Human Culture has rapidly changed over the centuries. This change occurred primarily through the mixing of different cultures over time . As new ideas and ways of improving life are adopted into the lifestyles of different people groups. In early civilizations agriculture was based on groups working together to locate and distribute food based on the natural skill sets of members of the groups. Some being natural organizers, others hunters, others leaders and some builders. As people begin to travel by foot, land, sea they came into contact with other cultures and learned from them. Developing the language, tools, agricultural processes to take better care of their own people groups and even taking advantage of weaker cultures by enslaving them for advantage. The small groups of hunters and gatherers from ancient civilizations became educated over time as they were introduced to new ways of life. They learned to trade for the foods, supplies, clothing and precious resources such as gunpowder in order to increase the areas of land they possessed. Some became skillful in war and others in developing a system of government, education, and medicinal advantages that made them highly effective in conquering and spreading their geographical control over other people groups.
The process of diffusion is explained as the ability to adopt and adapt resources of different cultures that allow for more effective or efficient production. For example once gunpowder was discovered, the use of other weapons such as bows and arrows, swords, and spears became less effective. Therefore many cultures begin to trade and acquire guns, canons, and even develop bombs in order to become more effective in hunting and times of war. As European settlers and explorers traveled across the oceans, they brought with them certain skills and resources that the Native Americans adopted such as the use of guns and rifles.
The culture of Native Americans became different as a result of European settlers coming to America. Once the Native Americans were able to live free on the lands, traveling from one area to another with their entire tribe as the seasons changed or due to the availability of resources. With others wanting to move in and settle on the land, wars between Native Americans and incoming foreigners brought much blood shed. Resulting in the eventual forcing of the more dominant culture to relocate the Native Americans to the west of the Americas on certain areas of land.
Diffusion or 'borrowing from other cultures' due to incoming settlers from foreign lands or colonialism. It is an external process as described above affecting the lives of other groups by enhancing the effective or efficient use of resources. However diffusion become acculturation when it becomes internalized and accepted by other cultures and people groups. For example when stronger cultures become dominant over others and demand that their customs and traditions be accepted by the weaker cultures. This happened in times of the Roman Empire, and Nazi political dominance in Germany, for example. Through imperialism or large organized cultures with a military coming in and forcing weaker or peaceable cultures to submit their resources and services. This is done for the furtherance and development of a nation or political empire's power, In modern times this acculturation has spread through the Industrial Revolution that changed the way clothing, food, and precious metals are developed and used. Also evident in the new modes of transportation, communication, advances of science and medicine, and technologies. Examples of these include the discovery of air travel, telephone, telegraph, electricity, harnessing natural gas, building with steel, discovery of penicillin and other drugs, and use of the Internet to name a few.
2. Trobriand Islanders
A. Location and History
The Trobriand Islands are located east of New Guinea and consists of four major islands. The largest island is Kiriwina where the government of the Trobriand resides. Others in cule Vakuta, Kitava, and Kaileuna. There are approximately 10,000 Trobriand, living on in the Tropical Rain Forests. The closest highly populated area is Papua New Guinea. The island was discovered by the French in 1793 and the island is named for one of the ship's crew Denis de Trobriand. Later a Catholic missionary team visited the Islands in the 1930s. The Sacred Heart Catholic Mission were among the earliest foreign settlers to establish a school there and after that point the name Trobriand become the official title of the Islands.
The peoples survive through cultural settlements with horticulture being the main source of trade and daily sustenance. The people live in clans which are primarily matrilineal or controlled by the mother's ancestry (Lockwood, 2004). The men and women marry become sexually active in their early teams and both sexes are encouraged to have many partners (Lockwood, 2004). If a male and female decide to marry, they will spend more time with a single partner. Meals are eaten alone among Trobriand Islanders. If a male and female eat a meal together this is considered the marriage ceremony. The form of trade is shells or kula in exchange for goods from outside sources. Travel to other cultures for trade is done on a seasonal basis by canoe. There is no war among the different clans and major disputes are resolved through playing sports namely cricket. Cricket is played with a bat and ball and the Trobriand Islanders have added their cultural traditions by adding dances and chants or songs to the sport (Lockwood, 2004).
B. The importance and Role of Yams
Yams are considered an indicator of wealth and the main food staple on the Islands. Many rituals on the Islands accompany the growth, harvesting and exchange of Yams. The men grow the yams for the women in the family, namely his sister and married daughter. However he does not grow them for his own wife. Therefore the women obtain wealth by the number of yams they obtain annually. Because the husband receives yams for his own wife from her father or brother, the husband gives gifts to them. During marriage only the father gives the yams for his daughter. The brother does not participate until the couple is thought to be of the right age of maturity to receive the additional yams from the brother.
C. The Kula
The Kula shells are another form of currency often used in trade with tourists or external cultures. There is a Kula exchange for trade among the various Islands that occurs as a tradition showing hospitality and generosity. The Kula items a necklace or ring are given to other Islanders to symbolize friendship, partnership, and social status. The event allows different people groups among the Trobriand to interact socially with one another.
Cricket became the replacement for tribal in-fighting and was introduced by a Missionary from Britain in 1903 named Gilmore. The game is considered a form of syncretism as it is an adaptation of an external element introduced by the Missionary combined with the traditions of the Trobriands. The Kayasa or competition is a tradition that allows different clans to compete in a peaceable manner showing their skill, prowess, or showmanship as which highlight their clan's distinct strengths and talents. The ball is blessed by the spiritual leader and placed into play. The ball is thrown underhanded and a mascot lead the entrance and exit dance. There is a feast given by the home team after the event. There are up to 50 players participating (Malinowski, 1921). With the home team always winning the event. There are many dances and chants done to assure good weather and to accompany the game. The dances are designed to show the skill, sexual vitality, or to mock the opposing team.
E. Retaining Trobriand Culture in the Modern World
The history and traditions among Trobriand Islanders is preserved through the continuance of their customs. Different rituals are handed down from one generation to the next. The spiritual magic spells are one such ritual. Those possessing many spells can buy, sell or trade spells for favors or other items (Malinowski, 1921). Tourists are encouraged to visit only and settlements of outsiders are not welcomed. All tourism and outside visitation is controlled by the Trobriand Society. Mostly consisting of Anthropologists and social researchers.
Diffusion of the cricket in the society came about from taking the suggestion of an outside Missionary to resolve conflicts among the clans. However acculturation came about with adaptations of the game, adding rules of play, dancing, chants, and traditional customs of meals presented by the home team to all participants. Globalization with the cricket events are represented by the fact that the game is played by many nations and peoples and was adapted for international play since the 1800s.
Anthropological Association has put in place ethical polices that prohibit anthropologists from working with government to give information about their research. The Principles of Professional Responsibility was established in 1971 and are guidelines for anthropologists working in the field. Therefore the anthropologists should contact the…