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The Maasai

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by

Tennaya Carr

on 20 January 2014

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Transcript of The Maasai

The Maasai
Who are they?
They are a semi- nomadic people of the Nilotic ethnic group that live in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are widely known for their residence near the many game parks of Southeast Africa and their distinctive customs and dress.
Where do they live?
southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley
inhabit semi-arid and arid lands
occupy a total land area of 160,000 square kilometers
population and groups
the majority of the population lives in Kenya
the total population is estimated at around a million people
it is difficult to be sure because the Maasai think of the national census as governmental meddling and therefore lie about their numbers or refuse to take part in it
society is made up of sixteen sections known as lloshon
lldamat, llpurko, lleekonyokie, lloitai, llkaputiei, llkankere, Isiria, llmoitanik, lloodokilani, lloitokitoki, llarusa, llmatatapato, llwausinkisho, Kore, Parakuyu, and llkisonko
home life and roles
live in Kraals surrounded by acacia thorns to keep predators out
houses, called Inkajijik, are made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung, and cow urine
men are in charge of fencing the kraal, providing security, and herding livestock
women are in charge of making the houses, supplying water, cooking food, collecting firewood, and milking the cows
elders are the directors and are in charge of organizing the days activities as well as keeping the peace
red is an important color to the Maasai because that is the color of the land
Warriors
between the ages of 14 and 16 a young man will go through a series of ceremonies to become a warrior
the most important initiation is to undergo circumcision in front of the entire community
the boys can't flinch or give any signs that they are in pain because they need to convince the elders of that they are brave
get a month to heal and after that they become warriors
have to follow rules which include not eating meat at home to ensure that the family has enough to eat, not eating or drinking alone which allows the poorest of warriors to be fed decently, and they can't have drugs or alcohol because they need to be alert at all times
duties include helping every member of the community, taking care of the cattle, and providing protection
men are warriors for 15-20 years and then new warriors replace them
the old warriors the prepare to become elders
economy
cattle, goats, sheep, and livestock are the primary source of income
livestock can be traded for other livestock, livestock products, and cash
maasai prayer states, "Meishoo iyiook enkai inkishu o-nkera" in English: "May Creator give us cattle and children. Cattle and children are the most important aspect of the Maasai people."
diet
diet has traditionally consisted of meat, milk, and blood from the cattle
blood is drunken on special occasions- its given to a circumcised person, a woman who gave birth, or someone who is sick
on a regular basis its drunken by elders
its good for the immune system but its use in traditional diet is decreasing due to reduction of livestock numbers
they have become dependent on foods such as cabbage, rice, potatoes, and maize meal
they have also reluctantly started farming due to necessity- believe that using the land for growing crops is a crime against nature
private land ownership was a foreign concept to the Maasai
land belonged to everyone but it was divided into sections
in the 1960's and then the 80's, the British and Kenyan governments forced commercializing livestock on them
they've lost 60% of land that they would graze their cattle on due to the creation of national parks and reserves
demanded grazing rights on the parks and reserves and often ignore international boundaries so they can graze their cattle
Kenyan government tries to persuade them to give up their traditions-don't do it
becoming harder and harder to maintain their lifestyle due to the changing world around them
outside influences
Full transcript