Happy new month to you all, for the next couple of days we will be looking at this wonderful article culled from listverse.com
Tribal people throughout the world are defending themselves against the incursion of a modern society that scorns their rights and their unique ways of living. Here are 10 fascinating indigenous cultures that are on the verge of extinction.
The primitive Korowai
The primitive Korowai have a long tradition of cannibalism, but it’s their tree houses in southeastern Papua, Indonesia that make them fascinating. A family of up to eight people will live in a wooden house with a sago-leaf ceiling that’s built 6–12 meters (20–40 ft) above the ground on a single tree. Sometimes, a house rests on several trees with wooden poles adding support.
The Korowai live in the trees to avoid imagined attacks after dark by walking corpses and male witches on the ground. Each house physically lasts about a year. But they’re so critical to each person’s identity that time is defined by the houses that a person has lived in. For example, a unit of time may be described by the number of houses that fell apart during it. An event such as a birth, death, marriage, or killing happened at the time of a specific house. An era consists of a series of events that occurred when a series of houses were inhabited.
The Korowai usually die before middle age because they lack any kind of medicine. There are about 3,000 tribe members left. Wearing only banana leaves, these hunter-gatherers eat bananas, sago, deer, and wild boar.
Until the 1970s, when anthropologists came to study them, most Korowai didn’t know that outsiders existed. But in recent decades, the younger Korowai have drifted away to settlements built by Dutch missionaries. Soon, only old tribe members will remain in the trees. Their culture is expected to disappear within the next generation.
For hundreds of years, the Samburu roamed semi-arid northern Kenya in search of water and grass for the livestock that are their sole source of food. The Samburu are now threatened by intense droughts, and they face an ever greater threat from the Kenyan authorities. The police rape the Samburu, beat them, and burn their houses down.
The recent harassment began after two American wildlife charities bought Samburu land and gave it to Kenya to create a national park. The charities believed that they were purchasing land from a private owner, possibly former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi. Thousands of Samburu families were forced to relocate or live like squatters on the edge of their disputed land. The Samburu are now challenging their violent eviction in court.
But life for young Samburu girls is brutal within their tribe, too. A systematic rape ritual called “beading” is supposed to prevent promiscuity in girls, some as young as six years old. A close male acquaintance, often a relative, who wants an early promise of marriage will contact the child’s parents and put a necklace of red beads on the girl. “Effectively, he has booked her,” says Josephine Kulea, a Samburu woman. “It’s like a [temporary] engagement, and he can then have sex with her. ”
The girls are forbidden from getting pregnant, but no contraceptives are used, so many become pregnant despite the taboo. The infants who don’t die naturally are killed or given away. If a girl keeps her baby, she won’t be permitted to marry when she’s an adult.
The Bushmen, also called the Khoi or San, are the nomads of Africa. In the last few decades, many have become farmers due to the dangers that our modern life poses to their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but their territory once stretched from the Cape to Kenya. The Bushmen are experts at finding water, and their advice is often sought out due to their precognitive dreams and divining capabilities.
According to their beliefs, the supreme god Kaang created the world but sent death and destruction after experiencing too much disobedience and antagonism. Even though he lives in the sky, his invisible spirit still resides in all living things. In one story Kaang’s wife gave birth to an eland (African antelope). The god nurtured the calf but it was mistakenly killed by his two sons. Kaang demanded that the eland’s blood be boiled. The subsequent fatty residue was scattered across the landscape, in turn becoming other antelope and animals. In this manner, Kaang provided the meat that his people hunt, kill, and eat to this day.
Hidden in the harsh terrain of the Nepalese Himalayas is the former Tibetan kingdom of Mustang, also known as Lo. To enter its capital, Lo Manthang, is to step back in time to a 14th-century walled city steeped in a purely Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Mustang was closed to most foreigners until 1992 and was only accessible by foot or on horseback until recently. We’re now learning about its history from ancient texts, painted murals, and other religious artifacts discovered in Mustang caves built into steep cliffs.
Before their territory was invaded, the nomadic Awa tribe had lived in harmony with the Amazon rain forest in Brazil for centuries. They were hunter-gatherers who made pets of orphaned animals. They shared mangoes with parakeets and their hammocks with coatis, which are similar to raccoons. The women sometimes breastfed monkeys and even small pigs