Saturday, September 06, 2008

Fear of Crunchy

Justin Smith, in his Imaginary Tribes describes the curious beliefs of the Vendyak about postmenstrual women and food preparation:

By the third week of her fieldwork, the elder Vendyak sent Hünn-Tuk to her with a request: during the preparation of meals, might the anthropologist be willing to stand waist-deep in the lake, 50 meters or so from their encampment?

“Why do I have to wait in the lake?” Pombo asked. “There are many other post-menopausal women in the encampment who only have to stay in their tents.”

“The elders say they aren’t as za’laq as you are,” Hünn-Tuk explained to her in Russian, leaving the key concept untranslated from the original Vendyak. “They say that in all the history of the Vendyak, no woman has ever possessed za’laqtak to such a dangerous degree as you.”

No comments: