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The Dogon Tribe Of Mali Cultural Studies Essay

Due to the history of African bondage in the United States I am unable to happen out my ethnicity so I have decided to make an anthropological analysis on the Dogon folk of Mali. Most of the Dogon inhabit the southwesterly portion of Mali near the southern crook of the Niger River. There are some members of the Dogon folk that live in northern Mali, but this group of people consists of pastoralists because the land is waterless and waste. The Dogon people are internationally known for their art work.

It must besides be noted that the small towns of the Dogon people vary in name, and that there exists minor differences from small town to village. An illustration is the Dogon small town of Bondum who are posterities of a militant people compared to the Arou and Dyon folks who despite their tribal beginnings still jointly use the family name Dolo.

The beginnings of the Dogon are non concrete, but the myth is that they were created by the Gods who came from the skies in a infinite ship.

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The most noteworthy history is that they migrated from Libya into Guinea, and so Mauritania due to Muslim conquerings that were seeking to change over them to Islam. Oral tradition provinces that someplace around the fifteenth century the Dogon settled near the Sanga part which is west of Bandiagara. Due to their forced migration the Dogon settled in the Cliffs of Bandiagara because it offered a defensive place from their Muslim neighbours.

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The Dogon besides moved near the Niger River merely because of its H2O resources.

The countries in which most of the Dogon unrecorded i.e. the Cliffs of Bandiagara, Bongo Plains, and the Dogon Plateau are made up of drops of sandstone, and hot and dry desert where rain is rare. The countries in which the Dogon unrecorded receive offshore air current currents that conveying fog and dew. The adjacent states around Mali are Algeria to the nor’-east, Mauritania to the West, Burkina Faso to the South, and Niger to the sou’-east. The clime ranges from semitropical to arid ; hot and dry between February and June, rainy, humid, and mild from June to November, and cool and dry from November to February. Their land resources in footings of cultivable land and handiness of H2O are scarce with merely 3.76 % land that is capable of farming. National figures for the province of Mali put irrigated land mass at 2,360 sq km with a renewable H2O sum of 100 copper kilometer. The sum of potable H2O per domestic/industrial/agricultural is a sum of 6.55 coppers km/yr ( 9 % /1 % /90 % ) with a per capita norm of 484 copper m/yr. The Dogon figure anyplace from 400,000 to 800,000, and they make up 0.02 % to 0.05 % of the entire population of Mali which Numberss 13,443,225 ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) .

The Dogon people have undergone a societal cultural displacement since the past century chiefly due to the Dogon part being a popular tourer finish in Mali. The Dogon are chiefly known for their mask dances, wooden Tellem sculptures, architecture, and being called provincial warriors in the yesteryear that dwelled in privy and detached small towns ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) .

Given the physical nature of Mali & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s land, and due to the issues of desertification, dirt eroding, and unequal entree to H2O the Dogon folk are faced with supplying nutrient. For the most portion the Dogon people & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s subsistence scheme is that of agribusiness with a little minority in the North who are pastoralist, some who may arguably be classified as gatherers, and a per centum that use industrial type techniques in doing humanistic disciplines and trades.


Villagers use the subsistence scheme of garnering non nutrient, but bat guano on the Cliffs of Bandiagara. The guano is used as fertiliser for their harvests like cotton, papaia, onions, rice, beans, baccy, and it is besides sold in the market for 4 dollars per poke. Another assemblage technique that is used which may be considered as economic, but besides as a scheme to exist is that some males of a Dogon small town will mount the top of the Bandiagara Cliffs looking for Tellem artefacts which they in bend sell to west antique aggregators. The Dogon use the engineering of rope made out of Baobab bark to mount and recover both chiropteran guano, and Tellem artifacts on top of the Bandiagara Cliffs.


The subsistence scheme of pastoralists in Dogon state is comparatively little in comparing to other subsistence schemes. This pattern is conducted in the arid and bare land of northern Mali where merely pastoralists can do a life. The most common animate beings raised are sheep, caprine animals, poulets, and some cattles. There are even some who raise bees in their small towns. Presents holding animate beings is non used for subsistence, but is a mark of economical position. It is extremely likely that the pasotralists use simple herding tools such as fencings to maintain their animate beings safely together so that they do non get away


The subsistence scheme of gardening makes up 90 % of the Dogon people & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s subsistence scheme. The Dogon people & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s chief harvests are millet, sorghum, rice, onions, beans, baccy, and oxalis, benne, maize, peanuts, yams, Sweet murphies, tomatoes, Piper nigrums, okra, Citrullus vulgariss, papaia, some figs, calabashs, and cotton. In the small town of Sangha, onions are grown, and in the small town of Kani Kombal millet is their chief harvest. The division of labour is carried out by the people of the assorted Dogon small towns. I would conceive of that the males do most of the difficult physical labour like seting, building make displacement farm land and the similar, and the females most likely take the harvests that are harvested and shop harvests in garners, lb millet, etc. I could non happen an sum of how much is produce by the Dogon people in my research, but I assume that it is adequate to feed themselves, and an ample supply to sell in the local markets.

