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Ju/Wasi

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Submitted By turrigianoa1
Words 1860
Pages 8
Ariel Turrigiano
September 24, 2013
Cultural Anthropology
Dr. McCaffrey
Assignment 1

Improving the Life of the Ju/wasi

The Ju/wasi people were naturally a group of hunters and gathers, having been so for many years. They rarely, if ever, dealt with sickness; they did not have problems finding food nor were they ever on the brink of starvation. The particular diet of the Ju/wasi people was varied with different plants and meats offering a diverse and nutritious diet to all, their roaming lands were filled with food for them to eat. However, many years have passed since the Ju/wasi have been able to hunt and gather as they please and the changes pressed upon them by the government has destroyed their way of life. In order for the task force to insure the continuation of the Ju/wasi people changes must take place. The most important change that should be done above all else is to allow the Ju/wasi people to once again become hunters and gatherers. It is painfully obvious that the government forcing them to remain in one area with a limited amount of land, and therefore a limited amount of resources, has not worked in favor of the Ju/wasi people. While it has been a convenience to the government, the Ju/wasi people have suffered. This forced settlement has ruined the Ju/wasi people and has caused great tension amongst those who used to live in harmony with one another. The health of the Ju/wasi has become a major issue. Over the years the population density of the Ju/wasi people has increased. Due to restriction of land and water the Ju/wasi had to shift from a lifestyle of foraging to reservation life. This caused an increase in birth rates for the Ju/wasi people. Typically a woman who belonged to a group of hunters and gatherers only had one child every four to five years. As one who is part of a nomadic group women would have to carry their child around with them up until the point in which the child could keep up with the adults themselves. By having more than one child at a time, the mother would become burdened and have a harder time hunting and gathering for her family while still watching and carrying young children who could do nothing to contribute. Only when the first child was old enough to move along with the group did these women see it fit to have another child. Once the Ju/wasi became stationary dietary and child rearing changes had taken place, allowing the women to have more than one child in a five or more year time period. This increased the birthrate considerably, but it did not increase their population. The increased growth rate had been offset by a higher death rate.
According to Nay, a female member of the Ju/wasi, this had not been an issue before “the white people came.” She stated that when they moved they “had left sickness behind them.” Now many people of the Ju/wasi have been affected by tuberculosis. This in a common occurrence in largely populated areas where sanitation and hygiene are not as large of a concern as it is to others. When hunters and gatherers had remained in smaller groups and traveled they rarely interacted with other migratory groups, therefore not exposing themselves to disease. Jared Diamond, a popular American scientist and author, has stated that “Epidemics could not take hold when populations were scattered in small bands and constantly shifted camps.” Although disease is not the only cause of the higher death rates of the Ju/wasi people.
The drastic change in diet from that of hunters and gathers to that of a sedentary village caused the Ju/wasi people to lose a great amount of nutrition that they would have otherwise gained through gathering and hunting. Instead of their originally diverse diet, the Ju/wasi diet now mainly consists of mealie meal, a less than nutritious coarse, flour-like substance. Men began to no longer to hunt as they once did and the women no longer gathered food. However, this is not only their fault, but because of remaining sedentary in only a small area with an increased population density the natural diet of wild plant life and animals can be quickly depleted and would not be able to replenish itself in a quick enough manner. The hunting and gathering bands would have moved on to other areas in order to find food, but the Ju/wasi no longer have this option.
In order to help the Ju/wasi the task force must allow for the Ju/wasi to wonder and travel as they once did. By allowing them to do so they would not only be able to avoid disease and gain back their nutritious diet, which was always in surplus, but it would also increase the population by decreasing the death rate.
Before this idea of allowing the Ju/wasi to gather and hut as they once did, the task force will need to deal with the current illnesses plaguing them. The best way to do this is to first vaccinate the Ju/wasi people against the diseases that plague them and help them build immunity to the diseases. While vaccines are not always one hundred percent affective for all who receive them, it would decrease the amount of disease amongst the Ju/wasi people. They will still get sick on occasion, as we all do, which is why it is best for the task force to educate them on small ways of hygiene. Although hunters and gatherers are not the most sanitary, small changes to their hygiene would decrease the rate of disease.
