San Tribe Essay

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Critical Thinking – Kinship Organization of San Tribe The kinship organization of the San people is a multifamily grouping. They are made up of small mobile bands. These bands are “typically composed of a group of related nuclear families” or a few extend families. (Nowak & Laird, 2010, 3.7) They are a foraging society and all food is shared among each other. “San communities comprise up to about 25 men, women and children.” (Siyabona Africa, 2011, para 7) Everything they do in these small communities helps the survival of the entire family. Before explaining how these small communities survive, we must first talk about how they are laid out. Descent is “a cultural rule defining social categories through the parent-child connection.” (Nowak & Laird, 2010, 3.7) According to Nowak & Laird (2010), “descent is the passage of kinship though the parent-child links and the joining of the people into groups.” In the text they identify two patterns of descent: unilineal and bilateral. “Unilineal descents are relationships that follow through the mother or father”. (Nowak & Laird, 2010, 3.7) While bilateral descents are relationship passed through both mother and father. Most forager societies like the San, used the bilateral kinship just as we do in the United States. “Nearly 70% of all forager have a bilateral descent.” (Nowak & Laird, 2010, 3.7) Therefore, if resources become low in a community, the San will relocate with another band with a relative. Using this kinship system a San has the ability to find a relative in almost any band they visit. The San culture is to survive off the land. Based on the research done in Siyabona, Africa “the San are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20,000 years.” (Siyabona, 2011, pg 1) The San have survived because they are excellent hunters-gathers and are not
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