ref: Before Farming 2007/3 article 1

The contributions of Richard Lee to anthropological understanding of the really ‘Real’ western Subarctic Dineh culture in the twentieth century and The ‘Real’ Richard Lee and me

Norman Alexander Easton
Yukon College, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Keywords: Northern Athapaskan, contemporary hunter-gatherer society, Yukon Alaska borderland


This paper presents a personal appreciation of the contribution that Richard Lee has made to my understanding of western Subarctic Dineh societies. It will range from understanding the introduction of locks to village communities and the real existence of a ‘real world’ regardless of the post-modern unreal sensibility of consumer capitalism, to the importance of community engagement and the moral positioning of the anthropologist. It will also consider the continuing existence of hunting-gathering lives in the western Subarctic, regardless of the ‘other’s’ opinion of what they might think they are because young people dance to hip-hop music, on which it will also comment.


ref: Before Farming 2007/3 article 3

Kalahari San foraging, land use, and territoriality: implications for the future

Robert K Hitchcock
Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University, 354 Baker Hall
East Lansing, MI 8824-1118, USA

Wayne A Babchuk
Department of Anthropology and Geography, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
810 Oldfather Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0368, USA

Keywords: San, Bakgalagadi, Botswana, foraging, territoriality, resettlement


On December 13th, 2006, the San and Bakgalagadi of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve won an important legal victory in the High Court of Botswana after a long and expensive legal case.  The decisions of the three High Court judges guaranteed that people who had been removed from their ancestral territories in the Central Kalahari would be allowed the right of return, and they would be able to gather and hunt as long as they had subsistence hunting licences.  The attorney general of the Government of Botswana ruled that people returning to the reserve would not be allowed access to services, including schools, health posts, and water facilities. 

The question remains, will people who have been living settled lives and who have had livelihood supports provided by government and non-governmental organisations be able to sustain themselves as foragers again in the Central Kalahari?  In order to evaluate this question, information on San mobility, land use, territoriality, foraging, farming, and socioeconomic organisation were compiled.  It is concluded that returning to a foraging lifeway in the future will pose both challenges and opportunities.  Efforts will need to be made to ensure that the people returning to the Central Kalahari are able to draw upon scientific and cultural knowledge, traditions, and practices from a wide range of sources and have water provided by the state if they are to be able to sustain themselves over the long term.

ref: Before Farming 2007/3 article 4

‘The return of myth and symbolism’: articulation of foraging, trance curing & story telling among San of the ‘Old Way’ and today

Comment on Before Farming papers by:
Hitchcock and Babchuk (2007/3 article 3) and by Biesele (2007/2 article 1)

Mathias Guenther
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario


© Western Academic & Specialist Press Ltd 2008