Remember that the indigenous heritage, culture, or community has been referred to with the umbrella description indigenous identity. Also recall that, although indigenous identity may not fit the UN definitions of indigenous peoples, characteristics of your identity traditions, economic issues, ancestral lands, country of origin, religion, or class may parallel those of indigenous groups. By examining an indigenous identity as an ethnographic study, you have the opportunity to see with an indigenous point of view, connect across cultures, and build a better understanding of the global environment.
A descriptive reflection on the indigenous group you selected during the course. Please include any additional insights about the group’s history/origins, culture, beliefs that you found after Weeks 2 and 3.
A comparison of the similarities or differences that you found between the indigenous group and your own culture.
Traditions and cultures
The purpose of the following paper is to describe the ethnography of the Azande community in the North Central Africa. The countries or regions they live in are South Sudan and the Central Republic of Congo. The different issues within the culture and the religion of the Azande community would be discussed in this paper.
There are several issues that are very relevant within the discussion regarding the Azande communities of Africa. There are several myths that surround the Azande community. The comparisons will have to be made between the Azande culture and the traditional culture as well. The languages and dialects of the community will also have to be discussed in the paper as well. The issues within the indigenous group would be highlighted in the paper (Lerner, 2013).
There are several cultures and traditions that would be discussed in this paper for the benefit of the readers (Middleton & Winter, 2013). It has been observed that the principal religion followed by the Azande people is the traditional religion of Africa. However, the people of the community have adapted to the current form of worshipping. Some people have also converted to Christianity as well. Those people have much faith in the contemporary Christianity and Catholic faith in the community (Mead, 2017).
The Azande community has always believed in some of the specific cultures and beliefs in the community. The critics have argued that the same sex relationships were accepted in this community. This means the women of this community were permitted to have sex with other women to achieve the pleasure (Lerner, 2013). This activity was just believed to be a minor mistake within the boundaries of the community and the victims were not at all punished. Such an action would not be permitted in my culture as my culture is much conventional and most women were unable to stand firm at the times the European colonial people approached them (Siemens, 2012).
The standard age of marriage for the men was between 20 and 35. The elders and the village chiefs take up the responsibilities of ensuring the marriage by choosing the bridegroom and bride of an acceptable age (Douglas, 2013). The ritual of circumcision is observed within the community to make sure that the young boys are introduced to the elders of the community (Behar, 2014).
This kind of ritual is also not celebrated in my community since all the members of the community have close affinity with each other from a very early stage. The iron spears are believed to be the source of the bride wealth in the community. This is a myth and currently this myth is changing indeed among the people (Mead, 2017).
Perspectives of anthropology
The community has recognized that cash and other materials are the forms of bride price. Such kinds of myths existed in the popular cultures in the past but they have changed in the current times as well (Douglas, 2013). The striking similarity in my culture and the Azande culture lies in the fact all the members of the community generally come together in the family programs like the weddings and funerals.
In contrary to the Azande belief, my culture does not believe in the witchcraft (Siemens, 2012). The Azande people believed in witchcraft only until some special reactions were felt in their body and took time to be healed by the medicines. Some rituals are observed within the community depending on the witchcraft. There are different types of oracles for both the men and women within the society. The girls in the society would go on to know about their roles from their parents (Wheater, 2017).
In this context, I can opine that most of those contexts do not match with my culture since they have not properly seen the light of civilization as much as we have. This is the reason of the several differences between the indigenous Azande community and my culture (Wheater, 2017).
Through the discussion on the beliefs, religion, history/ origin and culture of the Azande community I can fairly say that the community is still some decades behind the contemporary society. However, I have also discovered that the folklores and culture of the indigenous Azande community is very rich in nature indeed (Raviv, 2014).
The folktales, legends and myths of the community have been collected by the anthropologists in several numbers (Behar, 2014). The most important and focused legend of the community is regarding the several activities of the trickster Ture. The language of the people from Azande community is mainly the some rural dialects of Arabic, French and English (Raviv, 2014). The nature of the Azande language is tonal.
Consequently, the identical words in the language possess different meanings. I have found that religion plays a very important role in the shaping of the community. They believe that death, misfortune and complicated life are some significant outcomes of mangu or witchcraft. The character of the trickster is indeed very common to the folklore of the Azande community (Laera, 2016).
In the book Thinking like an Anthropologist: A Practical Introduction to cultural anthropology, John Omohundro has discussed about the different role perspectives of anthropology (Omohundro, 2008). I have gone through all these role perspectives to address the issues properly. The role perspectives or the approaches that I would like to pick in this context are the humanistic nd scientific approaches.
I have found that the humanistic approach is much better than the scientific one since the indigenous people of the Azande community should be looked at with humanistic approach (Mead, 2017). The people of the community have been tortured for a long time now and they have been deprived of the several facilities that should be given to them. The ability to see after the people enables them to study the culture of the community properly and make the proper assumptions on how they should be treated (Omohundro, 2008).
It has been observed that the cultures of the several groups are so different from each other. This is why it has to be dealt with the diverse attitudes to the humanity. The humanistic approach has that ability to throw light on each of the cultures with the uniqueness it deserves (Omohundro, 2008).
The scientific approach of anthropology is quite harsh and machine like in nature and it is unable to analyze the uniqueness of the diverse cultures in the proper ways. The complexity of the cultures can be properly understood only when it has been analyzed from the humanistic point of view (Mead, 2017).
The rituals, worship practices, cultures and beliefs of the Azande community are so very different from that of the other cultures. This is why the scientific approach will be the less preferred approach than the humanistic one (Laera, 2016). The scientific approach has been used to depict the satisfaction of the curiosity of the individuals in a better manner.
As discussed in the above sections, the paper can be concluded by saying that the Azande community is much different from the current societies and the cultures. I have drawn the comparisons between my culture and the Azande culture to clarify the differences. The number of differences is much more than the similarities.
This is why it is extremely important to see the underpinnings of the Azande community with the humanistic approach of the two of five role perspectives as discussed by John Omohundro. Thus the different issues within the Azande culture can be properly analyzed.
Behar, R. (2014). The vulnerable observer: Anthropology that breaks your heart. Beacon Press.
Douglas, M. (2013). Witchcraft confessions and accusations. Routledge.
Laera, R. (2016). Epistemic Relativism: Inter-Contextuality in the Problem of the Criterion. Logos & Episteme, 7(2), 153-169.
Lerner, B. D. (2013). Rules, Magic and Instrumental Reason: A Critical Interpretation of Peter Winch's Philosophy of the Social Sciences. Routledge.
Mead, M. (2017). Continuities in cultural evolution. Routledge.
Middleton, J., & Winter, E. H. (2013). Witchcraft and sorcery in East Africa. Routledge.
Omohundro, J. T. (2008). Thinking like an anthropologist: A practical introduction to cultural anthropology. McGraw Hill.
Raviv, A. (2014). The healing performance: The medical clown as compared to African! Kung and Azande ritual healers. Dramatherapy, 36(1), 18-26.
Siemens, S. D. (2012). Azande Baby ‘Rites of Passage’: Personhood by Degrees. In 3rd Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association Childhood and Youth Interest Group, Las Vegas, Nevada. Google Scholar.
Wheater, K. (2017). Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande. Macat Library.
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