Moribund Tribal Cultures

Many a civilization has risen and flourished in remote corners of the palnet even in the wilderness,tropical forests or deserts.Historical accounts provide us with countless evidences about the existence of great civilizations that were carved out of jungles or in seemingly hostile environments.Nowadays,some surviving tribes particularly in Africa,Asia and South America have remained virtually uncorrupted and temporarily resisted the encroachment of modern civilization upon their lands and traditions.However,this long-standing resistance has started to weaken and consequently vast archives of knowledge,cultural aspects and expertise which belong to these indigenous peoples are spilling into oblivion .
Man is endowed with innate cognitive powers which enable him/her to create and to impart knowledge, to innovate and to develop techniques that make life easier and less painstaking for mankind .Our world has been the matrix of thriving culutural heritage and all the peoples who have actually inhabited the earth have contributed to the enrichment of the world’s civilization.The French philosopher Claude Levy Strauss demonstrated in his book « Race et Histoire » that all the ethnic groups have in fact contributed their cultural repertoire to the common patrimony albeit differences in the degree and the nature of the contributions .It follows from this that the huge bulk of knowledge of the remaining tribes is an enormous trove of wisdom.Alas !the prevalent attitude has been that western science and thinking ,with its powerful analytic tool has little to learn from tribal cultures.The cultures of what are labelled « primitive » societies are of a cardinal importance and interest.It is undeniable that the innumerable developed technologies and arts of the Maya,the Incas,the Pharaons and others are irreplaceable.These magnificent civilizations,which staggered the minds of the European conquerors,were brought to an utter destruction ,and the natives,followers as well as leaders,were decimated at an incredible rate.At present, 15000 cultures are still remaining on earth and the tribes that still exist have to exploit nature without disrupting the balance that sustains the ecosystem.In fact, these indigenous peoples have lived in harmony with their environment and they have grasped the mysteries of flora and fauna , which has enabled them to discover the great nutritional values of myriad plants and animals as well as disclosing the therapeutic properties of many plants.Unfrortunately, it is predicted that this invaluable expertise will vanish in the near future if effectual measures are not launched.
The largely undocumented knowledge of the remaining tribes is on the brink of extinction.For instance, 90 of Brazil’s 270 Indian tribes have completely disappeared.Accordingly, a vast body of traditions and wisdom evaporated with these vanishing tribes.In the same vein, modern civilization infringe upon the lands of many tribes which either die out or are fused into the modern world.Moreover, some young tribesmen who get in contact with the outside world embrace the conviction that their traditional ways are old-fashioned base and illegitimate.Dumbfounded by the blandishments and the wealth of the developed world ,they rebel against the fragile chain of their ancestors’ oral traditions,and novel ideas assault their simple minds ;and their dexterity in the ways of the forests slip away.It is sad to note that these youngsters feel shame rather than pride in what their progenitors knew.On a larger scale, even some third world governments have come to look upon their indigenous cultures as a hindrance to their prosperity and progress.What is more, many aged tribesmen who carry the knowledge of their tribes die without passing on their learning to their posterity.Tribal languages are equally jeopardized and we all know that if a language –which is the lifeblood of any culture-disappears,traditional knowldge tend to vanish with it.A very recent study estimates that only 300 tribal knowledge have a secure future.
To wrap it up, the remaining tribes with its kaleidoscope of cultures have a great value that the developed world should recognize.Western scholars have much to learn from the knowledge of these tribes.However,great efforts have to be deployed so as to preserve this endangered cultural heritage. (Written in 1992 )

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3 Responses

  1. so many priceless civilisations have been bulldozed to dust by other civilisations in the long run of history 😦

    I wish it was not that way. We might have easily found a way to respect each other and live side by side.

  2. nice!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this article Mr. Abderrahim. And this quote that I read too: Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within. I use this in my haiku writing, sometimes. I think that I got a better understanding of that, when I read your words. I knew I did reveal and conceal with the words – but when I read your quote, I had one of those moments. You know what I mean. When the mind stops for a moment. My previous blog is named for that moment – the “Existential Pause” when something shifts in the understanding. It can be small or huge.

    Anyway, I read on your about page that you are an English teacher from Morocco. I have never been to your country, but at the University where I work (in the computer lab) we have an art school teacher who loves Morocco, and spends every summer there!

    I always try to visit the blogs of visitors who come to my blog and make comments. So I finally got to yours. Good luck with your blog. I hope you keep writing. I have been blogging for several years. But, my first attempts were not too successful. I let my blog publishing stop, and the blogs just sat, gathering dust for very long periods.

    Now, I believe I have found my personal voice, in the haiku writing. I really love writing them, and I am remaining consistent. I hope you are able to find your blogging voice, if you have not already done so. I know I will continue even if I do not get many comments. I just write because I want to write!

    Good luck with your blog! I think it is a very good start! If my mother was still on this earth, she would agree! haha She was an English teacher, and then an English professor, all her life. She would love your Oscar Wilde quotes, and word of the day! And your essays and poems!

    Have a great day!
    – Robert Terrell aka Existential Poet

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