AFRICA | last 101 tribes (2023)

the bodyÖI myselfis the name of a semi-nomadic tribe living in the Omo Valley, about 140 km south of the city of JinkaEthiopia.

The Me'en are an ethnic group of 222,000 individuals ( 2023) living in the highlands and lowlands of southwestern Ethiopia. According to linguists' ethnographic surveys, they live in the regional state of nations, nationalities and peoples of the South, Bench-Maji area. About 1,500 of them live across the border in Sudan.

The Bodi speak the Me'en (Mym) language, which belongs to the southern branch of the Nilosahara language family.

The Bodhis are one of the ethnic groups in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia who refuse to convert to the modern way of life, preferring their indigenous pastoral tribal life. The Bodi still participates in the barter system. The people of Bodi in southern Ethiopia walk for hours to the weekly markets where they barter or buy things.

Like the Mursi, cattle play an important role in marriage, divination and naming rituals. The Bodi classification of cattle is complex, using over eight words to denote different colors and patterns. The Bodi dress is simple. Women wear goatskins tied around their waists and shoulders, while men fasten a strip of cotton or barkcloth around their waists.

Bodi women are in fashion and enjoy leaving tribal embellishment marks on their bodies. These signs of embellishment (scarifications) come in many forms, depending on the desire of the wearer. They adorn their bodies with beautiful tribal bracelets.

Every year they celebrate the New Year, 'Ka'el' (Bodi New Year Celebration) between June and July depending on the full moon and rain. This celebration is a little different from the usual New Year celebration as the tradition is to feed the young people of each Bodi village. They are fed only honey, cow blood and milk for 3-6 months (fattening process).

To celebrate the New Year, Ka'el, the Bodi tribe of southern Ethiopia, slaughter a cow. They use a huge stone and hit him on the head...then they cut open the cow, pull out the entrails for divination and drink the blood.
Feeding them blood mixed with honey and cow's milk can almost double their weight and prepare them for competition. Entrants in this contest will strip naked to be eligible to enter.

On the day of the competition, the competitors and citizens gather in Bode King's village. Traditional dances by tribal Bodi warriors are performed to the delight of onlookers. After the dance, the elders measure the contestants' bodies and decide who is the fattest winner.

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The fattest person is then declared the winner of the contest and honored with great fame in the Bodi tribe.

When a member of the Bodi tribe dies. The tribal woman screams at the spirits and sings of their death to bring peace to the soul. Bodi men perform a ceremonial funeral procession and keep the body of the deceased safe for three days. After this, the tribe will gather and eat as a sign of respect and to ensure passage to the next world.

The Bodi tribe are the friendliest, shy and accommodating people. Among the tribes of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, the Bodi have very beautiful wives, while the men tend to be very fat and have large feet.

The Bodi have a natural sense of fashion and one of the most diverse and beautiful hairstyles among the indigenous tribes of the Omo Valley.


The Me'en are believed to have originated in southern Sudan and gradually migrated to southwestern Ethiopia. However, the Me'en claim they originated near the Omo River in southern Ethiopia, where they believe their ancestors emerged from a hole in the ground.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Me'en were known to highland Ethiopians as one of the populations from which large numbers of slaves were taken. They were known for their fierceness in battle, as demonstrated by their fierce resistance to feudal Amhara troops.


The Me'en are a Nilotic group closely related to neighboring peoples with a similar language. The whole group is known as Surma.

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"The term Surma is the Ethiopian government's collective term for the Suri, Mursi and Me'en groups inhabiting the southwestern part of the country with a total population of 186,875. All three groups speak languages ​​belonging to the Southern branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family." [Tod-Wikipedia]

The Me'en are also called Mekan, sometimes also called Tishena in older literature. Other forms of her name are Men, Meqan, Mie'en and Mieken. It was reported that Tishena was the name of the highland farmer of Me'en. Recent research by SIL International reports that the name Tishena (Tishina, Teshenna, Tishana), meaning "Hello" in Me'en, is a name given by Amhara settlers and advises avoiding this name. HeEthnologyuses the name Banio for the highlanders. The Banio live in the Bachuma area.

