History of the Batek of Malaysia Culture Research Paper

  • Length: 7 pages
  • Sources: 3
  • Subject: Family and Marriage
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #4533500

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Mbuti tribe will Analyze and evaluate the impact that the primary mode of subsistence of the Mbuti tribe culture and thus will describe the following aspects of their culture as well. This paper will delve into things such as their beliefs system and their values; their kinship with each other and their neighbors as well.

The tribe which will be discussed in this paper lives in a small rain forest in Africa, known as the Mbuti tribe. This tribe is mostly horticulturalists, thus meaning that they must forage for food to feed their whole village. Their traditions have not been altered ever since their origin, with the exception of a few small customs changes til the early 60's after the demands for fiscal association caused the tribe to contend and remain on the same level as other tribes were doing at this point.

To begin usually primarily, ethnography writings are based in part as an emic view of collected data on a society's tradition's, beliefs, values, and their kinship structure. Furthermore, in the studies of cultural anthropology, it is a known fact that every civilization consist of an organized system which is the platform for their mode of subsistence. Throughout history anthropologist have done much research both ethnographically and ethnologically to enlighten people about the surrounding societies and their cultures.

The Mbuti tribe culture kinship:

The Mbuti tribe is similar to different cultures and thus they have definite kinship that the tribe practices. The Mbuti tend to follow a patrilineal descent system, and their residences after marriage are patrilocal. However, the system is rather loose. The only type of group seen amongst the Mbuti is the nuclear family. Kinship also provides allies for each group of people (Absolute Astronomy 2011). One of the tribes main viewpoints are the forest is the center of their existence, the source of all that is good in their lives (UCC). This is mainly because the tribes depend on the forest for so much, which will be delved into further along.

The Mbuti pursues a patrilineal descent system, this thus means that in a patrilineal descent system, an individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as his or her father (Word IQ). The Mbuti tribe is considers all people in their community to be family; everyone in the tribe has a job to do as well.

One more thing that would be considered odd or not normal by today's standards in our society anyway, the tribe considers everyone family and thus all the kids call all women in the tribe mother. Tending to the children is shared amongst women and children lasts long after a child is in their toddler years (Everyculture).

The family life in the Mbuti is one of uniqueness in that often women trade and even adopt other offspring from the tribe, but it doesn't stop there. The Mbuti family system is nuclear and the way that they get there is through an exchange system, but often times the man offers a female from his family to a male of his wife's family during the exchange process (Everyculture).

Sister exchange is the common form of marriage. Based on reciprocal exchange, men from other bands exchange sisters or other females to which they have ties. In Mbuti society, bride wealth is not customary. There is no formal marriage ceremony: couples are considered officially married when the groom presents his bride's parents with an antelope he alone has hunted and killed (Citizendia 2009).

Divorce also plays a role in the family and kinship process within the Mbuti people, in which divorce is accepted and often happens were drama tends to be a problem. It is as easy as the woman packs her belongings as well as the children and returns to her family's tribe. The children tend to stay with the mothers and when the boys are old enough to hunt they return to live with their father. Another interesting fact about the Mbuti is that marriage is monogamous; this is because the numbers of men far exceed the number of women and thus they reproduce with the different females within the tribe.

This explains the reason why they share in the children's raising and the exchange between them (Everyculture). The drama that is involved with the people is due to a lack of women to men ratio, because of these disputes and problems do happen. Reciprocal matrimony exchanges are intricate to accomplish mostly for the reason that families frequently there are not even numbers of both females and males in such tribes. Men harass, capture, and come into armed conflict with each other over "sister exchange" (Everyculture). This conflict amongst the tribes is the largest and thus causes the most strife yet they are still considered a strong clan and remain to have strong kinship tides.

The Mbuti are an egalitarian society in which the band is the highest form of social organization. Leadership may be displayed for example on hunting treks. Men and women basically have equal power. Issues are discussed and decisions are made by consensus at fire camps; men and women engage in the conversations equivalently. If there is a disagreement, misdemeanor, or offense, then the offender may be banished, beaten or scorned (Absolute Astronomy 2011).

This is strange to think that there is such equality within small tribes as the Mbuti, usually there is a chief or some kind of hierarchy to be the over ruling decision maker for the people, but this is not the case. This has worked for these people though and continues to do so even with changes.

The Mbuti tribe culture beliefs and values:

The Mbuti tribes have their religious beliefs like all other people and the Mbuti are no different. The majority of the Mbuti tribe's livelihood is surrounded by the forest because they depend on the forest for so much of their daily things, such as food from the plants and animals, shelter from the wood on the trees, and clothing from the animals as well. The tribe thinks that the forest is their great protector and provider and believes that it is a revered place. The tribe often calls the forest mother and father because of how the forest takes care of the tribe throughout the year. The Mbuti believe in are as follows; "The Mbuti believes the wealth and goodness of the forest comes from Muungu, a high deity, the greatest of forest gods, who fills all their needs. Tropical forest foragers believe in totemic spirits (sitana) animals whose spirits and characteristics represent the group's unity. They also believe in a water animal, called nyama ya mai in Swahili, who is responsible for any serious water accidents (Everyculture).

The Mbuti depend on the forest for everything in their lives, not only religious beliefs they depend on what the forest provides for housing and food. The history of the people has relied on the forest since their inception and it is no wonder they believe what they do. "The Mbuti are primarily hunter-gatherers, foraging for food in the forest. The Mbuti have a vast knowledge about the forest and the foods it yields. Crabs, shellfish, ants, larvae, snails, pigs, antelopes (such as the blue duiker), monkeys, fishes, honey, wild yams, berries, fruits, roots, leaves, and cola nuts are some of the assortment of food that the Mbuti collect.

The Mbuti are simple people with little need of nothing more than the forest can provide, and life is as equal among the children onto adulthood amongst men and women, boys and girls. "Tropical forest foragers place great importance on respect for each other, and children learn this early. In principle, children of the same age group remain on equal footing throughout their lives and call each other apua'i. Their games teach them to be social and interdependent in solving problems.

Evening campfires offer adults daily opportunities to discuss and resolve disputes. Anyone who speaks from the center of the camp must be listened to. Members of a band gang up on wayward members to enforce rules and maintain harmony in the group. Individuals and families visit the camps of other tropical forest foragers for months at a time to socialize with family members and to look for marriage partners. These visits break up the monotony of daily life.

Relations between the Mbuti and villagers are also very important. Researchers disagree on whether this relationship is essentially dependent, independent, or interdependent. The first view sees tropical forest foragers as slaves of the villager overlords. The second sees them as fully independent if they so choose because the forest supplies them with everything they need; contact with villagers offers an agreeable change of pace but is voluntary and temporary. The third view finds a mutual interdependence between forest dwellers and villagers, with neither side holding an advantage; each has something the other wants and needs. As was mentioned earlier is life is simple and the Mbuti use their goods…

Cite This Research Paper:

"History Of The Batek Of Malaysia Culture" (2012, December 10) Retrieved January 20, 2017, from

"History Of The Batek Of Malaysia Culture" 10 December 2012. Web.20 January. 2017. <

"History Of The Batek Of Malaysia Culture", 10 December 2012, Accessed.20 January. 2017,