This is a story of Richard Lee, an anthropologist, practicing ethnography on the !Kung Bushmens culture. I found it really cool that this African tribe would celebrate their own version of Christmas in December.I also found it fascinating that in order to study the hunting and gathering methods of the !Kung, Richard Lee would not provide them with any food or assistance even though the Bushmen “rarley had a days supply of food on hand.” Although this approach gave him the most accurate data the Bushmen looked at him as a white “miser.” In order to repay them for teaching him about their culture for the past year, he decides to buy a nice ox for the Christmas feast in December. He buys the biggest most beautiful ox he van find in order to feed the entire tribe. However soon after buying it many people of the tribe start complaining to him, “That sack of guts and bones will barley feed once camp, let alone all the bushmen!” Richard thought it was the most beautiful ox there but yet none of the bushmen appreciated it and all they did was complain. However Soon Richard learned that it was a custom of the !Kung that no matter what a person did they would put him down in order to keep his arrogance in check. This practice teaches humility. No matter what a bushman does all the other people would put him down, as to not fuel his ego. Richard learned that it was his power in the community that led to them fooling him about his big ox. He was the only source of tobacco for hundreds of miles so that put him on a pedestal. in order to put him in his place the bushman made him feel bad by telling he was ruining their Christmas festival with the “bag of bones” he bought even though it was a beautiful animal. its a beautiful practice that i believe we should pick up in the States. Don’t be so quick to praise people because soon they will look down onto everyone. its important to keep everyone’s humility in check to have a well balanced community.
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