The Bodi group are pastoralists living in the lowlands near the Omo River. Another lowland group called Koruwo are farmers. Most Me'en live in Ethiopia. New surveys conducted by SIL International in 2005 found a total population of 80,000 Me'en and 51,446 monolinguals in their Me'en language form. Among them were 4,553 Bodi.

The word Me'en means "people", "people". The Me'en are subsistence farmers and herders. They use hoes to loosen the soil and wooden sticks to sow seeds. They don't produce any significant surplus. Few details are available about Me'en.

The Me'en live in fear of the spirits that inhabit their village and the spirits of their dead ancestors. Addiction to a locally brewed beer called "Sholu" led to frequent fights that resulted in killings.


The language of the Me'en is also called Me'en. Forms of the language are named after the respective subgroups that speak that form, Banio. Koruwo and Bodi (or Podi). Some sources may refer to the Bodi as a separate people. The Bodi form of the Me'en language is also called Mela.

The Me'en dialects belong to the Surmian language family and are linguistically similar to Suri and Mursi. Me'en and its Surmian relatives belong to the south-western branch of the East Sudanic languages, related to the south-eastern branch Didinga and Murle spoken in south-eastern Sudan.

The second languages ​​spoken by the Me'en groups are Sudanese Arabic and Amharic.

political situation

The Tishena group within the Me'en community has hostile relations with neighbors Tirma and Chai. Their clashes often result in battles over territorial rights and some fatalities. The people of Dime border them to the east and have fairly peaceful relations.

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Virtually all Me'en live in small villages and settlements scattered in rural areas. Their houses are made of mud and adobe walls and thatched roofs.

The three cities in the Surma group share a similar culture with variations in agriculture and livestock. The homeland of the Me'en, Suri and Mursi peoples is remote and outside the control of the central government.

"They have a savage culture, with a penchant for stick fighting called donga or saginay, which brings men great prestige - especially important when looking for a girlfriend - and they are highly competitive, risking serious injury and the occasional death. Males are typically bald and often wear little or no clothing, even when engaged in stick fighting." [Tod-Wikipedia]

Traditional Me'en clothing was made from cow, goat, or antelope skin. Bark clothes came later. The Me'en once made their own clothing and bags from barkcloth, but this practice has declined with the availability of imported cloth. Women wear bracelets made of beads and giraffe or boar hair.

Me'en's staple foods are corn and sorghum. They also grow barley,te ef(a small Ethiopian grain), cabbage, various beans, peas, peppers, cane sugar and some tobacco. The Me'en have no access to modern transportation or agricultural services. The Me'en's primary means of transportation are horses and mules. They also hunt, gather and trade in antelope, buffalo and leopard skins.

The main source of fuel for Me'en is firewood. However, their frequency is rapidly decreasing due to constant population growth. Me'en's average birth rate is 8 children per married woman. It is estimated that four out of ten children die before the age of six.

The Me'en do not boil water for drinking or for cooking. Water in the highlands is generally drawn from the many springs that spring from the mountainsides. The lowland me'en depends on streams flowing from the highlands. There are no latrines.

A Me'en man can marry up to ten wives, depending on his wealth. However, most men have one to three wives. Women plant seeds, weeds, grind grain, prepare food, draw water, collect firewood, look after small children and clean the grounds and house. They also make their own plates, pots and pitchers; Baskets; sieves; straw and wooden containers; and turns gourds into vessels for drinking and beer drinking.

In 1989-1991 a study was conducted on Me'en medicinal practices and the way plants are used in their social rituals. This downloadable report provides a descriptive study of the main plants used and a brief description of plant use. They describe plants for building houses and household items, plants for clothing, magic plants, hungry plants, medicinal plants and ritual plants. The focus is on medicinal and ritual plants.

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The Me'en have special styles of music and dance known asVegetables. The Gulay are songs of joy about love, good harvests, family prosperity, livestock and male power. For entertainment, Me'en like to drink their own beer.

When a Me'en dies, an elaborate funeral takes place over several days. At burial, the Me'en kill cattle or goats and read the entrails to identify signs of the spirit realm. The corpse is then wrapped in leather and buried, a procedure intended to appease the spirits of the dead.


