Mbuti Indigenous Tribe

African Rain Forest

How to Produce

The Mbuti or Bambuti people are situated in the African Rain forest, which is rich in natural resources that their tribe takes full advantage of using. Individual tribe members or assigned members within sub clans collect the resources through hunting/gathering and/or bartering for them. The Mbuti do not have a strong technological prowess as their technology is limited to equipment and utensils for hunting and gathering resources. The most commonly used equipment by the Mbuti is the bow and arrow, which is used for hunting animals to satisfy their need for food. Some clans may also use nets and spears in certain situations when hunting animals. The tribe lives in the forest so their main industry is hunting. The tribe members first collect resources to satisfy their personal day to day needs and then spend the remaining time they may have to gather resources that they think may be beneficial in bartering with fellow tribe members. This particular tribe doesn't not have set leaders or elders like many other tribes, so they must make economic or production decisions on their own.

What to Produce

Many of the things that the Mbuti use in their day to day lives are directly provided by the land which they live in. For example, the Mbuti hunt for their own food which they later consume or trade for other goods such as clothing made from the inner bark of wines which is known as loincloth. Also, the Mbuti produce equipment needed for hunting such as bows and arrows, nets and other items. Depending on the season, the Mbuti grow different crops in their areas such as rice, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Some of the trees in the forest provide fruits and nuts for the Mbuti. The basic needs for the Mbuti are met although their wants are rarely fulfilled due to the lack of resources they have as well as their simple form of living. The Mbuti believe that the forest is there great protector and provider of all things. There are a few cultural rituals that the Mbuti follow in order to thank the forest for all of its blessings. The people in the tribe move to new land constantly in order to maintain the wildlife in each area and to make sure that they are not using the forests resources fasting than they can be replenished. Tribes people often trade consumer goods such as food in order to obtain capital goods such as manual labor from a man in another group.
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Bow and Arrows that the Mbuti produced for Hunting

How to Distribute

In a group of the Mbuti, known as the Efe, the methods of distributing good are different from other tribes. Trading often occurs with the families in their small villages and usually only with a few families their entire lives. They allow the Efe women to be in charge of the distribution of their personal goods to trade with other members of the tribe. For example, an Efe women might trade meat which her husband acquired from hunting and trade that to a tribe member in exchange for labor. Efe women feel a lot of pride since they are known as the providers for the family. Although, men trade items with other tribe members but many of them are not wise and tend to trade goods to obtain tobacco or marijuana. Sometimes men will accept clothing as a form of payment. The trading relationships which the women create are essential in times of food shortage, an Efe group might join up with another group in order to survive the tough times.

Video: How Important the Forest is to the Mbuti people and what it means to them

Mbuti Pygmies: The Forest is Everything

Created By: Rushan Niazi and Jaipaul Turna