chapter  8
22 Pages

Population and Environment: Case Studies from Tribal Societies

WithThomas Rhys Williams

Tribes are characterized today by populations ranging in size from 100 to 300 persons, and may be as large as 10,000 persons. The beginning of modern ethnography in the mid-19th century was focused upon field studies of band and tribal cultures who had continued to be isolated from European states embarked upon exploration and a general pattern of conquest and colonial exploitation of natural resources and human labor. The Manus people prided themselves on their debating and language use skills and engaged typically in loud debates over the precise meanings of words or arguments about the possibility of some event, for instance, whether fishnets can possess souls. The Manus also took great pride in their reputations among their land dwelling neighbors as valiant and aggressive fighters.