For those who still become sick the task force should set up small medical clinics around the area that the Ju/wasi populates. The vast amount of land that the Ju/wasi travel through would require many of these clinics, at least on every thirty square miles to begin with; even then the number of clinics would have to be increased. It would be best to place them in such a way that the more popular lands of the Ju/wasi contained more clinics. Besides providing medical care the clinics should supply the Ju/wasi with simply medicines such as fever suppressants and anti-inflammatory drugs, bandages, and anti-bacteria creams for wounds. By teaching them how to use the medicine and simply ways to help cure more common diseases and injuries- colds, fevers, sprains, burns, etc. - the rate of disease would also decrease while still allowing the Ju/wasi to be partially self-sufficient of the government instead of fully as they are now.
Next the task force should distribute livestock to the Ju/wasi people. By teaching the Ju/wasi how to raise livestock they are once again gaining back some of their independence. While the cattle would be provided by the government, the Ju/wasi would still be the ones caring for it and using its products to feed themselves and their families, creating a more nutritious diet than their current one, mealie meal. In order for the Ju/wasi to properly raise their cattle they must also be allowed to once again become nomads. Their current living environment is an arid land which is unfit to raise livestock. Moving from area to area will help to ensure that the cattle will always have food to eat without worry of it running out.
Allowing the Ju/wasi to go back to their old ways would also remove the social hierarchy that is currently gripping them, relieving the tension between band members. Before settling down permanently, hunters and gathers had few possessions, the items they cared with them from place to place being on the essentials. Living together in larger populations and relying on the government for nearly everything has made it so the Ju/wasi now need money in order to survive. Many of the Ju/wasi feel envy towards their fellow band members for their material goods, causing a rift between community members. Meat and plants are shared between members, but money was is not. Money is easily stored and hidden from others. N!ai, who made money by posing for pictures and being interviewed, bought many material things with her money and flaunted it in front of her fellow community members. Many of her people resented her for it and treated her poorly because of it, accusing her with sleeping with men for money. By travelling from place to place the Ju/wasi would have little need for money as they would have to carry all that they owned. Carrying large amounts of material possessions would just become a burden to them.
The tension between the Ju/wasi is very strong. People of the community are angry at one another; neighbors envy others for the material possessions they have and flaunt. Before the time of settlement the Ju/wasi went out of their way to try and not appear better than others. When they hunted and gathered food it did not matter who got what and no praise was given; food was for everyone and no one would take credit for gathering it. According to N!ai “even if you did not hunt you still got to eat”. Anthropologist Richard Lee learned this the hard way when he brought an ox to the Ju/wasi as a gift. Instead of thanking him they “ridiculed it, calling it thin and unappetizing”. This was the Ju/wasi way of telling him that he was no more important than anyone else, even if he did bring them a gift.
To alleviate the tension caused by boastful attitudes the task force should bring the people together, and continue to do so a few times a year, to participate in trance dances. These dances serve as a way for the Ju/wasi to converse about social conflicts and how to resolve them. Having the Ju/wasi participate in these dances will hopefully help them to relieve their current social conflicts and return back to their non-boastful and non-materialistic ways.
Forcing the Ju/wasi to go against the life they have lived for thousands of years is not helping them but instead destroying their culture. While government officials may wish to show them “civilization”, it should be noted that the Ju/wasi lost their traditional values and have succumb to malnutrition, disease, and death due to trying to help them become civilized. It is understandable that the government, which in this case is the majority, wished to help the Ju/wasi. But the Ju/wasi were not able to adapt to that way of life, nor should they have to. They made an attempt and it has caused so many problems for them that it may take decades to repair. It is obvious that allowing the Ju/wasi to return to their original way of life would be the best course of action., with a few minor adjustments to help speed up the process.

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