“The Land Grows People”: Indigenous Knowledge and Social Repairing in Rural Post-Conflict Northern Uganda by Lara Rosenoff Gauvin B.A., Concordia University, 1998 M.F.A., Ryerson University, 2009 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Anthropology) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) July 2016 © Lara Rosenoff Gauvin, 2016 ii Abstract This dissertation examines how individuals and communities “move on” after two decades of war and mass internal displacement in rural Acoliland, Northern Uganda (~1986-2008). Based upon fieldwork from 2004 to 2012, it explores the multi-generational angst regarding youth’s disconnection from, or disinterest in, tekwaro (Acoli indigenous knowledge) in the conflict and post-conflict years. Attending to the ways that everyday inter-generational practices engendered by a return to the land activate a range of social relationships and engagements with tekwaro, I assert that these interactions re-gather different generations in the rebuilding of social, political, and moral community. I first re-narrate the history of one rural sub-clan, and explore how ngom kwaro (ancestral land) is their prime idiom of relatedness. Detailing experiences of displacement during the recent war, I acknowledge the tic Acoli (livelihood work) necessary for survival upon their return to the land as a vital framework for inter-generational engagement. I then consider adults’ and elders’ preoccupation with the decline of woro (respect) and cuna (‘courtship’ processes) within the IDP (internally displaced persons’) camps. Exploring how cuna affects relations and their organization, I examine contemporary cuna processes as important frameworks for inter-generational interaction. I finally consider how the responsibilities and relationships activated through kin-based communal governance organizations (sub-clans, lineages) are key to understanding both tekwaro and relatedness, and examine the creation of one sub-clan’s written constitution as another significant framework for inter-generational negotiation, participation, and engagement. iii I emphasize that these engagements with tekwaro work to elaborate and re-elaborate relatedness, and thus serve as important practices of social repairing, grounded by communal stewardship of the land. Rather than addressing specific transgressive violences experienced during the war years, the results of this research suggest that social repair–the striving for the restoration of sociality–implicitly concerns resistance of the seeping, inscribing, relational effects of those violences. Rather, a return to the land, and the system of land tenure itself, provokes inter-generational participation that serves to make and remake relatedness, orienting social relations away from the fragmenting, unprecedented, Acoli-on Acoli violence (Oloya 2013) experienced during the years of war and displacement. iv Preface I received ethical approval for this study through The University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board (H11-03483, approved January 30, 2012) and through the Ugandan National Council for Science and Technology’s (UNCST) review processes (permit no: SS2747 and Ugandan President’s letter no: ADM 154/212/01, approved March 12, 2012). Though this dissertation could not have been written without much assistance, this dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, Lara Rosenoff Gauvin. I acknowledge the hard work of my research assistant Nyero Augustine Caesar, as well as Oyil Francis Abonga, with transcribing some of the data from audio to written form. Translation of speech and text from Acoli Luo to English was mostly done by myself, the author, in consultation with the above named assistance. The workbook ‘Tekwaro Pabwoc’ that is included as Appendix A is the result of collaborative work between myself, Nyero Augustine Caesar, Binayo Okongo, and other elders of Pabwoc. I have their permissions to reproduce the workbook here. All figures, except the following, are by the author: -Figure 8, Regional Map of Uganda. Reproduced here with permission: CC BY-SA 3.0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda#/media/File:Uganda_Regions_map.png, accessed on February 10th, 2016. -Figure 20, by Oguti Yolanda. Reproduced here with permission. -Figures 11, 18, 24, 26, 31, and 32, by Ryan Gauvin. Reproduced here with permission. v Table of Contents Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ........................................................................................................................................... iv Table of Contents ...........................................................................................................................v List of Figures ............................................................................................................................... ix Glossary ........................................................................................................................................ xi Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................... xii Dedication ................................................................................................................................... xiv Chapter 1: Introduction-What Makes Home Alive Again? .......................................................1 1.1 Photo Series Excerpt–“Ngom Pito Dano”/“The Land Grows People” .............................. 