Where exactly do they live?
On the Island of Siberut – A remote island off the coast of Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. What do you know about their way of life? How do they eat, live, work, etc.? The Mentawai society is made up of clans. Each clan has a secular chief and a religious leader or shaman. The members of each of the clans live in umas, or clan houses. These houses are built from wood and palm thatch. Also the Mentawai society is mostly egalitarian, but they divide their lands between clans and individuals. The Mentawai are hunter-gatherers, they also raise pigs and chickens for their rituals. They carry on with their lives by hunting and fishing everyday. The Mentawai also grow sago, tubers, bananas, and coconut. Their traditional way of life may be coming to an end though because of the accusations of illegal logging, and cultural pressures from Muslim Indonesian police and Christian missionaries. How can you link the fact that they survived the tsunami to their ancient beliefs, myths, and or legends? What were they specifically? Their belief system is based on living in total harmony with nature. Tsunamis are a part of nature and they make do to be in synchronization with it. They do whatever is needed to survive it, they do not panic or make a huge deal about it as others would. They are use the weathers getting hectic and so they know what to do, from years of experience. What did you learn about how they survived?
That by having their tradition passed down from generation to generation prepared them to deal with this tsunami and many others “natural disasters”. In the end result by the Mentawai having their tradition and following in it, nobody in their society lost their life. What does this tell us about myths and legends?
This told me that their survival demonstrated the significance in keeping traditional knowledge, legends, or myths. Having legends and beliefs in them are not always a bad thing, and change in the end is not always they best thing.
Courtney from Study Moose
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