The Yoruba and Pawnee: Religion and Production

Relates the Yoruba people of West Africa to the Pawnee of North America.

This paper compares the Yoruba people of West Africa and the Native American Pawnee tribe of the North American plains. It explains how both have traditional institutionalized systems grounded in beliefs, values, worship, and practices that can be classified as religions. Similarly, both peoples do not separate their religious conviction from what they habitually do in life. It shows how their creed affects every aspect of the way they live, either consciously or subconsciously. Religion is the prime factor that controls the fashion in which these cultures manage and sustain their societies with food, clothing, and shelter.
“The label Yoruba represents a collection of individual peoples loosely related by language, history, and religion in West Africa. The Yoruba people claim shared ancestry in Oduduwa and they developed the concept of ebi (meaning kinship) as a symbol of unity. According to Yoruba belief, the High God, Olodumare, dispatched Oduduwa from heaven to create the earth and humanity. Oduduwa descended with his delegates and arrived at Ile-Ife in northwest Africa where he completed his task. The Yoruba are, and have been for ages, typically a city-dwelling population. They farm and trade and work in business, and are an interesting society that has a combination of traditional and modern customs. The Yoruba people have an interlocking concept of religion and nature that remains with them wherever they live.”