1 1.2 The Seeds of Social Repair ................................................................................................ 9 1.3 Social Repair .................................................................................................................... 26 1.4 Brief Project Overview .................................................................................................... 38 1.5 Framework: Tekwaro, Relatedness, and Social Repair ................................................... 42 1.5.1 Tekwaro as philosophy ............................................................................................. 44 1.5.2 Tekwaro as a basis of social organization ................................................................. 46 1.5.3 Tekwaro as practice .................................................................................................. 54 1.5.4 The land as primary metaphor of relatedness in rural Acoli ..................................... 62 1.6 Chapter Outlines .............................................................................................................. 66 1.7 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 69 Chapter 2: Research As Relationship-Ethos and Methodologies ............................................72 2.1 Introduction–Obligation ................................................................................................... 72 vi 2.2 Being Me in Acoliland ..................................................................................................... 75 2.2.1 2004: When the sun sets… ....................................................................................... 84 2.2.2 2005: “Roco Wat i Acoli” (Restoring relations in Acoli) ......................................... 88 2.2.3 2006-2008: After the cease-fire ................................................................................ 89 2.3 Pabwoc Sub-Clan and Villages ...................................................................................... 104 2.4 Methodologies ................................................................................................................ 107 2.4.1 Pabwoc East village ................................................................................................ 109 2.4.2 The youth group ...................................................................................................... 118 2.5 Analysis.......................................................................................................................... 122 2.6 Conclusion: Research As Relationship .......................................................................... 124 Chapter 3: Ngom Kwaro (Ancestral Land): “We Are Sons and Daughters of Bwoc” ........127 3.1 Introduction–Home Fires Finally Burning Again .......................................................... 127 3.2 History of Pabwoc (Tekwaro Pabwoc) .......................................................................... 136 3.2.1 Looking for the ancestors ........................................................................................ 136 3.2.2 The scattering of Bobi ............................................................................................. 144 3.2.3 Pabwoc in contemporary times ............................................................................... 147 3.3 “Moving Up and Down Unsettles the Mind” ................................................................ 151 3.4 Gang–Village, Home ..................................................................................................... 159 3.5 Pabwoc in 2012, 3 Years After Return .......................................................................... 168 3.5.1 Kit me kwo–ways of life ......................................................................................... 174 3.5.2 Tic Acoli–Acoli work–as social repair ................................................................... 178 3.6 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 190 Chapter 4: Woro (Respect): “You Say It Is a Violation of Your Rights” .............................193 vii 4.1 Introduction–Respect ..................................................................................................... 193 4.2 “Woro pe!”–“There Is No Respect!” ............................................................................ 196 4.3 Cuna–Traditional Courtship .......................................................................................... 200 4.4 Cuna, Obligations, and Privileges .................................................................................. 