I can’t say that I often spend much time thinking about my reactions to whatever I’m reading, so this blog may prove somewhat challenging at times. What I believe spiritually also contradicts some of our book’s claims about the first people and how they came to populate the planet. So, instead of starting all kinds of unpleasant debates, I’ll simply allow you to have your beliefs if you allow me to have mine.
Okay…with that said, what struck me as interesting during this first week of reading? I guess the first thing I noticed was how important woman were in early societies. They gathered nearly 70% of the food for their families and were viewed largely as being equal to men. I especially liked the practice of the San people that gave meat distribution rights to the owner of an arrow rather than the hunter who had killed the animal. Because of this practice, women were allowed the prestige of sharing meat within the society and hunters could not claim their kills as private property. I was also intrigued by the San people’s belief that the gods were the source of all disease, conflict, and death and therefore the source of all evil was located outside of their community rather than within. I wonder what kinds of conflicts they had in their communities.
I found the Chumash to be so drastically different from the San and I found myself wondering if settling in one place could be the root of violence. Instead of working together and migrating frequently, the Chumash stayed in one place, depleted herds, and claimed more possessions which in turn led to violence among the different settlements. Staying in one place also made them vulnerable to any newcomers as they were not able to avoid them as easily as if they had been nomadic.