The Forest People
Turnbull lived among the Mbuti people as a participant observer. He noticed many different facets of the Mbuti people, especially with the unique insights that characterized their lives. The low- technology lifestyle of the Mbuti people was outstanding. They were hunters and gatherers, depending on their nomadic capabilities to acquire their food sources and thrive near the forest. The economy relied solely, but not entirely, on the hunting and gathering. For example, their tools and weapons for hunting were made from the locally available materials, especially within the confines of the community an abundance of hardened surfaces for sharpening them with stones and thickets. There was no sophistication in their everyday life as evidenced by the need to carry out simple barter trade for commodities they did not have (Turnbull 38). The Mbuti people acquired the necessities at their time of need while providing the trade partners with efficient sources, directly from their availabilities. Communication was only delivered by the traditional signals as well as messenger deliveries. Transfer of information also followed the same channel while engagement with other communities was through integration and interaction through forms like intermarriage.
The Mbuti were renowned for their reverence of nature as they envisioned their life through their eyes of the forest. The same forest was described as the sole source of their livelihood and survival. They did not extract anything from the forest as they determined different sources like the providence of wild game. Hey had a systematic approach to dealing with their predator attacks and limiting the encroachment by the neighbors on the forest. They could not live away or move farther from it without ensuring its protection. The environment of the rainforest was hostile if the Mbuti people had not ensured its safety, especially from rival camps. By trying to cut down on the forest cover, the Mbuti people determined that the village people were not in respect to the forest as they deemed it as damage. The above change my perception of the environment, as it is almost a sacred mission to protect it. It ensures that the survival of human forms is in the ecological footprint of the different biodiversity availabilities through nature. Therefore, it is man’s duty to protect it to ensure survival and continuity.
Rituals among the Mbuti people were
important in determining their livelihoods and all the available aspects of their humanity. Rituals determined a way of
communication towards their appreciation of life, the presence of a
supernatural creator, their unity, and bond as one people, their prayers on the
survival and continuity as well as expression of their hopes and desires
(Turnbull 73). For example, rituals of the different initiations and
appreciation of the women’s fertility showed their health as a community in
understanding their priorities towards generational protection. In addition, their strength in nature was also
depicted by the rituals performed in the
forest to make it happy and appease its
powers throughout their stay. The fire ceremony was important in ensuring that
the Mbuti people reconnected with the forest.
It was a ritual performed and could last several days or months, depending on
the level of satisfaction the forest drew from the praise and appeasement
delivered. By lighting the fires around it and its response towards the people
by different noises, the fire ceremony marked the establishment of the Mbuti people
within the natural space.
Turnbull, Colin M. The Forest People. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012. Print.