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Nuer

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by

Melissa Jones

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of Nuer

Nuer Tribe Dominique Bartz,
Andrew Kearns,
& Melissa Jones Identity Theology Politics Marriage Social Structure Kinship Language Location Environment Locale Primarily located in
southern Sudan along
both sides of the Nile
in open savannahs and
swaps (season dependent) Dependent on season
Alternating floods and drought make it impossible to live in one location year-round
They have two seasons -- flooding and dry (Jun-->December and vice versa.)
Changes from flooding to dry are sudden and often cataclysmic
"Think that they live in the finest country in the world."
Live in villages on high ground during floods to protect from waters and mosquitoes
Hut and cattle barn (wooden)
Grassy material/dung shelters by rivers during dry Originated with Nilotic branch of Nilo-Sharan language group Based on patrilineal lineage
Clans based on groups of lineage
special treatment within specific areas
Headmen
Appointed subchiefs and serve under an executive chief patriarchal but related equally to both mother and fathers side
most important aspect of social organization
determine relations through clan names
enforces marriage and sexual prohibitions (no incest) Bride-wealth: payment in cattle
the bride’s father and her senior uncle who is responsible for the negotiations on the mother’s side
uncles claims are less negotiable
Betrothal Ceremony:
rainy season
marriage is agreed upon by both side No centralized political leadership
Kin-based society (segmentary lineage organization)
~20 patriarchal clans
Then further divided into maximal, major, minor, and minimal lineage groups
Most of daily life is centralized around minimal groups
Further groups are mostly used for reinforcements for disputes
Leopard-Skin Chief
Institution for mediation
Usually removed lineage (not direct descendant of resident village's bloodline
Wears leopard skin draped over
shoulders to symbolize position Cattle are most cherished possessions
important for food as well as for rituals
circulation of cattle between the members of a lineage dictates kin relations
economy is based on a combination of cattle herding, horticulture, and fishing
satisfy immediate dietary needs rather than to accumulate wealth
Nuer people produce several different functional items
Trade: livestock and industrial items for other goods Diet Gender The Doctrine Cosmology Economy Primary Anthropologists Customs Life and Death Social Interactions History Main Custom: Scars made to to make him be known to the people that he is a Nuer by tribe The first scar mark: should not bother yourself with the small children. You must know that you have reached the age of manhood.

The second scar mark: must not be afraid of anybody. You must know that you are an adolescent and not dependent on your parents.

The third scar mark: should not steal or make any mistake, and you must avoid scandalous things. You must participate in the defense of the public and you must handle the family or deal well with the household.

The fourth scar mark: should not just eat in any place and you must be an honorable young man.

The fifth scar mark: should not be greedy or gluttonous or covetous

The sixth scar mark: should not make or commit adultery with the wife of another man or with girls who are related to you especially the ones that have some blood relations latin based alphabet
similar to that of the Dinka, a neighboring tribe Kinship Terminology learned at an early age
shows respect
age sects can not address those of other age sects by first name
intended to maintain lineage groups, and lineage organizes domestic life, socializes children, allows the transfer of property and ritual roles, and settles disputes six age sets separate groups within the clan Rivalry with Dinka people group.
Warring between tribes excluded violence against women, children, and the elderly.
Codes of warfare ethics prohibited destruction of property; homes and crops were protected.
Conference was held in 1998 that resulted in a call for future peace conferences.
As more conferences occurred, further reconciliation was reached.
In 2002, the Dinka-Nuer Reconciliation Conference was held in Washington, D.C., and a declaration proclaiming the Dinka and Nuer as "now One People" was issued.
This reflected that the traditional names of "Jieng" (Dinka) and "Naath" (Nuer) both simply meant "The People" Mostly milk and millet, but also fish, cattle, cheese, and if a gazelle or giraffe wanders onto camp, that too.
Not a hunting group
Grow millet and raise cattle, but only supplemented by fishing and the occasional cow
Cows can only be killed for ceremonious occasions (weddings, honoring a ghost or spirit, mortuary rituals), not just desire for meat Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard
E. E, Evans-Pritchard
Ethnographer with a Structural-Functionalist approach
Knighted in 1971
Studied the Nuer with extensive fieldwork in the 1930's
Wrote 3 books about the Nuer: "The Nuer", "Nuer Religion", and "Kinship and Marriage among the Nuer"
Mentee of Bronislaw Malinowski
His work is considered second only to that of his mentor and the Trobriand Islanders

Sharon Hutchinson
Updated Evans-Pritchard's accounts in the 1990's
Focused on sociopolitical changes with the Nuer
Chronicled the introduction of currency (on a limited and restricted basis) and it's effect on Nuer society
Also noted the prominent role guns have recently obtained (due mainly to endemic wars) as a symbol (seeming to almost eclipse the importance of cattle as a symbol), that is almost sacred Ne Walka (in the beginning) there was Kwoth (God the creator)
Kwoth is everywhere: in the rain, the wind, and the thunder
Mankind was created by Kwoth and fell like ripe fruit from a tamarind tree in the west (named Lic) The Nuer religion could be categorized as more or less monotheistic with elements of mysticism and ancestor worship
There is a creator God: Kwoth nhial (spirit of the sky) or Kwoth a nhial (spirit who is the sky), more commonly shortened as Kwoth
There are also the Kuth (spirits)
There are greater spirits (of the sky) and lesser spirits (of the earth)
Spirits of the earth are accorded less respect than spirits of the sky, and are often depicted as animals, plants, and or streams.
Ancestors are also accorded a degree of reverence
The colwic spirits were once Nuer who died unaccountably (as in a lighting storm) and have reached divine status
Each lineage has at least one colwic spirit
Sin also plays an important role in Nuer religion
The greatest sin is not showing proper respect
There are also tenants of abstinence, modesty, deference, and restraint
The Nuer distinguish between the body, the spark of life, and the soul (that which makes humans unique) Life is a combination of human and divine construction
But children are only seen as real people once they show personality traits
This is when the soul manifests
When someone dies, the body is committed to the earth, the divine spark returns to Kwoth, and the soul departs to the place of ghosts (usually with a sacrificial ox)
The Nuer show neither interest or claim knowledge of this afterlife
Thus the Nuer are often said to fear death Often not official until consummation ceremony and birth of first child
Divorce can be granted for several reasons Children are cared for by both of their parents and other family members
Girls: stereotypical women's roles; care for the home
Boys: tasks concerning cattle and with serving the adults at the cattle camp
Manly activities; responsibilities of work and war Public affairs and disputes are taken care of by both man and woman.
There is no home unless there is a man and a woman Healers The Nuer have healers known as Tiets
Sickness and disease are often seen as spirit possession
Full transcript