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The Ach people, hunter-gatherers who lived in the jungles of
Paraguay until the 1960s, offer a glimpse into the darker side of foraging. When a valued band member died, the Ach customarily killed a little girl and buried the two together. Anthropologists who interviewed the Ach recorded a case in which a band abandoned a middle-aged man who fell sick and was unable to keep up with the others, He was left under a tree. Vultures perched above him, expecting a hearty meal, But the man recuperated, and, walking briskly, he managed to rejoin the band. His body was covered with the birds' faeces, so he was henceforth nicknamed 'Vulture Droppings'.
When an old Ach woman became a burden to the rest of the band, one of the younger men would sneak behind her and kill her with an axe-blow to the head. An Ach man told the inquisitive anthropologists stories of his prime years in the jungle. 'I customarily killed old women. I used to kill my aunts . . . The women were afraid of me . . . Now, here with the whites, I have become weak.'
Babies born without hair, who were considered underdeveloped, were killed immediately. One woman recalled that her first baby girl was killed because the men in the band did not want another girl. On another occasion a man killed a small boy because he was
'in a bad mood and the child was crying'. Another child was buried alive because 'it was funny-looking and the other children laughed at
We should be careful, though, not to judge the Ach too quickly.
berween who lived with them for years report that violence
Both women and men were free to no leadership at will. They smiled and laughed constantly, had
They hierarchy, were extremely and generally shunned domineering possessions, people. and were
extremely generous with their few possessions, and were not obsessed with success or wealth. The things they valued most in life were good social interactions and high-quality friendships.*
They viewed the killing of children, sick people and the elderly as many people today view abortion and euthanasia. It should also be
The Ach people, hunter-gatherers who lived in the jungles of Paraguay until the 1960s, offer a glimpse into the darker side of foraging. When a valued band member died, the Ach customarily killed a little girl and buried the two together. Anthropologists who interviewed the Ach recorded a case in which a band abandoned a middle-aged man who fell sick and was unable to keep up with the others, He was left under a tree. Vultures perched above him, expecting a hearty meal, But the man recuperated, and, walking briskly, he managed to rejoin the band. His body was covered with the birds' faeces, so he was henceforth nicknamed 'Vulture Droppings'. When an old Ach woman became a burden to the rest of the band, one of the younger men would sneak behind her and kill her with an axe-blow to the head. An Ach man told the inquisitive anthropologists stories of his prime years in the jungle. 'I customarily killed old women. I used to kill my aunts . . . The women were afraid of me . . . Now, here with the whites, I have become weak.' Babies born without hair, who were considered underdeveloped, were killed immediately. One woman recalled that her first baby girl was killed because the men in the band did not want another girl. On another occasion a man killed a small boy because he was 'in a bad mood and the child was crying'. Another child was buried alive because 'it was funny-looking and the other children laughed at We should be careful, though, not to judge the Ach too quickly. berween who lived with them for years report that violence Both women and men were free to no leadership at will. They smiled and laughed constantly, had They hierarchy, were extremely and generally shunned domineering possessions, people. and were extremely generous with their few possessions, and were not obsessed with success or wealth. The things they valued most in life were good social interactions and high-quality friendships.* They viewed the killing of children, sick people and the elderly as many people today view abortion and euthanasia. It should also be