Past And Present Life Essay

1285 words - 5 pages

In The Other Side of Eden, Hugh Brody details the lives of an Inuit village in the Arctic. This group has several things that distinguish them from others. One of the interesting things about this group is that children can be named for their late grandparents. The example in the selections shows a baby girl who was named for her late grandmother. Since she was named for her grandmother, the child is considered to have her spirit, and thus she is treated both as a child, and with the respect given to an elder. Her mother refers to her as both “mother” and “daughter”, while her grandfather refers to her as “wife” (Brody 11-13). This means that as the child grows and becomes part of the future of the village, she knows that she is respected, that she has connections in the group, and that being treated as both a child and an adult allows her to become an individual who makes her own decisions. Another thing that distinguishes the village is their hunting methods. They believe that animals can be killed only if “they are shown respect in both life and death” (113). This will allow them to kill animals later, because they believe the animals will allow themselves to be killed if they are respected. They are involved in maintaining the balance in their world though farming and hunting in order to ensure that they can continue their way of life in the future. Also, every member of the village has equal opportunities to hunt and gather, which means that everyone has an equal opportunity to obtain food. Pride is shown in hunting accomplishments by giving excess to others. Everyone is taken care of in the village, which allows the village to survive longer. Finally, the Inuit villagers have an “intense love” for children, although they are not above infanticide if they determine that a newborn child is one too many for the village’s survival and food supply.
The Zapotec farmers in the selections from Zapotec Science, by Roberto González, have managed to continuously cultivate crops like maize, beans, and squash for over 5,000 years. Their methods have changed over the years, which has resulted in a surplus and their ability to support various civilizations over the years (González 1). They are able to adapt their farming to local environments, and they pass their knowledge down to future generations. Since their farming is steeped in tradition, and it has allowed the Zapotec to survive for so long, it stands to reason that if they maintain many of these traditions, they will likely continue to survive. The Zapotec farm several different drops for export, like coffee, but they consider maize to be a staple crop that ties together their civilization (103). Maize is used as a way of connecting with neighbors, family, and their religions. Maize brings the group together and provides roots, thus providing the Zapotec with a culture and way of life they will continue to try and maintain. González mentions that maize farming has remained...

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