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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Arrows and Earth Shrines: Towards a History of Dagara Expansion in Southern Burkina Faso
Authors:Kuba, RichardISNI
Lentz, CarolaISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic terms:Burkina Faso
Subjects:ethnic relations
ethnic groups
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Ethnic and Race Relations
Urbanization and Migration
Abstract:The history of the Black Volta region in what is currently southwest Burkina Faso and northwest Ghana has been marked by the agricultural expansion of Dagara-speaking groups. This article explores how and why these groups were able to expand at the expense of neighbouring segmentary societies such as the Phuo and the Sisala. Violence certainly played a role in their territorial expansion, but so did specific strategies of ritual appropriation of new territories. The Dagara system, with its characteristic fission of existing earth shrines and networks of interlinked shrines, allowed mobility and helped the migrants bring new territories under their ritual control. In addition, patriclans and matriclans as well as joking relationships, clan alliances and institutionalized friendship enabled the Dagara pioneers to recruit many new settlers within a short time. This was a crucial asset for the security of the newly founded settlements and the territorial encroachment on Phuo and Sisala lands. In addition, mobility was, and continues to be, supported by an explicit ethos of independence and autonomy. Focusing on the late precolonial period, the article looks at different stages of Dagara expansion and the changing interethnic relations. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]