Instructor Kimberly Long
February 18, 2013
The Btsisi are a horticultural society living in Malaysia, horticultural is the act of growing fruits and vegetables with non-mechanized instruments in a garden or a piece of land (Nowak, Laird, 2010). Growing their own fruits and vegetables allows the Btsisis to stay in one area for an indefinite amount of time, while other tribes move around to hunt large animals and to gather food like berries, roots, and fish. The Btsisi grow corn, squash, rice, tapioca, bananas and other fruits and vegetables. Kinship is a great part of this society’s decision for food distribution and leadership roles (Nowak, Laird, 2010).
Nowak and Laird also reported that thought the Btsisi mostly cultivates their own food, staying in one place is not all they do. Btsisis maintain a semi-nomadic lifestyle by building temporary shelters in their “swiddens just before the rice harvest to fend off pests such as elephants, pigs, and birds. Once the rice is harvested, people return to their boats and continue wandering in the mangroves.” (Nowk, Laird 2010) (4.1). Btsisis regard each other in a couple’s relationships as best friends and partners, creating a sort of a team mentality at marriage. (Nowak, Laird, 2010). The Btsisis have a designated labor activities based on the sex of the person, but it is usually acceptable if a wife wants to do her husband’s work of hunting and fishing as well as if the husband wants to go gather fruits and berries. The Btsisi believe that the husband and wife should always work together even if they can do the work by themselves, they prefer to have each other’s company. The Btsisi believe they should not stay together if they cannot work together as a couple or if they cannot be each other’s friend, (4.5) Btsisi man marry in a Sororal Polygyny style; which means a man can marry two sisters. Marrying two sisters does not create conflict between them, Btsisi woman believes in being honest with their sister and do not impart jealousy between them. (Nowak, Laird, 2010).
Politically the Btsisi do not have economic specialists. Some of the man and woman in their society can make sellable items, like design mats with complex patterns, others make sculptures from wood carvings. (Nowak, Laird, 2010). As per leadership positions, the Btsisi follow two traditional leadership positions; Penghulu’ and Batin. As reported by Nowak and Laird woman can be Batin leaders; “Batin are leaders involved with intravillage affairs such as marital and neighbor…