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the Constitution of a Tribe

October 16, 2012

As earlier mentioned, the members of a tribal group would more than likely be members of a large extended family. Of course, their ranks might be increased from time to time by the addition of in-laws (through marriage to another tribe) or by adoption. Many times this adoption would come about by encountering others who had lost their tribe, been kicked out of a tribe, or the remnants of a tribe decimated by various hardships.

I thought the tribe displayed in the movie “Avatar” was an exceptional portrayal of what I consider our primitive ancestors to have been like. Especially when the young male comes to complain to the headman of the tribe. The headman listens attentively until he realizes the problem goes beyond just something dealing with the men of the tribe. When he realizes it is something that affects the whole tribe, he calls out the boss, the real leader of the tribe, his wife.

I do not necessarily think the headman of the tribe would always be married to the tribe’s leader, but it works well in fiction. More straightforward, less grisly details to interject. But in reality, the people concerned would be those who had the best aptitude for the role.

Lives were short, time too precious, to waste with having the wrong person on the job… any job… but especially the leadership roles. I’ll get into this in a little more detail later.

And as these people were generally raised together, they each knew the strengths and weaknesses of the others and knew what roles would best suit them. It was not like they were appointed to the positions, much less “elected” to them, they simply took on the jobs as second nature.

And nature had a lot to do with the lives of these tribespeople. Since they depended on nature for their livelihoods, they paid a lot of attention to nature and its changing ways and moods.

When the tribe grew too big for the local environment to support them, some of the tribe left to form their own tribe some distance away. It would become apparent to them not only in the difficulty of feeding such a large group but the duplication of strengths. A tribe does not need two of anything, generally speaking specialty-wise, so it would become apparent that a split was needed.

Nature would have dictated to the tribe what was needed. And being “in-tune” to nature, they would adapt as required.

I seriously doubt that those who refused to adapt would have survived for very long. So, a sort of natural evolution would have occurred.

But I really don’t think the primitive ancestors were idiots like a lot of people seem to want them portrayed. No, they would have had trouble handling a computer or a cellphone, but that is not about intelligence. That is about training.

Idiots could not have created wheels from nothing or figured ways to make fire without a manual. They were wily, intelligent, and adaptive. And, yes, they were very much like the humans we are today, just with less technology and less social organization.

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