Life Of The Batek

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THE BATEK LIFE 1 The Batek of Malaysia By: Kris Kile ANT 101 Prof. Jeri Myers October 10th, 2011 The Batek of Malaysia The economy of the nomadic Batek is very complex, combining hunting, gathering, the collection and trade of forest products, and the occasional small-scale planting of crops. The Batek are foragers that are very forest oriented people as well as political. They live near the Lebir River in the state of Kelantan in Peninsular Malaysia (K. Endicott and K.L. Endicott 1987). The Batek people are hunter-gatherers hunting mostly monkeys and gibbons as well as fishers, and they gather mostly wild fruits, berries and honey. They also plant their own crops not only for food but for trade as well. Aside from fish and game, which they pursue alongside the extraction of all the other food sources, they tend to exploit the various available resources in the following order of priority: (1) wild fruit and honey; (2) purchased food (usually obtained by trading forest products); (3) wild tubers; and (4) self-grown crops. This order seems to correlate with the number of calories that can be obtained per hour of work, the most productive resources being exploited first (Endicott 1984). The Batek also buy food products by trading with other communities in their area. The Batek occasionally made small clearings and planted a few crops, using seeds and shoots obtained from the local Malay farmers. The Batek are conjugal families that see them as being divided into three river valley groups with each marriage being politically independent and live in camps from two to fifteen related family. Each couple is self-sufficient economically with the composition of camp changing daily as some families leave and new ones join, and the entire group will move to a new location about

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