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Arranged Marriages for Clan Membership

Updated August 10, 2022

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Arranged Marriages for Clan Membership essay

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The Okiek culture is quite similar to the Yanomamo although they do have several defining differences. The Okiek are based in Kenya and are not specifically located into one group. They got their name based on the people of Kenya who previously lived purely by hunting, making beehives, and gathering and trading honey (Corinne Anne Kratz). The Okiek’s language is also called Okiek. It includes over two dozen local groups. Most of them live on the highlands of west-central Kenya. They are a smaller group, because they live in dispersed groups it’s hard to tell the exact population. In 2013 studies estimated the population to be 25,000 (Corinne Anne Kratz).

The Okiek language is spoken by different groups and it often varies but it is mostly understood by all of them. Much like the language of the Yanomamo there are different versions of the language in South America but almost everyone can understand what someone is saying even if from different groups in South America, similarly to how those who speak French can understand bits of Spanish or vice versa. The Okiek survived off of a balance of hunting, honey gathering, farming, and herding like the Yanomamo horticulturists. The contemporary Okiek relies on crops and trading for other foods and resources. Hunting weapons they used consisted of bows and arrows, spears and clubs, and also traps. The animals they hunted often were, bushbuck, buffalo, duikers, hyraxes, bongo, and giant forest hogs.

They mostly ate corn since it was a very stable crop, while also eating millet, beans, greens, and pumpkins. Their activities consisted of making pottery, baskets, leather bags, clothing, and personal ornaments that are worn by women. Men produced their own hunting gear, tobacco, and wood. For trade the Okiek often swapped a variety of their products with their neighbors. They traded honey mostly because it was worth a lot, honey could buy an entire cow. Later on, in the mid twentieth century money became the medium exchange. Gender is a huge component of the Okiek labor division, age is definitely relevant. Women are assigned the job of processing and cooking food, taking care of children, and making clothing. Men do the hunting and gathering and heavy gardening. Agriculture work is often shared between men and women, children are also expected to help (Corinne Anne Kratz).. The Okiek has mastered many different treatments for health issues. They use a variety of different medicines made naturally from plants. They provide specific people chosen to be healers from neighboring group.

The Yanomamo on the other hand believe that only the Hekura, which is a spirit that can cause someone to contain a serious illness and can only be cured of the illness by a shaman. To prepare for the curing of a sickness the male shaman paints himself and inhales hallucinogens to connect with his surroundings. They also often use herbal remedies to cure illness just like the Okiek. The religious beliefs of the Yanomamo include a Shaman who can cure the ill and harm enemies. Only men can be shamans and they have to go through intense training to be able to do witchcraft-like spells. The men must commit to abstinence and fast from food. The Yanomamo people worship the dead by preforming lamentations, singing and chanting. They burn the bodies of the dead and collect the leftover ash and bones and consume them in soup to show honor and remembrance of those who have passed. Okiek cultures have different relative importance with lineages and clans for kinship groups. Contrarily, lineages are most important for many of the Yanomamo groups. In the larger communities of the Okiek, patrilineal, matrilateral, and affinal relations form.

Clan membership is defined patrilineal. Some consider patrilineal lineages most important because they support arranged marriages, landholding and residence, and legal matters. Those who find martilateral and affinal relations most important believe in the recruitment of work groups and on ceremonial occasion the relations also affect residential and legal decisions. Marriage arrangements were very common up until the 1980’s in the Okiek community (Corinne Anne Kratz). Men married in their twenties and women in their teens. The decision of marriage is based on the bride’s wealth of property. The groom brings many gifts to the bride’s family. The children of the family receive ceremonies throughout the life cycle during years 14 to 16. When someone commits a crime in the Okiek culture, they have a large meeting to settle matters with the parties involved. Often times in the Okiek fights resulted due to issues with land and women.

The Okiek also believe in one God called the Torooret or Asiista, who is thought to be beneficent and helps create blessings (Corinne Kratz). The Yanomamo are an indigenous tribe based in South America on the border of Venezuela and Brazil and are also the largest isolated tribe. Their language can be closely related to any big South American family’s language. The land that they live on is mostly made up of lush forest and smaller areas of Savanna. The population of the Yanomamo was close to the Okiek, an estimated total of 21,000 people (Raymond Hames). The Yanomamo were mainly foraging horticulturalists. They produced crops such as bananas and plantains. They also survived off of hunting and gathering. They highly symbolized alliances between individuals. In the division of labor, weapon making and hunting, is only for men and women spin cotton and plait baskets. Everything else can be done by any gender. Patrilocal residence is common in the Yanomamo, they trace descent patrilineally. Kin groups are critical in marriage and those in kin groups hold very strong bonds.

Marriage must consist of cross-cousins. Women get married in their early twenties instead of a teen married by an arranged marriage in the Yanomamo culture(Chagnon, 7). For the Yanomamo marriage is patrilocal, and the husband must live with his bride’s parents before going through with the marriage. A portion of the male gender in the Yanomamo follow polygyny customs. The Yanomamo fall under egalitarian description, which means they believe that all people are considered equal, but they do determine class by age, sex, and personal accomplishments (Raymond Hames). The Yanomamo and the Okiek have a relatively good number of characteristics in common. Their population is relatively the same amount and they are made up of smaller groups that fall under the same categories.

They both have different kinship and belief systems that set each other apart. Both the Yanomamo and the Okiek can be classified as tribes due to their egalitarian views, large population, kinship through lineages, hunting and gathering, as well as settling disputes through community action. Both tribes have similar ways of hunting as well as both living in lush forestry areas. The main differences that the Yanomamo and the Okiek have are the ideas of marriage, being arranged for the Okiek and polygamist for the Yanomamo. They have different religious beliefs such as God for the Okiek and the Shaman for the Yanomamo. The main food sources also vary a bit but are mostly similar due to their horticulture styles. Over time these cultures have grown due to reproducing and new ideas that evolved into something larger. Both the Yanomamo and the Okiek are relatively large tribes consisting of beliefs that everyone follows as well. The beliefs are common within the communities making it easier for people to follow along and not want to leave the tribe.

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Arranged Marriages for Clan Membership. (2022, Aug 10). Retrieved from