207 4.5 Woro, Cuna, and the IDP camps .................................................................................... 212 4.6 Contemporary Engagements with Cuna ........................................................................ 220 4.6.1 Beatrice and Kilama ................................................................................................ 220 4.6.2 Fiona and Augustine ............................................................................................... 223 4.6.3 Other cuna considerations ....................................................................................... 228 4.7 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 232 Chapter 5: Kaka, the Sub-clan: “I Would Have Marched With My Kaka Too” .................235 5.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 235 5.2 A Very Terrible Story .................................................................................................... 244 5.3 Responsibilities and Relationship .................................................................................. 250 5.4 The “Bracketing Away” of Wartime Violence From Social Relations ......................... 258 5.5 “Streamlining Indigenous Knowledge” and Land Rights .............................................. 265 5.6 The Constitution of the Bobi-Pabwoc Foundation ........................................................ 275 5.7 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 284 Chapter 6: Re-membering After War and Displacement ......................................................286 6.1 Introduction–Re-membering .......................................................................................... 286 6.2 Contributions ................................................................................................................. 291 6.3 Future Research ............................................................................................................. 299 6.4 Final Words and Reflections .......................................................................................... 302 viii Bibliography ...............................................................................................................................305 Appendices ..................................................................................................................................357 Appendix A Tekwaro Pabwoc Workbook .............................................................................. 357 Appendix B Household Survey Guiding Questions ............................................................... 386 Appendix C Timeline: National Politics, Omono Justo Langoya’s Family’s (the Author’s Host Family’s) Major Life Events, the Author’s Visits. ................................................................. 389 ix List of Figures Figure 1- Acan Almarina and Omono Justo Langoya. Pabwoc, 2012. ........................................... 2 Figure 2- Ataro Santina. Pabwoc, 2012. ......................................................................................... 3 Figure 3- Alal Rose. Pabwoc, 2012. ............................................................................................... 4 Figure 4- Aceng Beatrice, Kilama Amos, and Vita Kisumu. Lotibol, 2012. .................................. 5 Figure 5- Oguti Yolanda. Pabwoc, 2012. ....................................................................................... 6 Figure 6- Anjello Ludega and Cecerina Ludega. Laguri, 2012. ..................................................... 7 Figure 7- Aparo Beatrice. Pabwoc, 2012. ....................................................................................... 8 Figure 8- The Republic of Uganda. .............................................................................................. 12 Figure 9- Aceng Beatrice in front of her hut in Padibe IDP Camp, 2006. .................................... 14 Figure 10- Padibe East and West Sub-counties, Lamwo District, Republic of Uganda. .............. 15 Figure 11- Wang oo. Pabwoc, 2012. ............................................................................................. 71 Figure 12- Aceng Beatrice shares seeds with her camp neighbours. Padibe IDP Camp, 2007. ... 91 Figure 13- Aceng Beatrice waits in line with her brother to collect food rations from the WFP. Padibe IDP Camp, 2007. ............................................................................................................... 91 Figure 14- Nyero Augustine Caesar, Padibe Boys School. Padibe IDP Camp, 2008. ................. 92 Figure 15- Aceng Beatrice’s extended maternal family’s homestead. Panyinga, December 2007........................................................................................................................................................ 95 Figure 16- Acan Almarina (Mama) shows us how to light the cooking fire. Padibe IDP camp, 2008............................................................................................................................................... 