Given the nature of the land some of the agriculture techniques are alone to turn harvests on what small land is fertile. One technique that they use is called hillside terracing is little rocks that hold pockets of Earth in topographic point. The Dogon use their bare hands to build these patios which are usually built on stony inclines, and the Dogon even make their ain subdivisions of fertile land by constructing these patios, and conveying in dirt from the exterior.

Another technique that the Dogon usage is what is called transported Earth gardens. This involves the creative activity of farming area on bare stones utilizing little rocks, and constructing an intricate web of secret plans. As stated earlier the Dogon usage dirt found elsewhere, and utilize this with other things like compost or guano as fertiliser to do these secret plans fertile for growing.

I can non state you what tools are used besides their custodies because I could non happen any information on it. I do cognize that the Dogon badly lack tools in order to better their agriculture techniques on such wastes land, but they are able to turn something out of what small they have and have been making so for centuries. I would conceive of that due to the deficiency of modern twenty-four hours tools that are used in more economically developed states the Dogon use their bare custodies, sticks, and any other agencies to delve holes, apparatus farm countries, and perchance animate beings to travel big sums of harvests in order that they can last. All of these subsistence schemes are intertwined to prolong the Dogon population, and work for the benefit of the whole.


The political relations of the Dogon are really simple in the fact that existent power lies with the Mali authorities. Granted there are minor things that the Dogon may hold control over within their small towns, authorization remainder on the cardinal authorities. The political system within the Dogon community is organized on societal position that a male has acquired within the group, and this is farther defined by descent and/or vicinity. As with many other states around the universe who are chiefly democratic in pattern the Dogon do non hold this type of political system. I assume this is because that given such a little group of people who know one another, and that their civilization emphasizes a great degree of regard towards their seniors the Dogon seem to see their head like those of Bhutan who see their male monarch i.e. great esteem and regard.

The Dogon folks are a big chiefdom of patrilinealy organized small towns where the power lies with the oldest male with societal position, and at times the 1 who is besides a descendent of person in his household that antecedently held power. Legitimacy and power is based upon societal position, age, descent, and authorization is decided by this caput head. Their whole political system is something that is seldom found because they are a privy group of people, really homogenous in civilization, and work together for the benefit of one another so there is non that demand for some signifier of centralised organisation as the West has in which power lies in the custodies of a few, and where they have supreme authorization to make as they will. I could non even find anything on struggle declaration, and this is non to state that they do non hold their jobs with one another or other small towns, but it seems that the Dogon do what it is that they do and they are at harmoniousness. I think this manner of how the Dogon do things is profoundly tied into their spiritual beliefs which I will discourse subsequently.


The Dogon usage negative reciprocality in the market topographic points which they frequent five times a hebdomad with others outside the cultural group, and western travellers in hunt of Dogon old-timers. They besides use generalised reciprocality like the trading of chiropteran guano, or baccy in exchange for other points from small town to village which creates a degree of cooperation and confederation with their neighbours. The Dogon usage market exchange to interchange what they have grown with other people, and sell humanistic disciplines and trades to foreign tourers.

As stated earlier the Dogon produce assorted agricultural merchandises chiefly to prolong themselves, and there are no Numberss available to me to find how much of this is produced and sold. Many art aggregators come in hunt of antediluvian Dogon tellem artefacts which are sold in the market topographic point to manque Indiana Jones westerners. Another facet of the Dogon economic sector is that in recent decennaries they have been opening up Lodges for tourer to remain at that even offer air conditioning and hot showers. The touristry industry has brought some economic growing, but this subsistence scheme is highly little in comparing to their chief scheme of gardening.

I could non happen out the type of currency that they use, but I do conceive of that it is at least a European based currency that is traded seeing as there are merely 20 planetary currencies used which largely consist of European based economic systems. The Dogon do non hold an import/export system in topographic point. In footings of what they sell they are largely known for their big masks, and they are besides known for their onions which are sold every bit far as the markets of Sangha. Most trading that takes topographic point is normally between other small towns, different cultural groups, and tourers.


