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  1. A comparative dictionary of Raute and Rawat : Tibeto-Burman languages of the central Himalayas

    Fortier, Jana
    Cambridge, MA, USA : Published by the Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University, 2019 Cambridge, Massachusetts : Distributed by Harvard University Press

    Raute and Rawat are endangered languages belonging to the Raji-Raute language cluster within the large Sino-Tibetan family of languages spoken across Asia. The Raute and Rawat people are forest foragers in the central Himalayan region, living by hunting, gathering, and trade of wooden carvings to outsiders. Their remarkably conservative mother tongues contain a wealth of concepts about egalitarianism, religious animism, and aspects of forest life. Understanding these language concepts may provide a better appreciation of the cultural history of forest-dwelling peoples in Asia and a way of living that is in danger of becoming obsolete-as farming communities convert the forests to fields and people face pressure to assimilate. The dictionary provides a full description of each entry, including a provenance of its speech community, the part of speech, and a gloss in English, Nepali, and Kumauni. In addition, most entries contain an example of usage in a sample sentence, notes on cultural significance, and a meticulously studied etymology. The book provides a useful reference work with previously unpublished information about the speakers' ethnic identities and their culturally significant plants, animals, deities, and material culture.

  2. Kings of the forest : the cultural resilience of Himalayan hunter-gatherers

    Fortier, Jana
    Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, c2009.

    In today's world hunter-gatherer societies struggle with seemingly insurmountable problems: deforestation and encroachment, language loss, political domination by surrounding communities. Will they manage to survive? This book is about one such society living in the monsoon rainforests of western Nepal: the Raute. "Kings of the Forest" explores how this elusive ethnic group, the last hunter-gatherers of the Himalayas, maintains its traditional way of life amidst increasing pressure to assimilate. Author Jana Fortier examines Raute social strategies of survival as they roam the lower Himalayas gathering wild yams and hunting monkeys. Hunting is part of a symbiotic relationship with local Hindu farmers, who find their livelihoods threatened by the monkeys' raids on their crops. Raute hunting helps the Hindus, who consider the monkeys sacred and are reluctant to kill the animals themselves. Fortier explores Raute beliefs about living in the forest and the central importance of foraging in their lives. She discusses Raute identity formation, nomadism, trade relations, and religious beliefs, all of which turn on the foragers' belief in the moral goodness of their unique way of life. The book concludes with a review of issues that have long been important to anthropologists - among them, biocultural diversity and the shift from an evolutionary focus on the ideal hunter-gatherer to an interest in hunter-gatherer diversity. "Kings of the Forest" will be welcomed by readers of anthropology, Asian studies, environmental studies, ecology, cultural geography, and ethnic studies.

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