We accompany nomadic tribes like the Himba in Namibia or Tsaatan in Mongolia to know the customs that shape their identity as a people.
The relationship & animal mating between living beings have been the key to forming links between individuals in nature.
The african tribe Himba are a matriarchal culture in Namibia. Though they are nomads, their strong culture goes with them wherever they go. The young Himbas observe and absorb their own identity as a people. These girls have the plaits which indicate they are still immature, they are not women yet. But today they have a dream.
The village is celebrating the fact that one of the girls has had her first period, and her plaits have finally been cut off. Not one of these girls, however, but rather an elder sister.
The two girls can hardly wait for the time when they too will wear the decorations signifying womanhood, and everyone will dance in their honour.
The proud mother will continue to work until her younger daughter celebrates that important day. Afterwards, the three will follow the example of their grandmother, who has already churned the milk in so many camps, and knows the importance of cultural identity for a Himba woman.
On the other side of the world, in the Mongolian taiga, the Tsaatan tribe are well aware of the effects forced acculturation can have on people.
They are called “the reindeer people”. Their nomadic, independent life means they constantly move between Russia and Siberia. With the arrival of socialism in the region, the state took their reindeer off them, banned their religion, gave them a salary and appointed a commissary to impose fines for practicing ancient customs. Vets came, and replaced the traditional ways of treating animals. Now, the vets have gone, but the Tsaatan have forgotten their traditional medicine, and so the animals die.
From when they are young, the children must learn the jobs necessary to survive in such a harsh climate. Here more than anywhere their home is their castle.
Inside the tipi, as in the case of the Himba tribe, the youngest absorb the culture through contact with their elders. For humans, the grandparents play an important role: it has been demonstrated that they offer a very different perspective from the parents, and provide the children’s not yet fully-formed brains with examples of serenity and calm.
Often, the man and wife must invest considerable efforts in obtaining the elements necessary for daily survival, such as this cradle of birch, which the father is making for the new member of the clan. For this reason, it is important they all remain together as long as possible. That is the key to human progress - the family.
Cultural defence of the family may also have developed as a way of safeguarding its important biological function, to successfully raise a new generation.
Since the beginning of life in the sea, adaptation has taught animals to establish relationships with other beings.
No one on the planet wants to be forever alone, and all animals surround themselves with more or less complex social structures, to increase the chances of survival.
In addition, these relationships are further complicated by sexual reproduction, which implies the need to form couples and take care of the offspring, and this makes it both more possible and more necessary to develop social intelligence.
The human mind has created relationships even beyond the real world, seeking to communicate with superior beings who can help us explain the thousands of questions posed by our enormous brains.
It is these relationships that have enabled mankind to colonise the entire earth.
Some animals have developed mating strategies in which stable relationships play no part.