Week 3 – From Trust to Domination

From Trust to Domination

The Cree example on page 7 seems less like the archetypal example of a hunter gatherer society and more like a typical religion. They believe in certain things that happen divinely (animals presenting themselves), they believe they must perform certain duties (treat the animals correctly post death, don’t kill unnecessarily), and if they fail in these duties they will be punished (animals stop presenting themselves). In addition, as a result of these beliefs everyone in the society benefits, similarly to the way that religion has been used in the past as a sort of control mechanism against chaos.

The whole notion of trust is romantic and all, but what happens in the hard times? If a drought comes and the vegetation dies, how would a gathering society come to terms with the sudden lack of trust presented by nature as evidenced by no longer being given bountiful food? And once trust is broken it’s usually very hard to reform, so does that mean that once a group hits some rough times with regards to food procurement that whole belief system ends? The author goes into it a bit with regards to confidence, but it seems to me that if 90% of a tribe is killed off during rough environmental times, the confidence and trust of the remaining 10% would be shattered.