, I only caught myself doing it 2 or 3 times during the 15 minute conversation.  The hard part for me was not to change my tone of voice.  I hate it when people speak in monotones, even if it’s only for one sentence, and my voice is extremely animated.  I couldn’t figure out how to not use the tone or volume of my voice as a form of communication.
                The person that I was communicating with kept trying to get out of the conversation.  She didn’t want to talk to me because I showed no emotion what so ever.  Head movements, hands, and tone of voice all can portray what you mean.  Saying that you’re happy for someone or sorry for them doesn’t come across as being true when you say it as if you’re a robot.  Because of this she didn’t really want to keep the conversation rolling but rather kept trying to find ways out of it.
                As I just said, non-verbal communication in a spoken language is extremely important.  In my opinion it actually makes up at least half of our communication.  People read body language as a way to judge what the person really means by what they’re saying, or if they even mean it at all.  Tone of voice completely tells others what we’re feeling; it can communicate anger, fear, stress, joy, excitement, as well as any other emotion that we are feeling.  Without those we lose an enormous part of our language and our communication.
                There are indeed people who have trouble reading body language; they are around us every day.  There are also experts that can see that split second of emotion even if we’re trying to hide it.  The people that can’t understand non-verbal communication have a lot of trouble in social settings.  They often don’t get jokes, sarcasm; they don’t understand when they are pushing boundaries, or making people angry.  I honestly can’t think of a way for it to be a good thing to not be able to read body language.  In every profession and every situation it seems to be a good thing.  Even if you’re on a deserted island it’s still not bad to be able to understand body language.  It’s never going to hurt to be able to read non-verbal cues; it might not always help though.

Part 3:
                The experiment in part 1 definitely would have been easier if we were allowed to use written communication.  Especially at our age we use written language every day with texting each other.  I could have easily written down what I wanted to say, and then I still had non-verbal language to work with so that all together it could have been combined to communicate effectively.
                Written language has a great deal of advantages to a culture.  First off it means that you are able to communicate over farther distances.  You can write down our stories that have always been passed down through oral tradition.  You’re able to write down different medicines and treatments, symptoms of diseases and such.  Once a culture develops written language, they can truly begin to thrive and they have a better chance of survival.
                Written language has had an enormous impact on globalization.  It has given us an easy way to spread our ideology and our histories.  We’ve been able to learn so much about other cultures through their books of mythology, medicine, and history.  And once we know about other cultures we can start to interact with them better and then join them in business.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zulus and Andean Indians

 Lets approach the Zulus first

1. The Zulu people live in the Natal Province of South Africa a fairly harsh climate with an average  temperature of 16-33 C with only 464mm per year which falls below the world wide average, a whopping 320 sunny days a year.  the weather is generally sunny and hot with thunderstorms that often clear quickly and there is not too much variation in seasons. over all South Africa is cooler than other countries in similar latitudes due to its higher elevation. The weather can be inhospitable if one is in a drought and has little access to water, a good rule of thumb is you can survive three weeks with out food and three days without water. 
2. a physical adaptation they do have would be cause by the latitude in which they live, due the the high amounts of UV radiation their skin reacts accordingly so and produces eumelanin. This in turn makes their skin darker and help protect them from UV damage but also protects from folic acid damage which can cause neural defects in children and also effects fertility, both of which can decimate a population.    
3. The Zulu live in a very hostile environment and one which has seen much turmoil and people killing indiscriminately. In order to adapt to this they have formed a very tight nite clan which is basically an extended family that can help protect the members. Having this clan set up also allows the members to divide task to make them simpler on everyone.  
4. Race: I'm not entirely sure what you want from this, they are south Africans so i guess they remind me of Africans

Andean Indian time
 1. This includes the indigenous people of the Andes mountains in South America. a fairly harsh climate which can range from tropical to Sub arctic tundras. the temperature can vary from freeze cold to rainforest humidity and temperature, although less people live in the southern regions. Due the high humidity which makes sweat evaporation impossible, which is our main way to thermoregulate we can easily over heat and suffer heat stroke and become dehydrated, humidity can also make simple infections horrendous such as something GIs are pretty fond of, trenchfoot. The bitter cold also makes for a hard time, we need just as much water in the cold as we do in the hot but we often neglect that. Frost bite and hypothermia are also pretty common in weather like that where weather turns on a dime.
2. There are plenty of neat adaptions including changes in hair follicles but the one i find interesting is RBC in a total CBC. The higher elevation wreaks havoc on your body, altitude sickness besides beating the worst hang over in your life could potentially kill. in order to combat this these people have developed a higher red blood cell count compared to someone of a lower elevation. This isn't a totally unique adaption  it's share with virtually all mountain people but its fairly intriguing how fast it can change. if the people were to return to a lower elevation their RBC would drop. This higher RBC helps their body deal with the lack of oxygen and helps their bodies adapt, along with blood cells that dilate which is the hunters reflex and anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors with wet hands can develop.
3. The andean's   cultural adaptation would most likely be the fact they will farm to survive. instead of either trading or foraging they choose crops that are important to their lifestyles, potatoes are a huge one and also come from this area. they do well in the colder climates and a big food staple. in the colder climates in can be all they survive one. the warmer climates have it much easier when it comes to farming and they often do slash and burn farming methods. 
4. The race they would remind me of would be  Sherpas because of their hard lifestyle and adaptations the cold and high altitude. 

