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Peyote Hunt: The Story of Ramon and his People (Essay Sample)

Ethnography: Over the course of the three weeks, you are required to read on your own, Peyote Hunt by Barbara Meyerhoff. Peyote Hunt will be both the topic of discussion on the last day of class as well as the primary topic for the Final Exam Essay. Here is the Citation for the book: This will be one of the sources, the other can be a web-based source. Meyerhoff, Barbara, G. 1974. Peyote Hunt, The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. I am placing the order ahead of time just so that you are aware of which book it will be on. I will provide the question by Wednesday morning. source..
Peyote Hunt: The Story of Ramon and his People
No man is without culture. Culture shapes who an individual is, and in his interaction with the other members of his culture, he in turn shapes culture. It is where different important aspects of life, such as identity, language, and social relations, are learned and applied by an individual not only in the context of his culture, but also as he interacts with individuals from other cultures.
Barbara Myerhoff`s book on the Peyote Hunt, a sacred ritual, and the community of Huichol Indians is an exploratory and in-depth ethnographical study under cultural anthropology. It serves as a good example on understanding the rich yet disregarded culture of Huichol Indians through the eyes of the native Ramon and the Peyote hunt. According to Myerhoff, the purpose of the book and her interaction with the community is to help Ramon present and preserve "the power and beauty of his customs, his symbols, his stories" (Myerhoff 22)for readers from different cultures to ponder on the thought that though the Huichol Indians had been prone to different hardships this past decades to survive as a community, Ramon emphasizes that "it is not a bad thing being a Huichol" (Myerhoff 23). Ramon`s strong identification with his culture reflects the pursuit and urgency for preservation of different ethnic cultures and communities which have been forced to near extinction by modernity and Western influence.
Since the book deals with cultural anthropology, it is essential to know and explain the approach or methodology Myerhoff has used in her study of the Huichol Indians` culture in the context of the ritual of the Peyote hunt. Myerhoff made use of the ethnographic approach, a qualitative form of research which emphasizes on culture as whole. This includes the behavior and ethnicity of the members, the geographical location, and the organizational or societal structure of the community. As derived from Lavenda and Schultz`s depiction of ethnographic approaches in studying cultures, the study on the Peyote hunt utilized the most common approach, participant observation (Lavenda& Schultz 44). This approach involves the direct and active participation and presence of the researcher in the different activities indigenous to a culture, as depicted in Myerhoff`s observations on the ritual of the Peyote hunt through her direct experience of the said ritual.
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