Measuring Distances - Scope Of Learning And Training
plants animals words children standard
What means were there for measuring spans or distances (e.g., such measures as length of finger-nail, or from tip of finger to wrist; span between outstretched arms; paces; a day's journey; a bow-shot)? Was it a custom to mark off a standard measure, such as a standard length, on a cord or a pole or a singletree in order to have it handy when needed?
What means are there for measuring surfaces (e.g., the spread of an ox pelt,a standard-sized mat, paces, number of paces along the length and width of a piece of land)? When is surface measurement necessary? Give the native words for surface measurements. What words are there for land areas? Does a word designate its size (e.g., one for which a standard measure of seed is needed)? How are boundaries for land ownership designated? How adjusted?
Measures Of Capacities
Are capacities measured casually (e.g., as a pinch, the content of an egg shell or a hollowed-out gourd, a handful, an armful, a load a man can carry or an animal can pull)? What native words designate these measures? Are there standard measures of capacity (e.g., a basket of certain dimensions, a section of the horn of an ox)? What native words designate these? When are standard measurements used?
When is it important to know the weight of anything? Of what things? What standards of weight are there?
Have a group of children tell you the native words for the four cardinal directions. When are these words used? In what other ways do children indicate directions (e.g., by the position of the sun, moon, stars, constellations; by breaking twigs en route so that they will point in the direction they have gone)? How are turns in a route indicated? How is the time of departure from a place en route indicated?
What do children know about signalling? How is signalling done (e.g., by means of smoke, by riding a horse in a particular way on some elevation)? Note details of each code used, and the occasion for using each particular one.
What beliefs are there with reference to the sun (e.g., its relationship to the moon, its sex, reasons for its rising and setting)? With what religious beliefs is the sun associated? With what weather predictions? Of what sex is the moon? What are believed to be the reasons for the noon's phases, and their disappearance and reappearance?
What powers, ideas, and ceremonials are associated with the, phases of the moon? How are eclipses interpreted? What powers are ascribed to them? What rites are performed during an eclipse?
Get informants to draw, on a sheet of paper or into your notebook, constellations known to them. (Later locate these on a star map and note their astronomical names--star maps can be obtained from planetariums.) Get native names for both the constellations and the stars that form them. That powers are attached to each? Which heavenly bodies are important in navigation? In planting? In other operations? Do natives distinguish planets from fixed stars? How? How are meteors regarded? Get both children and adults to relate beliefs and interpretations and tales regarding stars, meteors, sundogs, lightning, thunder, rainbows, halo around the sun and the moon, and comet.
Prediction Of Weather
How is weather predicted (e.g., by the song of birds, the croak of frogs, by winds)? Can preferred weather be produced (e.g., by shaman so empowered; by swinging hands in water while rowing on a lake)? What effects has weather on humans? Can humans because of these forecast weather?
Record all that you can obtain regarding knowledge and beliefs that children have about plant life (e.g., are plants talked to, are they inhabited by spirits, can their spirits help persons in trouble)? What difference is there in reverence shown to wild plants from that shown to cultivated ones? To what wild plants do adults lay ownership (e.g., berry patches, medicinal plants, trees)? Get native words for parts of a plant (e.g., stem, leaf, flower, bark, etc.). Get details regarding the uses of plants: Who uses what plants? In what manner? For what purpose? Which plants are used exclusively as medicine? Which in industry? Which as food? For pleasure? What plants are associated with religion? Related to fine arts?
To rituals? To magic? Which plants are used exclusively by children? Exclusively for them? Who collects plants (e.g., only women, only a certain shaman, anyone who knows the ritual connected with collecting them)? And how?
Animals In General
How do children look upon animals (e.g., view them, more or less, as brethren)? Which animals are regarded as closer to them than others? How is this known? What powers are ascribed to which animals? Which animals are believed to have a sacred character? Are the spirits of animals on a par, for example, with those of rocks, plants, and thunder? With those of man? What favors are asked of which animals, and how? That offerings are made to which animals? By whom? And why? In which animals has the tribe a special interest (e.g., such as personify their clans or gens)? In which animal is there a personal interest, and why (e.g., the one related to the vision guest)?