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*Reference: “Tribe” and “chiefdom” are both referred to as ranked societies.
Chapter Sixteen | Tribes
Patrilineal descent group: composed of people who trace their descent through
males from a common, known male ancestor. These are the predominant form of
lineage in tribal societies.
Matrilineal descent group: members calculate descent through female line from a
commonly known female ancestor. These groups occur most frequently in
horticultural societies but they are not the most common organization.
Bilateral descent group: relatives are traced through both the maternal and
paternal sides of the family simultaneously.
1. Where do the Yanamamo, Iroquois, Tsembaga, Northwest Coast
peoples, and Polynesians live?
The Yanamamo live in the tropical forests of South America, between Brazil and
Venezuela, along the South Atlantic Ocean. The Iroquois live in North America,
along the North Atlantic Ocean. The Tsembaga lived in the Melanesian Islands of
Papua New Guinea, located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Northwest Coast
peoples are primarily located along the northwest Coast, bordered by the Pacific
Ocean in the west and mountains in the east. The Polynesians are a tribe that
extends westward from Hawaii to New Zealand, and live on the Pacific Islands, in
the Pacific Ocean.
2. How do ranked societies compare to foraging (or egalitarian/band)
societies in terms of population, size, density, and mobility?
In general, throughout human evolution, the capability of harvesting food by
way of domesticating plants and animals has fluctuated because of the kinds
of societies that have existed. Certain regions have a larger carrying capacity
for a larger population density than that of band societies. Hunting and
Gathering populations found it more effective to live in small bands, tribal
societies progressively became more populated. In terms of mobility, tribal
societies typically were content with staying within their respective territories.
Bands settlement patterns are dependent on the weather conditions that they
live in. (John Laing)
3. What are the two kinds of money used in the world and what kind
do we use?
There are two kinds of money used in the world: Special-purpose money and
general-purpose money. Special-purpose money is limited, and can only be
used as a medium of exchange in limited contexts. General-purpose money,
which is the money we have, is a medium that can be used to purchase
anything that is for sale in society that uses it. Everyone accepts it. 4. What are the functions of money?
There are four functions of money. First, it allows people to pay for goods and
services and then circulates and is used to pay for other goods and services.
Secondly, It serves as a uniform measure of value for goods and services
within a society. Third, its standard of value doesn’t radically change from one
time to another; its measure of value is rather consistent. This is known as a
store of value. Lastly, money can serve as a form of deferred payment,
meaning it serves as a promise to pay sometime in the future with identical
5. What are the characteristics of the descent systems we have
(bilateral)? What is the name of the descent groups resulting from
unilineal descent rules (lineages: patrilineages and matrilineages)
and from bilateral descent rules.
Relatives are traced through both maternal and paternal sides of the family
simultaneously. It does not result in any lineal descent grouping. For that reason,
it is not too common in tribal societies. In societies in which bilateral descent
exists a loosely structured group known as a kindred is developed to mobilize
relatives for economic, social, or political purposes. Kindreds are relatives from
both the mother’s and father’s side of a family that a person recognizes as
important relations. When a person refers to all of his or her relatives, that
person is designating a type of bilateral kindred.
6. What is a polygynous marriage and why do ranked societies have
In polygynous marriage one male marries two or more females.
Having multiple wives in this system increases wealth for reasons such as
more people in one family unit for labor purposes. Inheriting through each
wife things like land and/or livestock also increases wealth. In some
ranked/tribal societies the number of children you have can also be a direct
reflection of wealth and being in a polygynous union can increase that number
greatly. Ranked/tribal societies have this type of union for reasons of wealth
but also because of warfare decreasing the number of men in these societies
leaving a much higher ratio of women to men.
7. Do men dominate women in all ranked societies?
Men dominate women in most ranked societies. According to anthropologists,
most societies are patriarchal where the men are more dominant than the women
and take on larger and more strenuous roles. In most of these societies, the men
use beliefs and ideologies to justify their dominance over women. However, it is
known to these societies that women are important and that they are needed in
maintaining the patriarchal society. In contrast, there are ranked societies where
women are the most influential in political and economic decision making. For
example, the Iroquois are a matrilineal society where the generation of women in
a family live together and the men are considered outsiders even if they live in the house. The women had a large influence over the politics and economics of the
society and men could only develop this power if they have strong support from
their wife's relatives.
8. What is a potlatch?
a Potlatch is the Chinook word for giveaway. during a potlatch local leaders
would give away large amounts of goods and resources. leaders would
compete with each other to see who could give away or destroy the largest
amount of resources. It was believed that the more gifts that a leader got rid
of, the higher status of that chief. despite the apparent wastefulness of this
event, it is suggested that it served as a redistribution exchange process and as
a way to ensure the production and distribution of goods in societies that
lacked ruling classes. these potlatches only occurred when young people were
introduced into society, or during marriage and funeral ceremonies.
9. What are sumptuary rules and can you think of one in our society?
Sumptuary rules are cultural norms and practices used to differentiate the
higher-status groups from the rest of society. Sumptuary rules are rare in
America, but there are some examples of them. In some schools,
administrators try to enforce school dress codes as it is believed that this will
make students submit to authority figures more. There are also rules against
smoking cigarettes in public places which prohibit one from smoking indoors,
in restaurants, planes, etc. At Umass Amherst, there is no smoking allowed on
campus, although many people still continue to do so.
10. Do ranked societies have the institution of slavery?
Ranked societies did have institutions of slavery, but they were drastically
different from the plantation slavery that developed later in America. Most
slaves in chiefdoms were absorbed into kin groups through adoption or
marriage and then performed the labor that most people did. One exception
existed within the Northwest Coast Indians. They maintained a hereditary
slave system in which children of slaves automatically became slaves
themselves. These slaves were excluded from ceremonies and were even
sometimes used as human sacrifices. Even in this case, slaves could be
ransomed or could purchase their own freedom.
11. Is it similar to or different from slavery as it existed in the USA?
How is it different?
Slavery in ranked societies is very different than slavery as it existed in the United
States. Usually, slaves were not owned as private property. Most slaves in ranked
societies can marry or be adopted out of slavery. Because of this, most slavery in
ranked societies was not inherited by the slave’s children and was not seen as a
permanent status. 12.What did the art of Easter Island look like? Who makes totem
The statues of Easter Island appear to be human heads, elongated vertically,
called Moai. These monuments date back to 1250-1500 A.D. and give an idea that
an organized labor project was in place. This shows that a well developed society,
possibly a chiefdom, was once there on the pacific Islands. Estimated that 800-
1000 of the statues have been discovered.
13. Is ranked society religion similar to the cosmic religions of band
Ranked society religions are not similar to the cosmic religions of band
societies. Cosmic religions deal with nature and all components of nature. They
believe in animism which is the belief that a spirit is in all substances. Ranked
society religions are “literate” and are associated with particular individuals and
events. Examples of ranked society religions include Judaism, Islam, Christianity,
Buddhism, and Hinduism. In ranked society religions there is a ranking system
within the clergy and in cosmic religions there is not a ranking system
12. What do witchcraft and sorcery help explain in ranked societies (366-367)?
Witchcraft and sorcery are practiced by many ranked societies and help to
explain various phenomena that occur that they cannot explain through cause-
and-effect. Phenomena can range from illness, bad luck, injustice or other
occurrences. For example, witchcraft was to blame for lack of game, crop failure,
and economic differences among different societies. Sorcery had to do more with
influencing relationships, harm and informal sanctions. For example, in one
society, sorcerers were blamed for trying to banish women from the society thus
threatening the group’s survival
14. How is the institution of slavery in ranked societies different?
Slavery in chiefdoms, or ranked societies is the result of taking captives during
organized warfare. Unlike the type of slavery in early American society, slaves in
this system were not considered private property and were not said to be under
the ownership of anyone. They also performed the same type of labor as most
others in society and were organized into groups based on kinship. Because
slaves in this system could buy their freedom or marry out of the system, their
slavery was not always a permanent status.
15. Who makes totem poles and what purpose do they serve?
The Native Americans of the Northwest Coast make totem poles. They were the
ultimate status and religious symbols, indicating high social standing and
linkages between the chiefs and the ancestral deities.
Chapter Twenty | Globalization, Culture and Indigenous Societies
1. What was the Trail of Tears?
In 1830 the Indian Removal Act was signed by Andrew Jackson giving the
United States Government the power to claim Indian land east of the Mississippi River and relocate those people displaced to lands west of the
Mississippi River. The “Trial of Tears” is one instance of the forced relocation
of the Cherokee nation, taking their lands to the east and relocating them to a
western territory that will later become Oklahoma. In 1838-1839, 15000
Cherokees will begin this forced march, approximately 4000 died do to
exhaustion, hunger, and disease. The Cherokees named this relocation the
Trail of Tears.
2. What was the population of Native Americans in North America in
1492? In 1890? In the 21 century?
Most scholars believe that in 1492, there were about 10 million Native Americans
in North America. By 1890, the population significantly decreased to around
250,000 people, and in the 21st century, there are a little less than 3 million.
3. What happened at Wounded Knee in 1890?
-Wounded Knee was the site of a battle between Native Americans and US
cavalry men that turned into a massacre in which the US cavalry men killed
hundreds of women and children.
4. What are revitalization movements?
Revitalization movements are resistance movements which attempt to restore
some traditional aspects of native culture. The revitalization movement is a
response to the dramatic consequences that affect i