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Masai also known as “Maasai”, “Ilmaasai” Pitek, Emily


The Masai are nomadic pastoralists living in parts of what is now Kenya and Tanzania. This entry focuses around the year 1900, when northern Masailand fell under British control, and southern Masailand fell under German control. At this time, the Masai were known as a strong military force, and lived in villages based on an age-grade system. Lineages formed the most important social unit, and groups of lineages comprised clans. Religious and civil leaders inherited their positions through membership in high-ranking lineages. The Masai religious beliefs are centered on an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent supreme high god, 'Ng ai. Because the Masai religion permeates so many aspects of their culture, it is best considered coterminous with the society.

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