97 Figure 17- Approaching a homestead in Pabwoc, 2012. ............................................................ 105 Figure 18- Acan Almarina looking at a rainbow in her homestead. Pabwoc, 2012. .................. 109 x Figure 19- One of three main roads in "the center". Padibe Town Council, 2012. .................... 110 Figure 20- Augustine and author conducting the village survey. Pabwoc, 2012. ...................... 114 Figure 21- Diagram of Kaka Bobi Clan. ..................................................................................... 139 Figure 22- Aceng Beatrice squeezes between huts in Padibe IDP Camp, 2006. ........................ 155 Figure 23- The “new” road that bisects Pabwoc, 2012. .............................................................. 168 Figure 24- Borehole in Pabwoc West, shared by all residents of Pabwoc. Pabwoc, 2012. ........ 170 Figure 25- Acan Almarina and Omono Justo Langoya's Homestead’s Residents, 2012. .......... 171 Figure 26- Three of the ten houses in Acan Almarina and Omono Justo Langoya's homestead. Pabwoc, 2012. ............................................................................................................................. 172 Figure 27- Sketch of the homestead of Omono Justo Langoya and Acan Almarina in Pabwoc, 2012............................................................................................................................................. 172 Figure 28- The graves and wang oo area in Acan Almarina and Omono Justo Langoya's homestead. Pabwoc, 2012. .......................................................................................................... 173 Figure 29- Okot in his tobacco field in the gardens. Pabwoc, 2012. .......................................... 179 Figure 30- Harvesting millet, Lugoyo gardens. Pabwoc, 2012. ................................................. 181 Figure 31- Ox-plough. Pabwoc, 2012. ........................................................................................ 182 Figure 32- Foraging mushrooms on the homestead. Pabwoc, 2012. .......................................... 185 Figure 33- Bringing firewood home in the dry season. Pabwoc, 2012. ...................................... 188 xi Glossary cuna courtship gang home, village kaka chiefdom, clan, sub-clan, or lineage structures. Refers to a kin-based heterarchical affiliation. Used interchangeably by residents of the Padibe sub-counties. kit me kwo ways of life ngom kwaro ancestral lands ribbe kaka clan, sub-clan, lineage unity tekwaro indigenous knowledge. Usually translated by others as culture, history, tradition, or oral tradition. tic work (tasks) wang oo literally, the fireside, fireside chats woro respect xii Acknowledgements I am grateful to many for the support, strength, and spirit, which went into this work. First of all, apwoyo matek to the community of Pabwoc! You have been generous, kind, and patient teachers. I also need to thank my lapwony madit, my supervisor Dr. Patrick Moore, for convincing me to attend the University of British Columbia (UBC) and for believing in me, and my work, throughout these years. Without your unfailing support, I surely would not have had the heart to complete this work. I am also grateful to Dr. Erin Baines; you are an inspiring co-conspirator, cheerleader, and provocateur. Dr. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá; you drew me to UBC, and your continued engagement and investment in my work and my person is so appreciated. Dr. William McKellin, you are a wonderful ally, and I am so grateful for your understanding, for your generosity and assistance, and for your confidence in my capabilities. Thank you all for standing by me. I would also like to acknowledge funding support from the following donors without whom this work would not have been filled with the profound possibilities which it was: The Bottom Billion Fieldwork Fund, Liu Institute for Global Issues (UBC); Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral (SSHRC); The Trudeau Scholarship, The Trudeau Foundation. To my fellow students and colleagues within the Department of Anthropology and at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, thank you for inspiring me, supporting me, challenging me, and making me feel part of a larger community of people who care about the world in which we live: Marlee McGuire, Laura Lee, Beth Stewart, Brenda Fitzpatrick, Sara Kormanisky, Oralia Gómez- xiii Ramírez, Denise Green, Tal Nitsan, Enyoung Choi, Shayna Plaut, Asha Kaushal, Chris Tenove, Ricardo Chapparo-Pacheco, Katherine Fobear, Dada Docot, Gloria Kendi Borona, and Mascha Gugannig. To my friends and colleagues from the Trudeau Foundation, who have stoked my fire and encouraged positive ‘irreverence’, thank you! Most especially, Alana Gerecke, Danielle Peers, and Zoe Todd. To Juliane Okot Bitek, you have enduringly supported my work and person. Thank you for your love, insight, and for holding me up! To Jenifer Wolowicz whose weekly “shut up and write” sessions were simply invaluable- we were in it together! Thank goodness. Seriously, thank