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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The People of the Grey Bull: The Origin and Expansion of the Turkana
Author:Lamphear, John
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Kenya
oral traditions
ethnic groups
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/182237
Abstract:This article demonstrates that traditions of origin and expansion of the Turkana of northwestern Kenya represent not only a surprisingly sophisticated rendering of an extremely complex process, but also clearly point to certain factors in the development of East African pastoralism which archaeological and linguistic methodologies have only recently begun to identify. Turkana oral traditions suggest that their society had not just one, monolithic 'origin', but rather what might be seen as a whole series of them. The factors which combined to enable the Turkana to carry out their vast and rapid territorial expansion are identified. For instance, one early tradition suggests a fundamental change in their pastoral system - the acquisition of Zebu cattle - while others emphasize important commercial contacts which provided a steady flow of ironware and grain. Still others trace the development of the office of Great Diviner, revealing how it became a primary focus of economic and cultural redefinition. Notes, ref., sum.