Category Archives: Tribes Series

Tribes {3} ~ North American {2} ~ The Hopi

“The Hopi people trace their history in Arizona to more than 2,000 years, but their history as a people goes back many more thousands of years. According to their legends, the Hopi migrated north to Arizona from the south, up from what is now South America, Central America and Mexico.

The tribe’s teachings relate stories of a great flood and other events dating to ancient times, marking the Hopi as one of the oldest living cultures in documented history. A deeply religious people, they live by the ethic of peace and goodwill.

The Hopi Reservation, in northeastern Arizona, occupies part of Navajo and Coconino counties and encompasses approximately 1,542,306 acres. Having inhabited this high and dry area since the 12th century, the Hopi have developed a unique agriculture practice, “dry farming.” Instead of plowing their fields, Hopi traditional farmers place “wind breakers” in the fields at selected intervals to retain soil, snow and moisture. They also have perfected special techniques to plant seeds in arid fields. As a result, they succeed in raising corn, beans, squash, melons and other crops in a landscape that appears inhospitable to farming.

Throughout the Hopi reservation, every village is an autonomous government. However the Hopi Tribal Council makes law for the tribe and sets policy to oversee tribal business.”

Source ~ https://itcaonline.com/member-tribes/hopi-tribe/

Tribes {3} ~ North American {1} ~ Navajo

The Native American Navajo tribe is one of the largest tribes of American Indians. They lived in the Southwest in areas that are today Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The name “Navajo” comes from the Spanish who called them the Apaches of Navajo. They called themselves “Dine” or “the People”.

The Navajo lived in hogans. A hogan was a domed shaped house with a wood frame and walls made out of clay. The door of the hogan always faced east so they could see the sun rise.

The Navajo were farmers who grew the three main crops that many Native Americans grew: corn, beans, and squash. After the Spanish arrived in the 1600s, the Navajo began to farm sheep and goats as well, with sheep becoming a major source of meat. They also hunted animals for food like deer and rabbits. They made dishes like mutton stew, fried cornbread, and even grilled prairie dog.

Before they started raising sheep, the Navajo wore clothes made of woven yucca plants or deerskin. The men wore breechcloths and the women skirts. Their shoes were soft leather moccasins. Later, they wore clothes woven from the wool of sheep. Navajo Rugs and Blankets The Navajo are known for their woven rugs and blankets. They first learned to weave cotton from the Pueblo peoples. When they started to raise sheep they switched to wool. These blankets were valuable and only the wealthy leaders could afford them. For this reason they were often called Chief’s Blankets. Today, Navajo rugs and blankets are still in demand and can still be quite expensive. In the olde

In days of the Navajo, the arts and crafts were divided between men and women. Women wove blankets and made clay pots while the men made jewelry. One form of jewelry that is still popular today is silver jewelry. The Navajo like to use turquoise in their jewelry as well.

The Long Walk. In 1864, around 9,000 Navajo were forced by soldiers on a march from Arizona to New Mexico. Around 200 people died during the 450 mile trek. The relocation was poorly planned and unsuccessful. Four years later the Navajo were allowed to return to their homeland.”

Source ~ https://www.ducksters.com/history/native_american_navajo.php

Tribes {2} ~ African {5} ~ San Bushmen, Kenya

The San people are one of the world’s oldest tribes, and traditionally hunter-gatherers, known as the first people of South Africa. Today their descendants are a population of around 100,000 people across Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and South Africa.

The San’s tracking skills are renowned, and they have the skills to hunt and survive in the seemingly barren lands of Southern Africa’s deserts. They are easily recognised by the unique clicking sound they make when speaking.

It is the San – also known as the Kalahari bushmen – that were responsible for the cave and rock art found across the region, some of which dates back thousands of years. They used pigments made from minerals, ochre, eggs, and blood to paint their iconic images of hunters and various animal prey.

Today the traditional lifestyle of the San bushmen is restricted to small areas around Botswana’s epic Makgadikgadi Pan, as they’ve lost the ability to cover large ranges by the creation of large national parks and increased land given over to farming and mining.

Tribes {2} ~ African {4} ~ Zulu, South Africa

With a population of around 11 million people, Zulu is the largest ethnic group in South Africa, and one of the continent’s largest tribes. The Zulu are a warrior tribe descended from East Africa, and migrated south centuries ago to find a home in KwaZulu-Natal on South Africa’s Indian Ocean Coast.

In the early 19th century the Zulu ethnic group rose into a formidable empire under the leadership of King Shaka, developing a fearsome reputation that is still acknowledged to this day. Modern-day Zulus are modern and progressive though. While traditional clothing is saved for special events like weddings and funerals, the Zulu maintain strong connections with their tradition and historical roots by giving sacrifices to the ancestral spirits to influence their lives on a day to day basis.

The Zulu are also skilled crafters, particularly their beadwork which is woven into intricate, colourful patterns that are both decorative and display meaning. The number and shape of triangles relate to the sex and parenthood status of the wearer. The colours have symbolism too, around the duality of life – for example, red signifies both love and passion, and anger and heartbreak.

Tribes {2} ~ African {3} ~ Hadzabe

The Hadzabe of Tanzania is a tribe of hunter-gatherers living in north-central Tanzania, and perhaps the last true nomadic tribe in East Africa.

Since first European contact in the late 19th century and then through various independent Tanzanian administrations there have been attempts to settle the Hadza. These efforts have largely failed, and the Hadza pursue the same way of life today their ancestors have for hundreds of years.

The Hadzabe is a relatively egalitarian society, with no governing hierarchy or status differences between individuals, and where children are reared cooperatively. Much time is spent on foraging and hunting. Women forage in larger groups for berries, fruit, and tubers, depending on availability. Hadza men usually forage individually, feeding themselves and bringing home fruit or honey when they can. They also hunt game using a bow and poisoned arrow, lying in wait overnight at watering holes.

Tribes {2} ~ African {2} ~ Hamar, Ethiopia

The Omo Valley in southwest Ethiopia is a fertile region that’s home to the Hamar. They are a pastoral tribe with a culture that places a high value on cattle. During the dry season families move to live with their herds in grazing areas, and survive primarily on milk and blood from the cattle.

They are easily recognized for their body adornment with multitudes of colourful beads, necklaces, and bracelets, and for their distinctive hairstyles, curling their hair with a mixture of ochre and butter.

Controversial practices include ritual flogging of women by their husbands to prove devotion, and the initiation rite of ‘bull jumping’ performed by boys to allow them to marry.

Tribes {2} ~ African {1} ~ Maasai

The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.

It is estimated that 1 million Maasai people live in Kenya and Tanzania but most Maasai doubt these numbers because they see the national census as government meddling and often miscount their numbers to census takers, according to the Maasai Association.

The Maasai tribe are a tribe of warriors who trace their origins from migration from Sudan to Kenya and Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley.

The tribe is nomadic in nature, choosing to stay in smaller homesteads. They build their way of life around their cattle which they insist are a gift from their god Ngai. They use the cattle primarily as a measurement of wealth as well as a source of food, even going as far as drinking the blood of the cattle for sustenance.