The People of Tibet

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In the southwest region of Asia lies Tibet, home of Tibetan pastoralists and agriculturalists. Anthropologist Robert B. Ekvall studied these people over a long period of time during his life: 1926-1927, 1929-1935, and 1939-1941. In addition, in the years 1961-1964, Ekvall had the opportunity to conduct research with a small group of Tibetans. Although Tibet is a relatively large area with many different people, nomadic pastoralists were the main focus of Ekvall’s ethnography.
Tibet, the southwest region of China bordered by mountains and dominated by a harsh and unfavorable climate, is where the country of Bod exists. Located northeast of Nepal and India, this is where mid-twentieth century Tibetans reside. The area is characterized as a plateau exposed to high altitudes and subject to very little rainfall with harsh high temperatures as well as brutal cold temperatures. The ecology of the land greatly influences the choices and everyday lives of its people. Tibetans are basically divided into two main categories: nomadic pastoralists and sedentary agriculturalists. Both groups rely on subsistence rather than producing a surplus because environmental factors make it nearly impossible to produce more than just what is needed.

Due to the fact that many crops cannot survive nor thrive at certain high altitudes, the agriculturalists reside in the lower-altitude regions of Bod. On the contrary, the nomadic pastoralists migrate in the
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