The Pokot people are an indigenous tribe that lives in the West Pokot and Baringo Districts of Kenya and in eastern Karamoja in Uganda. Their main language is Pokoot and its a language of the Southern Nilotic language family “The Nilotic languages are a group of Eastern Sudanic languages spoken across a wide area between southern Sudan and Tanzania by the Nilotic peoples, particularly associated with cattle-herding. “(Wikipedia 2011, 1). Based on areal and cultural differences, the Pokot tribe is divided into two groups the Hill Pokoot and the Plains Pokot.The Hill Pokoot lives in the rainy highlands in the west and in the central south area and they are both farmers and pastoralists. The Plains Pokot lives in the dry and infertile plains, herding cows, goats and sheep. Halfway through the nineteenth century, they seem to have expanded their territory rapidly into the lowlands of the Kenyan Rift Valley due to wars between the Marakwet tribe.
In this project, I am going to learn the settlements, economic activities and the social system on this tribe that will help me to analyze the cultural ecology of a traditional African culture.In addition, it will contribute to develop my observational skills as well as my research skills of classification and to understand why there exists economic and cultural diversity in the world. The Pokot tribe are quite proud of their culture and are conservatives to hold on to it in the future generations. Generally, Pokot women wear colourful necklaces and beaded headgears, brass jewellery and big loop earrings. They also use beaded skirts to distinguish the females who have been initiated from those who haven’t.The men wear just a few wrap garments and cowhide capes and shirts that will keep them comfortable.
Pokot warriors wear red clay on their hair, special headgears of feathers. Dances are an important aspect of their culture especially during social-cultural events such as dances and ceremonies. Governing in the Pokot community is dived through a number of age-sets and association. Particular sets are determined by the age during which a Pokot goes through their initiation into that set group or society. It is typically between the ages of fifteen and twenty for the men while, it is around twelve, for he women. At old age, they obtain a certain degree of status that will give them the opportunity to take over important tribal decisions, festivals and religious celebrations, which are the duties that elders are in charge of. The Pokot tribe believes in “Tororot“ being the utmost god according to the Pokot, prayers and sacrifices are made to him during ethnic festivals and dances that are organized by their elders.
In addition, the Pokot have diviners who are in charge for maintaining the spiritual balance in their society.Pokot’s are superstitious and believe in sorcery and sometimes calling on various forms of shielding lucky charms to ward off is a part of their tradition. They also claim the sun, moon and believe in the spirit of death. The Pokot tribe we discussed in class is the plains Pokot they live in a harsh environment situated on a savannah bush bordered by the Chemoronkit Mountains.
The landscape is a small ridge of steep mountains on whose Pokot people try to get a better harvest of maize(corn), but unfortunately, the ridge is narrow and the rainfall irregular.The harsh environment of the area and the poor agriculture make it impossible to have reliable sources of food. The Pokot people often suffer from scarcity due to the lack of food for their community.
However, gold panning and aloe extraction are boosting the economy of the families. Tension is rising as it has many times before in the North, with pastoral communities engrossed in conflicts over resources. During the last two decades, the need of cash and of food has led the people to clear areas of rain forest for cultivation and to increase the production of charcoal to sell in towns.Water catchments and boreholes are good source of water that help people to settle down, be more stable and improve their security and new sources of income. Yet, the maintenance of boreholes depends on humanitarian help and the people that travel to help the Pokot tribes. Other tribes that share the same agricultural economic system are the Basseri people, which are a nomadic, pastoral tribe of the Fars region of present-day Iran.
The areas that the Basseri migrate in are the steep mountains of South, East and North Shiraz. The GDP/PPP in US dollars for Kenya is 1,784. 4 $ which is very low and the life expectancy too is very low at a rate of 55 Years.Bibliography Sources : D.
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