Summary-    Well i think outward appearance doesn't count for much there are not real bounties on the people they describe. Ill always tend to side with adaptation to describe a population simply because it makes more sense to me. a population is a select group of people and and they can look different. My family is Lakota, part of the Sioux nation, which I'm a little disappointed it wasn't a choice for the project. By the outward looks most people would most likely classify me as a tan white boy.  

1. ;
2. Human Genetics two semesters ago

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

5 Words Describing the Nacirema, Assignment 1 Part A and B

The Nacerima people are disillusioned in some of their beliefs, though that is not to say that their beliefs are wrong.  I simply say disillusioned due to their yearly mouth ritual where they go to the holy-mouth-man.  He’ll take out the decaying bits of tooth and fill them with magic substances, and if no decay is found then he puts holes in healthy teeth.  This is all in the hope to stop decay from occurring, and yet it still occurs, and the people still believe that he helps them and their mouths.  If it weren’t for the drilling holes in healthy teeth, then perhaps I would simply say slightly misguided.
They do not partake in daily rituals with other people but rather spend time in the shrine on their own with no one around them.  They also only perform bodily functions such as excretions in that room with no one around to witness in any way, not that our culture is any more open on this front.  They also don’t share their body with people, and they are even very confined when it comes to intercourse, having to schedule times to perform the act and limiting it to certain times of the month so as to avoid pregnancy.
Many of their sacred rites involve hurting the body in some way.  Even the holy men inflict pain and do so with sadist qualities.  Each and every day the people of this culture perform daily body rituals.  For the men this “includes scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument.”    The author goes on to describe the less frequent women’s rituals as far more barbaric as they “bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour.”
The Nacirema go through daily rituals, as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly rituals because it is a part of their religion.  They believe whole heartedly that the magical concoctions will be able to help them with whatever ails them and that the medicine men will be able to make them better.  They are very intent on passing on their beliefs to their young ones and they go out of their way to mak,e sure that they can give it the reverence it deserves.  For example, the poor people try their hardest to make their shrines imitate those of the rich, something made of stone that is sturdy and able to withstand anything, even if their house is little more than a tiny hut.
The Nacirema people can be seen as being extremely hopeful, especially when looking at their practice of going to the temple for healing.  As the children put it the temple is where people go to die.  While there you are naked, which to them with their private culture this is a very vulnerable state to be in, lying on a bed in pain from the ablutions.  The ablutions can range from the rites from the holy-mouth-men to insertion of magic wands or needles.  “The fact that these temple ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men.”  No matter what they stay hopeful that they may be cured by the medicine-man.

Part B
1.  Well as an American I feel pretty bad to be honest. I was looking at this culture so harshly and basically laughed off their what I was viewing as silly rituals. It's pretty sad to look at but at the same time i can see the connections now, how we treat our bathrooms and our hospitals. I know it is totally hindsight bias but it's pretty clear now. Even living with my girlfriend we never spend our "rituals" together usually i go do my stuff privately before she does then we shoot off to work.

2.  Well a lot of my words were picked after my own  cultural bias, mentioning that they were disillusioned about how they put such blind faith was pretty much looking at myself how I would never put a "magical substance" into my healthy teeth. I was raised in a very open household so the privacy is not something I am to familiar  with so it was pretty foreign to see how we ourselves act. i suppose the only thing I said that was not bias would be devout because well they are and take so much pride in their bathroom shines.

3.  I suppose the only word that could become unbiased would be masochistic could be changed to committed.

4. Well obviously bias is bad in regards to any form of study. It  can easily corrupt what ever findings you have. If we can get past the bias we can actually look at the culture for what is it not what it is compared to us and begin to understand who we really are and who they really are as a people and what similarities and differences our cultures have rather that whats their culture lacks that our stunning example of a culture has.  An anthropologist is a professional at what they do so possibly they could remove some of their bias towards the culture and just open their mind to their research.