Contemporary matrimony in Dogon folk is monogamy, but within the patrilineal system of the Dogon folk polygyny can happen. Marriage is of import to the Dogon people, but non needfully for the matrimony itself which is non played down, but the bonds that are created from one household to the. The Dogon people find divorce to be a serious matte that the full small town gets involved if there exists those who wish to disassociate from their partner. The Dogon people focus on harmoniousness non merely in their small towns, but besides in their matrimonies.

Spouses are setup in ordered matrimonies by their parents, and in the event that a divorce is permitted and the single wants another spouse it is up to that individual to take without parental engagement. Post matrimonial abode is based upon the timing of the first kid. Before the birth of the kid the married woman stays with her parents while the hubby lives in a unmarried mans abode until the babe is born. After this the married twosome moves into a vacant one-fourth which usually is within the scenes of an drawn-out household. As stated above household is of import to the Dogon people, and they strongly orient themselves on harmoniousness. As stated, the Dogon hint line of descent, and base affinity on a patrilineal system.


The faith of the Dogon people is Complex and extremely INTRICATE that a book of exceeding proportions could be written. Within the Dogon community most believe in animism, and their belief is focused on liquors called the Nommo that were with their ascendants centuries ago as they fled their Moslem oppressors. There besides exists a minority of the Dogon who pattern two monotheistic faiths i.e. Islam and Christianity.

Their spiritual patterns vary greatly due to some of the cults the Dogon associate themselves with. One called, the Awa, are a cult of the masks who are a major portion of the spiritual worship in Dogon society. The Awa have a ritual that I find interesting where merely the work forces are allowed, and their society has rigorous duties, etiquette, and a secret linguistic communication. Within this group certain immature work forces called the olubaru undergo a rite of transition, and it is their occupation to continue the traditions of the Awa.

The olubaru are initiated into what is called the Sigi ceremonial which is held every one time every 60 old ages. The ceremonial involves viz. the big ornate masks, chants, and dancing which happens four hebdomads before the seeding festival of the Sigi ceremonial, and the Dama festival which is a ceremonial held towards the terminal of the bereavement of those who have passed off ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) .


One thing that interested me is the complexness of their faith. Their three chief cults: the Awa, the Lebe, and the Binu. All of which tie themselves into the Nommo, but which all have small differences in their rites. The Awa is known for being a cult of the dead, the Lebe are focused on the agricultural rhythm, and the Binu who are totemic. All Dogon believe in God which they call Amma, and they give supplications and invocations to Amma, but most spiritual patterns are around the Nommo who are considered to be the progeny of Amma. The Dogon believe in other smaller liquors who inhabit the trees, H2O, stones, and other things in nature which makes me believe that the Dogon have a close tie to the of course universe because of their day-to-day interaction with nature in order to last. As stated above, the Dogon spiritual beliefs are complex and vary greatly from age and societal position. What I besides found out about spiritual patterns which may be in other facets of their civilization as a whole is that the adult females do non hold such complex rites as do the work forces particularly the Awa.

Something else that involvements me is that they drink beer that is made out of millet. I could non happen anything on how it is made, but I would wish to seek some of it. There was a picture that I watched which showed the millet beer as a milklike white substance, and it is served in big salad type bowls before groups of Dogon work forces. It seems to be normally consumed during an event, and it surprises me that a group of people undergo this with such similarities to other civilizations i.e. United States Super Bowl Sunday.

There is non truly much else that interested me, but I will state that I like the sensed simpleness of the Dogon people. They are a homogenous clump of people do what it is that they do, and for the most portion are cut off from the remainder of the universe. A group of people who live in harmoniousness with one another, are centered on their spiritual beliefs and patterns, and carry on with their lives whereas in the United States we live in a continual province of noise, aggressiveness, and religious hurting.


I have chosen to utilize an article that is covering with terrorist act in the part. I believe this has an impact on non merely the Dogon people, but besides the people in the part because Islam has grown in the past old ages in the country. I do non cognize the figure of Muslims among the Dogon, but Mali does posses a great figure of Muslims, and those that choose to utilize Islam as a agency to foster their ain political dockets can do regional struggle within Mali and other sub-Saharan Africa states. Sing as the Dogon largely live near the Niger River most people of course live near a beginning of H2O, and coupled with the utmost degrees of poorness that are rampant it can go a hotbed for new terrorist activity.

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The Dogon Tribe Of Mali Cultural Studies Essay. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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