The Dani People

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This fighting lifestyle is also incorporated into the religion and traditions of the Dani people. According to Émile Durkheim, religions will often incorporate aspects of the community and they seek to fulfill a certain purpose among those that practice them (Durkheim 2013, 71). One example of this is that the Dani will never attack another tribe at night, and they are also confident that their village is safe from attacks during the night as well. Without any knowledge of the religion of the Dani, this would not appear to be tactically advantageous as attacking at night would provide them with the element of surprise. The reason that no attacks happen at night is the result of the idea that night is the time when ghosts roam about. The concept…show more content…
There is a story told by the people in the highlands of New Guinea tell that explains the reason why people die instead of living forever. The myth says that a race took place between a bird and a snake that would decide if people would be like snakes and be immortal, or if they would be like birds who are mortal. The bird won this race, which means that every person will must eventually die. This myth plays into their religion and everyday lives of the Dani. As Claude Lévi-Strauss says, the mythology of a community can play an important role in their lives (Lévi-Strauss 2013, 151). The story of the bird and snake’s race can be seen influencing multiple aspects of the Dani 's way of…show more content…
The feathers of birds are used for a variety of purposes, including the magic that the Dani perform. For example, at one point in the film the men are repairing one of the watchtowers used for keeping watch for attacks from other tribes. When they had completed this task a parrot feather was passed over their hands as a way to purify them. Feathers are also used to increase the speed of the healing process. When a Dani man was hurt during one of the battles, feathers were attached to a branch and ran through the village by children to prevent ghosts coming in to slowing the healing process. Feathers also serve purposes outside of magical applications. Victor Turner stated that symbols can hold a variety of meanings and purposes, and the use of feathers among the Dani are an example of this idea in action (Turner 2013, 275). The feathers are also used to help complete the Dani’s identity as birds. Feathers are worn in their hair and used to decorate elaborate head dresses that are worn for special occasions. This part of the Dani’s identity is so important to them that they will delay a battle when it is raining in order to prevent damage to their feathers. Knowing how important fighting is to the Dani highlights the importance that they put on their identities as
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