Cultural Resilience

Cultural Resilience

Many of our ancestors came to America from all around the world, with different traditions and ways of life. While our ancestors may have carried out their traditions of their homeland after coming to the U.S., it seems today that many people assimilate to popular culture and abandon their family traditions. On the other hand, the Raute are foragers who continue to keep alive their way of life in the Nepalise farming society. They exhibit cultural resilience, which is the” ability to undergo changes while still maintaining their basic elements and relationships” (Fortier 8). The Raute are able to defend and maintain their traditions in the Nepali villages as well as accept the opinions that other people have about them.

In rural Nepal, it consists mostly of farming villages. However, there is a group of nomadic people known as the Raute, who hunt monkeys and live in the forest (Fortier 14). There are many differences between them and the Hindus of Nepal. One is that Raute people bury their dead in the forest unlike their Hindu counterparts who cremate the dead (Fortier 16). They also do not eat the rice and lentil dish that is famous in Hindu culture, but instead drink a mild alcoholic beer and eat toasted wheat as well as wild seeds of plants (Fortier 16-17). The fundamental difference that sets them apart from Nepali Hindus is that they refuse to settle down and live in villages or send their children to school (Fortier 14). For example, one farmer gave the Raute people a five pound bag of corn, one bag of wheat, and one of millet so that they could sow the seed on the land that other farmers offered them (Fortier 19). The Raute accepted the seeds not for planting, but to roast and eat (Fortier 19). This demonstrates the resilience that these nomadic people have to preserve their lifestyle. They are not trying to assimilate and become just like the rest of the Nepali society.

Raute have traditions that have been working for them and just because they are not aligned with the accepted norms of society, does not imply that they must abandon them. Our world is comprised of many different people and what is successful for one group may not work for another. If everyone lived the same way and believed the same things, we would be mindless identical robots. Should this occur, people would not be challenged to see the beauty and uniqueness of a different lifestyle, or even to find that moment of inspiration when someone has a different idea that is better. There would be no creativity and culture that most people pride themselves on having. It is because of cultural groups like the Raute that we have such a wide range of human culture.

When there is a cultural group such as the Raute that is unlike the accepted Nepali life, many individuals criticize their lifestyle. Many of the Nepalise people wish that the Raute would settle down in villages, become farmers, and send their children to school. However, the Raute are not swayed by these opinions, and they continue to maintain their lifestyle. In fact one of the men responded by saying, “My heart is in living here in the forest” (Fortier 22). For these people, this is their way of life and it would be more difficult for them to settle as villagers because they would probably struggle and become part of a low class. It is important that we respect other cultures because it is what makes us all unique. If there is one thing that unites all humans on Earth, it is that we are all different and what makes us different is what allows us to grow and learn not only about ourselves but about what the rest of the world has to offer.