you so much. To Martin and Illone Utian, whose hospitality often allowed me a quiet space to work. Thank you for taking me in. To Aceng Beatrice, whose generosity implicated me in her life and changed the course of mine. Apwoyo Matek Aciro! To Mom, Dad, Hélène, Norm, Mark, Sharon, and my siblings, thank you for your unconditional love. To my sister Valerie, thank you for always believing in me. To Nana (Sharon), thank you so much for taking great care of Ambrose while I dedicated my time to this project. Your support means, and does, so much! And finally, to my husband Ryan and son Ambrose, I could not have done this without your understanding, participation, encouragement, sacrifice, and love. You are my everything. I love my boys! xiv Dedication To Acan Almarina and Omono Justo Langoya. 1 Chapter 1: Introduction-What Makes Home Alive Again? This thesis is about how communities “move on”, rebuild, restore relations, and perform social repair after war and mass displacement in the rural Padibe sub-counties, Northern Uganda. I explore here how a return to the land, and the system of customary land tenure, provokes kin-based inter-generational interactions that serve to engage multiple generations in the negotiation, elaboration, and learning of tekwaro, Acoli indigenous knowledge.1 I understand these engagements with tekwaro as processes that serve to make and remake relatedness, both historically, and in the contemporary context. Re-elaborating relatedness itself is understood as social repairing, and thus concerns the refusal of the war-violence’s power and capacity to fragment social relations. 1.1 Photo Series Excerpt–“Ngom Pito Dano”/“The Land Grows People” The following photographs are excerpts from a series of “self-portraits” co-created with residents of Pabwoc (and some from Padibe). They are included here to both introduce the work, and some of my main interlocutors, and to represent how community members wanted to “picture” themselves in their own photo albums, and on their own walls. 1 Although the Acoli word tekwaro is generally translated as “culture”, the word itself has a large semantic range (not unlike in English)—it literally means “under the ancestors”, and the Acoli concept itself often includes history and tradition as well. I use the term “indigenous knowledge” in places throughout the dissertation to more accurately represent the Acoli concept in English. A more complete conception of tekwaro, and a theoretical exploration of its translation as indigenous knowledge is explored in section 1.4. 2 Figure 1- Acan Almarina and Omono Justo Langoya. Pabwoc, 2012. 3 Figure 2- Ataro Santina. Pabwoc, 2012. 4 Figure 3- Alal Rose. Pabwoc, 2012. 5 Figure 4- Aceng Beatrice, Kilama Amos, and Vita Kisumu. Lotibol, 2012. 6 Figure 5- Oguti Yolanda. Pabwoc, 2012. 7 Figure 6- Anjello Ludega and Cecerina Ludega. Laguri, 2012. 8 Figure 7- Aparo Beatrice. Pabwoc, 2012. 9 1.2 The Seeds of Social Repair I returned to Pabwoc in April of 2015. It was my first visit since my main period of fieldwork for this project in 2012, two and half years earlier. A lot had happened in those years. In Canada, my husband, Ryan and I had a son, Ambrose, and I was writing the chapters you are reading now. In Pabwoc, my host family (Omono Justo Langoya, his wife Acan Almarina, their children, and Omono’s two sisters Ataro Santina and Rose Alal) had changed too. They had fresh-built grass thatched-roof houses in their homestead, a new granary, more livestock, and first babies were born to Augustine (my host family’s eldest son and research assistant) and his wife, Ojara (my host family’s second eldest son) and his wife, and to Docus, my host Auntie Santina’s daughter. Time had passed. It was now six years since my host family left Padibe Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camp to which they were forced to flee during the war between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and President Museveni’s Government and military (UPDF). During the war, they–like 100% of the rural population in Acoliland–were pressured by LRA and UPDF violence to abandon their homes. Camp life was not like home, and home (gang) had turned into something else. Home is dead and its dead are silent. We are in the camp. Home is dead. Who do you find in it? Acoliland is dead silent. Home is dead. 10 Our large homestead has turned into bush. The large grazing land has turned into bush. Home is dead. -Excerpt from a song by Murugut, local songwriter from Patongo, Pader District.2 The LRA-Government war is particularly rooted in events that occurred in 1986 in Uganda, when President Museveni and his National Resistance Army (NRA) finally seized power from Tito Okello after a five-year guerilla war. 3 Acoli men who had served in the Acoli-dominated United National Liberation Army (UNLA) army under defeated Milton Obote, and then Tito Okello, fled north to their homeland to escape NRA retribution (Branch 2011). This indeed came in the form of a military campaign by Museveni’s newly named National Resistance Movement (NRM) against “opposition” in the north. Defeated soldiers took to the bush to form a new rebel group, the Ugandan People’s Defence Army (UPDA). By 1988 however, an agreement signed between the NRA and the UPDA led to the demobilization and return of some UPDA, but others retreated further into the bush to re-group (Baines 2015a). Some joined Alice Lakwena, who fought what has been called a “Holy War” against the NRA, reaching Jinja District before defeat (Behrend 1999). Some former Acoli troops then reorganized, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, becoming the 2 As part of this study, Francis Oyil collected and translated local songs composed about war and camp life throughout Northern Uganda. 