Gathering SocietiesThe Kung, Shoshone, and Mbuti Tribes: Hunting and Gathering Societies
As in many societies different groups of people are connected by similar
traits. People of hunting and gathering societies also share similar qualities.
Although the Kung, Shoshone, and Mbuti live in unique environments they still
share numerous common characteristics because of there life styles.
The Kung San and Shoshone make critical decisions in similar ways. The
people of the Shoshone and Kung are much like a modern community in that they
live together but for the most part live separate lives. They come together to
hunt, like we to work, but when the hunt is over they get paid, in the form of
meat, and go home to their families. If they should choose to any group may
leave the whole at anytime. The Mbuti choose to live as a whole. They act as
one family. All decisions are made by the community as a whole. If the group
cannot reach consensus on a problem then the group may split for that time but
will rejoin once the projects are completed. Unlike the Kung and Shoshone the
Mbuti stay together, for the most part, throughout the year and do not diffuse
when supplies become more plentiful.
The two most important things a person needs is food and water. Many
different foods are consumed by the Mbuti. There diet consists of meats, fruits,
berries, roots, fungus and insects. The Mbuti’s food supply is always plentiful,
this is due to the habitat they live in and the small number of people living
off of any given area. The Shoshone on the other hand live more like a
scavengers because of their environment. Meat is rare, they tend to live off
the plant life in the forest. A large portion of the Shoshone’s diet is plant
life. The Kung have a fairly balanced diet of plants and animals but water is a
limited resource. For the Kung the reason for moving is to stay where the water
is. In the dry season the Kung will all live in close quarters near the
permanent water holes. But as the rainy season comes they will be able to
spread throughout the region.
Foraging societies share three major traits. All of these societies share
the work that must be done in the camp. They all live in camps, meaning they
never stay in an area for an extended amount of time. The Kung come back to the
same places but they don’t stay there for very long periods of time. Finally,
the people of these groups do not echo technologically driven societies, rather
they depend upon the land and it’s many attributes.
Although these societies have many differences they are connected by a
common trait. They are able to live off of themselves and the land. They do
not need to trade with anyone for what they need. Foraging societies are the
only people alive that are truly independent.