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And why are dif- ferent visions of nature important? In this chapter, I conclude that there are liiNciniiliiiK anil multiple meanings assigned to forests and forest spaces by the fimgon NIK! In iidililion, there are about 15, people known as "Raul" who linve iminiiliilcd into Nepalese caste society in the last few generations hill who me descendants of forest foragers.
Residing in a forested environment, Rautes maintain a profound respect in foiesls mid the resident wild animals.
Rautes maintain that all the forest icings live within a home peopled by yams, monkeys, birds, small trees. Rautes maintain a deep sense of their rela- ionship lo these social others since together they are the children of Berh, he Sun deily, who has other incarnations such as Gwahing and Damu.
In his forested world, Rautes maintain a familial sense of kinship with other on-human beings since together they represent what they describe as "the liildren of Bern. Rautes share the forests through which ihey migrate with miny oilier people. For local farmers, lite, sylvan environments evoke ftmda- Iciltolly dilferenl ideas, based upon Hindu iuteipielnlions of the natural.
This chapter will focus on the Rautc's beliefs about themselves, the animals of the forest, and of forest spaces, but for further reading concerning ideologies of forests, see ArnoldDoveJefferyParajuliBhattCederlof and Sivaramakrishnanand Skaria The right to define a given locale is not arbitrary; different groups have vested interests and political power over others and thus have an interest in asserting the correctness of their vision of the landscape Humphrey In rural Nepal, particular landscapes, such as community forests, come to be known by Nepali villagers through the subjectivity of possession.
Community forests are figured as hamro ban, "our forest," and community user groups aggressively protect their rights to particular parcels of forested land even though the Government of Nepal legally owns most forests.
Rautes, on the other hand, have no vested interest in owning or protecting a particular for- est. Their concern, rather, is in the utilization of its products, in the image of the forest as a nurturing being, and in maintaining a sense of gratitude toward the forest as a parental figure.
Semantic differences concerning forests have fundamentally important political ramifications because both foragers and farmers must negotiate multiple and contrastive claims to ownership and authenticity of foresicil domains.
Negotiating not simply the material dimensions of foiesls resources, land mass, biomass quality but especially sels of meanings, for- ests become objects of political contention. Are forests lo be used as camps, retreats, preserves, wilderness areas, sustainable growth areas, or elhnoeuo- logical refuges?
In the twenty-first century, forests in Asia are sites of contested ideologies that face the political pressures of logging companies, government development schemes, and urban sprawl Guha ; Murashko ; Peet and Watts For people everywhere, the forest question looms large as we contemplate the role of forests in contemporary society and environ- mental policy-making.
For forest foragers whose subsistence depends on hunting and gathering, forest protection is tantamount to cultural survival. Foragers de facto live in the forests and view forested places as their domestic space.
Foragers give forest places toponyms that highlight notable natural and utilitarian features. For example, Raute foragers name forests according to where berries and yams are found, where bears live, or as a place that is the shape of a particular leaf.
In their Tibetic language, they can also give forests higher-order names to reference a midland temperate forest manangfound in Jajarkot District or a hotter sub-tropical forest damarsuch as found in Dang District.
Rautes forage through many environments and districts of western Nepal, including Jajarkot District where my lieklwork with both Rautes and Hindu farming households look place over the course of iwo years in the s.
I or millions of forest-based fiimicm living In 11 it- I llniiiliivnn hills, gather- ing wild tubers, berries, and greens is iinportnnl Idi supplementing Ihcir sub- sistence diet. Manandhur and Manandhar record an astonishing range of forest plants used by farmers in Nepal, including medicinal plants.
But while both foragers and farmers share their vision of forests as places to satisfy subsistence, the states of Nepal and India view forests in more proprietary terms.
In Nepal, forests historically have been viewed as opportunities for taxation of its saleable products. Farmers in Jajarkot District. Nepal, where 1 conducted interviews with farming house- holders at various times between andreport that tax collectors often took all edible forest products that exceeded householders' subsistence.
The tax collectors even taxed farmers by taking a portion of the wild yams they collected. More recently, however, government officials such as District Forestry Officers have focused on working with community user-groups to reforest and protect endangered forest areas.
How can the changing meanings of forested places be negotiated among various interested parties such as foraging fanners, hunter-gatherers, and government ollicials?
Especially between dominant polities and subalterns whose subsistence depends on hunting and gathering in the forests, views of society and nature are often diametrically opposed. Rautc foragers, for example, view wild yams as food but also as their own ancestors.
Farmers, on the other hand, see yams as a tasty addition to the evening meal and probably will not adopt a view of yams as sentient beings.
Some scholars doubt that a post-humanist approach in which the distinction between society and nature can be dissolved is possible Howell The anthropologist Signe Howell is correct in pointing out that most people from agricultural societies will scorn belief in the environment as a sentient being and are unlikely to believe in the sentience of yams, stones, and other natural objects.
Other scholars, however, find people must develop a more nuanccd understanding of their role in the material world Hirsch and O'Hanlon Such a perspective need not incorporate beliefs in a sentient ecology per se, yet at the same time a more complex perspective acknowledges the ecological role of humans within Ihe physical environment.
Ultimately, whether environmental policy-makers address such onlological issues is important because perspectives of humans in Ihe "natural" world shape policies that alfect forest quality and coverage.Kings of the Forest Fortier, Jana Published by University of Hawai'i Press Fortier, Jana.
Kings of the Forest: The Cultural Resilience of Himalayan Hunter-Gatherers.
An Analysis of King of the Forest by Jana Fortier. 1, words. 6 pages. An Analysis of Anne Fadiman's the Spirit Catches You and You Fall down. 1, words. An Analysis of the Topic of the Quechan of the Sonoran Desert, the Native American Group in California.
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