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The Maasai Tribe
 
Masai Tribe
Maasai Tribesmen Performing a Traditional Dance

This warrior tribe of nomadic pastrolists are descendants of Nilotic and Cushitic people originally from north of Lake Turkana over 10 centuries ago. Their life is dominated by their herds of their cattle and livestock. They often move hundreds of kilometers with large herds of livestock in search of water and rich pastures. Their diet is based on fresh / curdled milk and meat from their livestock. Centuries ago the Maasai were feared as ruthless conquerors and cattle rustlers who invaded other tribal areas in search of bigger grazing land and more cattle. The Maasai are also famous for drinking a mixture of cattle blood and milk during ceremonial rites. An arrow is shot at close range to punture the jugular vein of the cow. The blood is drawn into a skin gourd and later mixed with milk to be drunk by the gathering. The animal is not left to bleed but is carefully tended to, till it fully heals.Their rites and traditional ceremonies are taken very seriously, and it is not

common to allow outsiders to attend. Elders play a very important role in the community and society at large. There is then the 'moran' or warrior age group, men who have been circumcised and been initiated into this group and are expected to safeguard the herds of cattle from theft or attack.
Cattle are the mainstay of the traditional Maasai way of life, and their importance is embedded deep into the hearts and minds of these peoples. So much so that one of the traditional maasai beliefs was that God sent all the cattle down to earth only for the Maasai. This long justified their cattle rustling activites on surrounding tribes, who they believed had 'stolen' any cattle they had from the maasai. Social structures in the traditional way of life reflect the principles of a male dominated society with polygamy being a norm. Wife inheritance subject to certain conventions, was also practised. The traditional maasai dwelling , known as the 'manyatta', was infact constructed by the women, using a wooden structure and a plaster made of cowdung and mud. Several of these manyattas could form a household for a maasai family headed by the man. Although remnants of the traditional Maasai Tribesman infront of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Maasai way of life still remain, there are inevitable changes on a large scale.There are several eminent members of the maasai community in different spheres of life in Kenya. The more traditional and conservative members of the tribe still do live almost like they used to say 80 years ago, but the majority of the community is accepting change and are embracing education. Permanent settlement is also becoming a normal way of life for many Maasai.
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