The Sherpa of Nepal Essay example

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The Sherpa of Nepal

“Sherpa”, a term derived from words meaning “people” and “east”, refers to a cultural groupthat numbers about 35,000 and whose members occupy parts of India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan (Sherpa Friendship Asscn,1999:1), though most groups are found in Nepal (Stevens 1993: 31). It is generally understood that the Sherpa came to Nepal from eastern Tibet about 500 years ago (www.rip.physics.unk.edu/Nepal/NPE 1999:2). This research paper will focus on the Nepalese Sherpa. It will explore socio-ecological aspects of their lives, including their cultural and ecological adaptations. In addition, it will highlight changes in Sherpa culture and the relationship brought about by outside influences.

Nepal is a relatively
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In addition, Tibetan Buddhists believe spirits exist in the natural world. This is manifested in their belief in regional mountain gods and in aquatic and arboreal spirits (Stevens 1993:34). The Sherpa form of Buddhism is unique in its belief in multiple gods, demons and spirits who have significant influence on human lives (Unreached Prayer Profiles,1999:1). The Sherpas do not believe in killing animals, but exceptions are made when crops or livestock are threatened (Stevens 1993:269).

Villages serve territorial, political, and ritualistic functions. These settlements consist of families who work towards conserving natural resources, aid in public peace and harmony, and assist in ritual activities (Furer-Haimendorf 1964:100). When not in the village, the Sherpas live in goths (huts inhabited while herding) which in addition to being a shelter, serves as a cultural identification for each herder (Bishop 1998:25). Socially, the Sherpa use a clan system to determine marriages and identities. This identity is inherited through the father (Sherpa Friendship Association,1999:2). Each Sherpa clan also has a mountain god whom they look to as a protectorate, creating a sense of unity within the clan (Furer-Haimendorf 1964:21-23). The clans are all essentially equal, and their members are dispersed amongst the villages

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