Ingenious Skills of Tribal Peoples

A neat photo gallery at Survival International, with text by Joanna Eede:

For many tribal peoples, continuous immersion in nature over thousands of years has resulted in a profound attunement to the subtle cues of the natural world.

Acute observations have taught tribes how to hunt wild game and gather roots and berries, how to sense changes in climate, predict movements of ice sheets, the return of migrating geese and the flowering seasons of fruit trees.

Sophisticated hunting, tracking, husbandry and navigation techniques have also been the ingenious responses of tribal peoples to the challenges of varied, and often hostile, environments.

The development of such observations and skills is not only testament to the latent creativity of humans and their extraordinary ability to adapt, but has also ensured that when living on their lands, employing the techniques they have honed over generations, tribal peoples are typically healthy, self-sufficient and happy.

I am the environment, said Davi Kopenawa Yanomami. I was born in the forest. I know it well.

During the dry season, the Jarawa use the sap of rattan palms as a source of liquid.

When they collect honey from wild bees, they spit the sap of a plant over the hive to drive the bees away.

See more here.

10 Comments on "Ingenious Skills of Tribal Peoples"

  1. Loki Luck III | Oct 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm |

    Awesome photos.

  2. BuzzCoastin | Oct 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm |

    modern cyborgs are always amazed at what humans could once do
    paying attention to nature is no longer a cyborg function
    replaced by GPS & the internet

    • Hocketeer | Oct 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm |

      You reminded me of a documentary I once saw about a tribe that uses echolocation for measuring distances, nowadays however it is only used by the blind. I’d really like to know which tribe that was, but all my “clicking” so far has not been fruitful…

      • atlanticus | Oct 1, 2013 at 8:59 pm |

        Not to mention something I once heard about Australian Aborigines ability to find their direction no matter where they are, with or without the sun or other obvious markers…it had something to do with never really considering “north”, “south”, “east”, “west” as separate concepts, but always in relation to the individual…so more like “left”, “right”, etc.

        Very much like a GPS shows directions starting from the point of “you are here”, rather than first having to mentally orient your position to an abstract concept like paper maps or globes would show…

        • Monkey See Monkey Do | Oct 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm |

          Magnetic field navigation?

          • atlanticus | Oct 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm |

            I don’t even pretend to know the mystical ways of aboriginal peoples. I spend all day behind a computer and then come home and do that some more. 🙁

            I have heard that they recently discovered DMT in some tree native to Australia that the Aboriginals knew about but were successful until now in keeping it secret from whitey. Maybe the DMT elves tell them where to go?

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Oct 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

            That would be the Australian Acacia. It’s on the Australian coat of arms. Much of Australian aboriginal religion is kept secret so I wouldn’t be surprised if DMT plays a role. DMT is found in hundreds if not thousands of different plants and trees. And also many animals. As McKenna said, Australia is inundated with DMT.

            My question is, when will scientists show some guts and begin to do some reductionist research on it.

  3. Cortacespedes | Oct 1, 2013 at 6:58 pm |

    And yet “we” insist on calling them “primitive” and their environs “under-developed”.

    Just imagine how much “happier” they would be making our shoes, our clothes, our cell phones.

  4. Rhoid Rager | Oct 2, 2013 at 2:05 am |

    The Hadza–honeyguide bird relationship is amazing.

  5. kowalityjesus | Oct 2, 2013 at 8:18 pm |

    Ever get a rush from doing something difficult and succeeding? Think of how satisfying it is to do something difficult, succeed, and because of that survive. There is very little time during the day when a person in a state of nature is not challenged, and this creates amazing levels of personal excellence.

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