Bayaka elephant hunting in congo: the importance of ritual and technique

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/114207
http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/publikation-55582
http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:21-dspace-1142075
Dokumentart: Buch (einzelnes Kapitel)
Date: 2021-04-14
Source: Tuebingen Paleoanthropology Book Series – Contributions in Paleoanthropology Band 1: Human-elephant interactions: from past to present
Language: English
Faculty: Tuebingen Paleoanthropology Book Series – Contributions in Paleoanthropology Band 1: Human-elephant interactions: from past to present
Other Keywords: Congo elephant hunters
spear hunting techniques
gender relations ritual
economics
politics
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Inhaltszusammenfassung:

This chapter offers preliminary observations of Mbendjele BaYaka hunter-gatherer elephant hunt- ing in the Republic of Congo. Elephant hunting has a long history in this region and the BaYaka tradition described here appears to be part of this. Elephants pose real danger to humans and killing one with a spear is daunting. Hunters take signifi- cant risks to approach and kill these huge animals, and this may partially account for the importance of rituals associated with elephant hunting. The success of elephant hunting crucially depends on women’s ritual work in catching the elephant first and pressurizing the men to go out for it. The women’s rituals also remove the potential for status accumulation by elephant hunters by attributing their success to women. Traditional techniques for killing elephants and how they are learned through games and multimodal storytelling styles are de- scribed. The role of a ritual association for elephant hunters to learn to read elephant behavior and to share mystical and practical techniques for hunting elephants is presented. In the context of spearing elephants, daring to try may be as important as knowing how.

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