Traveling Band Society


Queries for Organization

A band society is the simplest form of human society.  A band generally consists of a small kin group, no larger than an extended family or clan. It has been defined as consisting of no more than 30 to 50 individuals.

How are we identifying ourselves as kin or family? How do we create a welcoming space that supports connection with diverse aspects of the larger community, while we also stand out and stand in tension with the mainstream?

Bands have a loose organization. Their power structure is often egalitarian and has informal leadership; the older members of the band generally are looked to for guidance and advice, and decisions are often made on a consensus basis, but there are no written laws and none of the specialized coercive roles (e.g., police) typically seen in more complex societies.

How do we disperse responsibilities? How do we make decisions? How do we deal with cops? How do we enforce our own policies within the camp?

How do we articulate expectations up for those who might be joining us on the spot? How do we display and communicate our community agreements, vision, and goals?

Bands’ customs are almost always transmitted orally.  

We need to re-enforce our understanding of ourselves through common songs and chants and stories and poems and dance.  How do we create a sense of common counter-culture and kinship through ritual and ceremony and not through adherence to a formalized document or dogma?

Formal social institutions are few or non-existent. Religion is generally based on family tradition, individual experience, or counsel from a shaman.

How do we make sure we are moving with the spirit–and not creating another “movement” to join–(occupy, etc.) How do we make sure we are emphasizing peoples personal interactions with their desires and experiences as spiritual truth and not forcing them to understand God through the lens of a specific version of Christianity?–if we have any, who are our shamans?

All known band societies hunt and gather to obtain their subsistence.

How do we hunt and gather? (scavenging, pooling resources, potlucks, dumpsters, urban gardens, roadkill–etc.)

In his 1972 study, The Notion of the Tribe, Morton Fried defined bands as small, mobile, and fluid social formations with weak leadership that do not 1.generate surpluses, taxes or a standing army.

What ideas to we hold around commons? Does recompense to participants come as an arbitrary amount in the form of an honorarium, where everyone gets equal shares of profit… or do we give recompense on an individual basis, where those with more financial responsibilities (children, for instance) get a greater cut?


Bands are distinguished from tribes in that tribes are generally larger, consisting of many families. Tribes have more social institutions, such as a chief, big man, or elders. Tribes are also more permanent than bands; a band can cease to exist if only a small group split off or die. Many tribes are sub-divided into bands. Historically, some tribes were formed from bands that came together from time to time for religious ceremonies, hunting, or warfare.

Basically–we will be  experimenting with a sImple nomadic lifestyle as a lived example of the prophetic imagination speaking of an alternative reality to the dominant culture of death and slavery.

Our primary inspirations for this are the indigenous and traditional nature-based cultures whose lifeways we believe embody a way to practically resist the forces of empire and civilization and domination.  Our other inspirations come from folks who have lived inside the system but marginally or subversively as a counter culture–(gypsies, maroons and other escaped slaves, and the circus.)

+++++++++++ More about shared values +++++++++++++++++

Values Shared We are working with the idea of spokes on a wheel…We might think of this wheel (or it’s axel) as discipleship as resistance and then of the spokes as the various aspects that bring integrity to that work

collaboration… not coming with full answers and total control, but a readiness to see how the work has greater cohesion with others’ influence, art as sacramental experience… believing in the transformation power of creative expression and embodied, participatory community practice, healing modalities physical, emotional, and spiritual healing are intertwined… Sabbath seeking to create, facilitate, honor holy space and rest… ecological limits performing mindfulness around consumption and waste production… living lightly, questioning what is sufficient, right relationship intentionally handling conflict, being communicative (honoring your own needs and building understanding for the needs of others) having clear modes for decision making, and intentionally working against hierarchical power structures.

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