Summary: A Diachronic Comparative Study Of Nuer Culture

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A Diachronic Comparative Study of the Cultures of the Nuer and Ojibwa The Nuer are herdsmen that live in southern Sudan along the Nile River. Nuer means The Ojibwa are Native Americans that live in North America and Canada. One can divide them into four different groups based on geography. These groups include the Salteaux (Northern Ojibwa), the Plains Ojibwa, the Southeastern Ojibwa, and the Southwestern Chippewa. They live in reservations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The Nuer and Ojibwa can be described as diachronic cultures which means they have changed over time. Culture can be defined as “traditions and customs that govern behavior and beliefs” (Kottak…show more content…
The Ojibwa believe that they can contact these spirits known as “the grandfathers” while dreaming. They believe that the soul and body separate while in the dream state. The Ojibwa can receive knowledge while contacting “the grandfathers.” Fasting is necessary for communication. Visions are prohibited from being discussed with others. Failure to do this may result in losing one’s knowledge received through the dream. The Nuer contact the spirits through cattle. “Cows are dedicated to spirits- those spirits that are attached to the lineage of the owner, have possessed a living family member, or are ghosts of ancestors” (“Culture Sketches”). One may contact a spirit by rubbing ashes on the back of a cow. The Ojibwa and Nuer both contact spirits for…show more content…
An egalitarian society is “[a] type of society, most typically found among hunter-gatherers, that lacks status distinctions except for those based on age, gender, and individual qualities, talents, and achievements” (Kottak 602). Originally, the Ojibwa and Nuer, lacked a political leader with real power. The Ojibwa have found leaders through European fur traders who sought to find a leader to consult. When an individual is chosen by a European, they gain a higher reputation among his or her peers. The Nuer are patrilocal meaning that once married, the spouses will live near or in the husband’s village. The Nuer have political units that Evans-Pritchard called “tribes.” They are managed by Leopard-Skin chiefs who don’t actually have any real political power. The Leopard-Skin chiefs are consulted about warfare. The Nuer are divided up into about 20 exogamous clans. Exogamous means that one is not allowed to marry within his or her own group. The clans are have segmentary lineage organization. “The lineages… were subdivided into segments, the smallest of which were about three to five generations deep” (Stone

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