3 However, the roots of the war is often attributed to the British Colonial administration of Uganda, and its enduring legacy of divisive ethnic politics manifest in successively violent post-colonial government changes (Baines 2015a, Branch 2011, Finnström 2008). Chapter 3 contains a more in-depth discussion of Colonial intervention in Uganda, specifically in the Padibe sub-counties. 11 Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (Doom and Vlassenroot 1999, Van Acker 2004). The LRA soon found fertile bases for themselves in Southern Sudan, which had been plagued by war since 1983, when the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) began fighting the Khartoum government. The Sudanese government in Khartoum allied with the LRA, as the Government of Uganda openly supported the SPLA (Apuuli 2011). The LRA-Government war has been characterized by many people I met in Acoliland as “squeezing civilians” from both sides. Children and youth were targeted by the LRA and forced to porter, work, fight, abduct, kill, or harm civilians (Baines 2015a). LRA attacks and raids on homesteads were frequent, as punishment or warning to civilians who were seen as “collaborating” with Government (see for examples, Amony 2015, JRP 2012). On the other side, by the height of the conflict (2003–2005), as many as 1.3 million Acoli were forcibly relocated by Government to IDP camps and were unable to access their residential and agricultural lands (Bøas and Hatløy 2005). As will be further explored in Chapters 3 and 4, massive international non-governmental organizations (NGO) interventions tried, yet failed, to respond to the burgeoning needs of the displaced population; including food, water, medical services, and sanitation facilities (Branch 2011, Dolan 2009). Since my host family was first displaced from their land in 1997 as a result of nearby LRA massacres,4 their livestock has been raided by Government soldiers, the immediate family narrowly escaped from LRA attacks several times, their fruit orchards were burned (people 4 I discuss more fully the reasons and details of this displacement in Chapter 3. 12 are unsure of who actually did the burning), their sister was killed in an LRA attack, extended family members were abducted by the LRA, and they experienced years of extreme poverty, hunger, and disease from Government’s policy of forced displacement to the so-called “protected villages” (Allen and Vlassenroot 2010, Dolan 2009), in their case, to Padibe IDP camp. Figure 8- The Republic of Uganda. Showing the location of Pabwoc, in the Padibe East and West sub-counties, Lamwo District, Uganda. 13 When I first visited Northern Uganda in 2004 (as a photographer), close to the height of the war, 100% of the rural population in Acoliland was displaced to IDP camps like Padibe, where overcrowding, lack of sanitation facilities, and inadequate foodstuff led to emergency level excess mortality rates, over 1000 deaths per week (UMH 2005). While Government maintains that the IDP camps were there to protect the population from LRA attacks, many scholars hold Government responsible for the high death rates and inhuman living conditions, and call the camp conditions genocide (Otunnu 2006, Obote 1990, Whitmore 2010), a form of social torture (Dolan 2009), and a violation of international humanitarian law (Okello and Hovil 2007:437).5 I first met my host family on my third visit to the area, amidst these conditions, in Padibe IDP camp in late 2006 (as a photographer/researcher).6 Huts were built so close together that their thatched roofs touched and you could barely squeeze between them. Despite the ceasefire announced two months before, the family was still unable to access their gardens for fear of persistent LRA violence and Government’s military (UPDF) intimidation, and they were almost entirely dependent on World Food Program (WFP) aid for subsistence. Poverty was visually striking in the camp, and the smell of underserviced and overcrowded 5 There was also discussion amongst academics of the international community’s complicity in the terrible conditions that caused egregious harm (Branch 2008, 2011, Dolan 2009). 6 I have been visiting Acoliland since 2004 and have spent a cumulative period of 14 months in the area. I will details these visits, as well as the circumstances of these visits, in Chapter 2. Please see the timeline graphic, Appendix C, for quick consultation. 