Primitive Man as Philosopher

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In the beginning of my acquaintance with the Chukchee I was astonished to find that all murders are divided into two categories, those committed within the family group and those committed outside of it. Only those of the second category are liable to blood revenge. Those in the first category were exempt from it, or indeed from any punishment at all. In explanation of such a state of things the Chukchee would even quote something like a formula of customary law, "as one of their own he was treated," . . . "as a kinsman he was treated." . . . This is meant to express that each family or group knows their own circumstances best, and is able to decide about them. The Chukchee would add, "Is he destined to live on? All the same he would be killed by a stranger." . . . This implies that only bad men are murdered within the limits of the family group. In reality I know this to be true in some cases. For instance, in the country of the Oloi River, a couple of years before my visit there, a man by the name of Leivitehin was killed by his own kinsmen. He was a man of spiteful temper. He ill-treated his housemates, and was even cruel to his own driving reindeer. The Reindeer Chukchee consider the driving reindeer as first among things "dear to the heart." . . . One day Leivitehin, while on some journey, happened to kill one of his reindeer by a misdirected blow. After that his kinsmen resolved to take his life. They said, "Otherwise he will be killed by someone else and we shall have a feud on our hands." So his own brother came to his camp and at a favorable moment stabbed him in the back with a knife. The act was approved by the common consent of all neighbors, because "he was a bad one, a source of torment to others."2

2Bogoras, W.n/an/an/an/an/a, "The Chukchee," Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., Mem., 11: 663.

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Chicago: "Primitive Man as Philosopher," Primitive Man as Philosopher in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 18, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=1ZCL54TST6YXJZ8.

MLA: . "Primitive Man as Philosopher." Primitive Man as Philosopher, Vol. 11, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 18 Jul. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=1ZCL54TST6YXJZ8.

Harvard: , 'Primitive Man as Philosopher' in Primitive Man as Philosopher. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 18 July 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=1ZCL54TST6YXJZ8.