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Perceptions of the Environment among the Gebaliya Bedouin

  • Michael J. Reiss (a1)

Abstract

This paper provides data about how a people still in close contact with their natural physical environment, yet moving from nomadism to a sedentary (though still largely agricultural) lifestyle, perceive their environment. Drawings were obtained from children, and interviews undertaken with adults among the Gebaliya Bedouin in the Sinai desert. The drawings reveal an abundance of animal and plant life and a relative paucity of human artefacts. Wildlife and landscape evidently constitute a central component of these children's environments. The adult interviews reveal how the relationship of the Bedouin with their physical environment, though still an intimate one, has changed in the last two generations. The results are interpreted in the light of social and cultural changes among the Gebaliya Bedouin. The findings reported here may need to be heeded if attempts to preserve endangered wildlife in the Sinai desert, are to succeed.

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