14 conditions belied the high rates of cholera, typhoid, and respiratory illnesses (UMH 2005, ARLPI 2001).7 Figure 9- Aceng Beatrice in front of her hut in Padibe IDP Camp, 2006. A fire earlier in the year had torn through the camp, burning most residents’ possessions and their straw-thatched roofs. In comparison to the abductions and extreme brutalities inflicted by the LRA, including massacres, forced killing, beatings, the looting of foodstuff, and the night commuting phenomena,8 the plight of the internally displaced population during and after the war has been given less attention and consideration (Porter 2013:20). However, the years of forced displacement had profound consequences on Acoli society. 7 A more detailed account of the family’s experiences during wartime is recounted in Chapter 3. 8 “Night commuters” was the term given to tens of thousands of children who commuted to town centers from peri-urban areas for nightly protection from LRA brutalities. The LRA would often attack (and abduct) at nighttime. 15 I am concerned here with these consequences, and in learning how war-affected individuals and communities in rural Acoliland conceptualize and address these transformations to “move on” with their lives after their experiences in the IDP camps. How they return to a “dead home” and make it living again. To do so, I situated myself within one rural village (Pabwoc), in Padibe West sub-county, Lamwo District, Uganda.9 Figure 10- Padibe East and West Sub-counties, Lamwo District, Republic of Uganda. Showing the locations of Pabwoc, and Padibe Town Council (also referred to as 'the center', the former Padibe IDP camp, and Padibe trading center). 9 Lamwo district was created in 2009, and was part of Kitgum District during the war years. The district itself borders South Sudan, has a population of 170 033, and a low population density of 30 people per km2 (Human Rights Focus 2013). 16 I learn about survivors’ “assumptions” regarding social relations (Strathern 1992:3), and explore how Acoli people believe the war and displacement affected these relations. Because of residents’ emphasis on the war and displacement’s impact on tekwaro, I specifically dwelled on contemporary moments, events, and practices that re-activate inter-generational engagement with tekwaro, generating participation in the creation and re-creation of people’s own social, political, and moral communities, their kaka, or after Oloya, their kin-based communal governance organizations (lineages, clans, chiefdoms)10 (Oloya 2015:02). I have learned that these practices are engendered by a return to the land, and to the customary system of land tenure that itself provokes and hosts these interactions. I have come to appreciate these practices as important sites of social repairing in rural contexts because of how they re-orient social relations away from the fragmenting effects of the war violence experienced. In considering what “social repair” means, I was having a conversation with Omono Justo Langoya (the father of my host family, hereafter Baba) about seeds on my recent visit in 2015. My husband wanted me to ask for some of Acan Almarina’s (the mother of our host 10 I translate kaka terms that account for relationship in kin-based communal governance organizations today in Padibe, rather than common anthropological models that hold that a clan is an association of agnates that may not have common descent, while lineages all have common descent. Using the recounting of Pabwoc’s history, I call their apical ancestor group the clan, which includes non-genealogically linked sons. I call all those sons’ groups (genealogic and through allying and adoption) of the apical ancestor, the sub-clans. I further call the sub-clan’s sons’ groups (all genealogically linked) lineages. Descending from the apical ancestor then, is clan, sub-clan, and lineage. A larger group that includes clans is further called a chiefdom. These English terms are, as seen, not the best suited to descriptions that are fluid over time. Kaka fits better as a description for all these kin-groups that connotes heterarchical alliance and relationship. Residents often use “clan” in English to denote these various levels of kin-based communal governance, and I retain their references in the quotations. 