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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Enemy is Us: Eponymy in the Historiography of the Maasai
Author:Berntsen, John L.
Periodical:History in Africa
Geographic terms:Kenya
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3171654
Abstract:During the nineteenth century there was a series of raids and wars in the Rift Valley region of East Africa between groups of Maa-speaking peoples. Since the 1840s European and African observers have tended to divide the combatants intro two factions, the Maasai and the Iloikop (or Kwavi). Since the 1880s European administrators and western scholars have tended to designate the Maasai as '(pure) pastoralists' and the Iloikop-Kwavi as 'agriculturalists' or 'semi-pastoralists'. In surveying the relevant literature and in analysing the European descriptions in the light of explanations of Maasai informants, it becomes clear, however, that this orthodox dichotomy rests on a mistakenly static perception of socio-economic groups in the Rift Valley. The present author reviews the literature on the 'identities' of the Maa-speaking peoples and subjects those interpretations by outsiders to the perceptions of the Maa-speaking peoples themselves. Map, notes.