20061020

 

Diversity of indigenous communities

*Key Reference. Excerpt from ECOFAC study "Foragers and Rural Development: Ngotto Reserve" by Barry Hewlett: "Previous ECOFAC socio-economic studies on the Ngotto forest reserve (Besse, Bonannée, Hladik) are quite good descriptions of subsistence and forest utilization by various ethnolinguistic groups of farmers, but they do not provide much detail about forest utilization by the various "pygmy" populations (Hladik provides the most information). Previous reports tend to focus on farmers and discuss "pygmies" as a unified group (e.g., Bonannée talks about diversity of subsistence patterns among farmers, but places all pygmies into one group). These reports made errors in describing pygmies because researchers often assumed that all were Aka pygmies, in large part, because they had all read the excellent forest utilization studies on Aka by Bahuchet (e.g., Duhem states that the pygmies in both Ngotto and Bambio are Aka and speak a Bantu language, when, in fact, most are Bofi and speak a Oubanguian language). This preliminary study suggests there is enormous cultural and linguistic diversity of "pygmy" populations in the Ngotto Reserve--they speak different languages, they occupy different ecologies, they have different subsistence patterns (e.g., some farm some do not, some farm deep in forest some farm near village) and, some have traditional trading relationships with farmers while other are "independent." It is critical to clearly understand "pygmy" diversity because these groups represent 25-35% of the population in the Ngotto Reserve and rely heavily upon forest plants and animals..."

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