The Me'en origin myth holds that their ancestors emerged from a hole in the ground somewhere in southwestern Ethiopia. The Me'en live in fear of the many spirits they believe fill their rivers and forests. The Me'en believe that communicating with the spirit world is essential to avoiding the misfortunes of the spirits of the dead.

The Me'en also believe in a sky god named Tuma. They believe that this god created them and that he is the god of rain and fertility. They expect a holy dog ​​to intercede for them at Tuma. K'alikhas, or traditional spiritual mediums, practice divination and curse others at the behest of their enemies.


The practice of Tishana-Me'enShifting cultivation (maize, sorghum, some teff, barley, lentils, etc.)beans), animal husbandry, and hunting and gathering. Em At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century they were mainly pastoralistsshepherd people. Today they are mainly cultivators, but theirs Mobility is great. The fields change very often and the locationHousing share each year changes accordingly, although one often stays within the boundaries of an ancestral clan (morph)Rite No Me'en Villages. Trade doesn't matter: the Me'en does not produce any major export crops, except for some coffee that is purchased by non-Me'en traders for shipment to regional market centers such as Mizan Tafari or Jimma. The level of technology and the environment.this control is low. Your region is not well integrated into the larger context Ethiopian society.

in business It is mainly based on subsistence. in addition to income money is occasionally found from coffee sales just by selling cattle or honey in the five take revenge located in the Me'en area (i.e. the original Settler towns founded by Northerners in the early this century). agricultural work in corn j Sorghum campus es primarily Collective: work teams composed von Eliminate relatives and neighbors, burn and (sometimes) remove weeds fields and harvest crops in harvest season. sorghum or corn Bier (School) distributed in collective working groups is worked out by Women. During the growth of the crop, women are in charge to the fields and also to the gardens near the houses and to small shop with groceries, milk or local beer. You can own some small cattle or cattle, but fewer than males.

Is socioeconomic and kinshipwoman's roleis central to Me'en Social in many ways life, although they do not play important public roles, such as Schatz, Deputy clan/line chief, looter or diviner.
I myself social structureit is segmented. People usually identify themselves by belonging to nominal groups of patrilineal descent, or "clan". Church leaders are the elders, especially those from certain ancient clans. Former Rain Chiefs (like broken) tun Me'en lost most of their influence, although they are still important brokers for example. as compensation for murder settlements

Nowadays, in the highlands environment, is corn. compared A Sorghum, corn may yield a higher yield per crop unit Entry of land and work. It is also greatly favored by the Me'en for its sweetest taste. But once saved, it's probably more vulnerable to Insect pest variants (e.g. weevils) and mice than sorghum.
During its growth in the field, corn can no longer take any risks animal pests than sorghum, but it is much less resistant to drought.
Therefore, sorghum remains an indispensable food crop. In the past, Me'en made his main course Moos Ceremony (described by Tip-
pettt 1970:89f. as 'firstfruits' ceremony) for sorghum, as it still is also for Bodi Me'en tea and the agropastoral people of the Suri in the West
by Maji, a group with a remarkable history! and linguistic relationship with Is EU. Hallo, Is Tishana-Me'en (Life primarily em e middle montane zone, between c. 1100 and 1800 m.) hold the mostly corn ceremony because it is by far their most It is an important staple food and, as mentioned above, is considered endangered. If he the corn harvest fails, there is famine in the Me'en area and Help in such a case is rare.

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  • wodee-tripdownmemorylane
  • Orville Boyd Jenkins/ August 2012
  • ADVANCED INFORMATION / Jon Abbink/Ritual and Atmosphere: IsMoosMe'en ceremony of the Ethiopian people


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Tribal groupTotalAmerican Indian/Alaska Native alone
American Indian tribes
15 more rows

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Important tribes across the world and their homeland
  • Aleuts: Alaska.
  • Ainus: Japan.
  • Bedouin: Sahara and Middle East.
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  • Bushman: Kalahari.
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May 10, 2014

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Etiquette When Visiting An African Tribe

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