17 family, hereafter Mama) millet–wondering if her heirloom seeds would grow in Canada. I talked with Baba about “heirloom” seeds, what that meant, and then I wondered about seeds after the IDP camps. Mama grew most of the family’s foodstuff (about 90%), and it takes quite a lot of seed to reap a good harvest. It also took quite a few planting seasons to procure enough to feed the whole family. I knew that some NGOs gave people seeds to help them return to their land and their subsistence farming way of life upon leaving the IDP camps, but I wondered if individuals and families were able to conserve any of their own “heirloom” seeds from before the war and forced displacement. Baba answered in a way that I have not forgotten. In the dark warm house, his face lit by a battery-powered lantern, he said: You see, here in Acoli, even if a house is completely destroyed, and you cannot see any ruins of the house even, beneath where the old house stood you will find enough seeds to start planting again. Even if the bush has grown over it, you must remember where it was and dig down, especially under the kitchen house of course, and there the seeds will be. You see, some fall while grinding, and also the ants, they are very important, they take the seeds, and store them underground in the land. This dissertation explores processes of social repair, looking to how everyday practices of quotidian labour, survival from the land, and the organization of social relations mix into each other in the ways that people rebuild and re-create life and living after upheaval–where the seeds of social repair are found and the ways in which they are used to make 18 home living again. According to Pilar Riaño-Alcalá, social repair is “the set of actions and processes that individuals mobilize to reconstruct social relations, negotiate strategies for coping with violence, and to get on with daily life” (2015:284). I learned that the practices and actors that actually work to repair social relations in rural Padibe are deeply embedded in processes that are aimed at successful subsistence, and living “in community” on the land in the present and future, but less concerned with addressing specific conflict or displacement breaches and violences from the past. I take relationships, and thus the ways in which people understand and articulate how they are related, as a main analytic tool in this study to understand social repair. Relatedness, specifically Janet Carsten’s notion of indigenous idioms of relatedness (1995, 1997, 2000), allows for the centering of relations between people living, past and future, and between people and their physical environment, including ants, humans, and seeds. Understanding that the land itself is the main symbol of relatedness–of kinship, or how people are related and what being related does–in rural Acoli becomes my frame for attending to the practices which individuals and communities engage in as they “move on” after war and upheaval, how they practice and re-elaborate that relatedness, and how that relatedness works as social repair. My interest in social repair in Acoliland first emerged in tandem with the displaced community’s own concerns.11 On my fifth visit to Northern Uganda in 2008 (as a photographer-researcher), I was staying next door to my host family in Padibe IDP camp. 11 This immediate post-war description is borrowed in part from Rosenoff Gauvin, Lara. 2013. In and Out of Culture: Okot p'Bitek's Work and Social Repair in Post- Conflict Acoliland. Oral Tradition. 28(1): 35-54. 19 At that time, the ceasefire of the previous year and a half had changed things considerably. People all over Acoliland had begun to return to their villages after a decade or more of forced displacement into squalid camps. Like much of the rural population who had been forcibly displaced, my host family was planning to return to their ngom kwaro (ancestral land) at the end of the year. Bush was finally being cleared, seed was being sown, boreholes were being checked, and houses were being built. At the same time, however, Acoli men, women, children, and youth struggled to deal with the past two decades of war, abduction, suffering, poverty, and internal displacement.12 Children and youth who grew up dependent on humanitarian aid in the congested camp were being reintroduced to “normal” village life primarily based on subsistence agriculture. Youth who were able to escape from the LRA continued to struggle to reintegrate into their families and villages, or adapt to town life. Kin organizations (lineages, sub-clans, clans, chiefdoms) tried to cope with the effects of the decades of violence, internment, and destitution as re-settlement began and land conflicts were common (Atkinson and Hopwood 2013, Whyte et al. 2012). Food was not yet plentiful. Thousands of people, mostly youth, were still missing with their whereabouts unknown.13 Thousands of deaths had not been properly mourned. 12 Other peoples were also affected by the war, namely the Lango and Iteso in Uganda (and communities in DRC, South Sudan and CAR), but I keep my references here to Acoli individuals and communities in rural Acoliland, Northern Uganda. 13 A report released by CAP (2012) estimated that there were still 1036 children or youth missing from Gulu District alone. 20 While relieved from the threat of armed violence, and the confinement, hunger, and disease of the IDP camps, many of the rural youth I spoke with expressed anxiety about their disconnection from tekwaro Acoli, what I will translate here as Acoli indigenous knowledge, but what is generally translated as culture, history, or tradition. They admitted that they did not know, and in many cases, did not want to know, Acoli kit me kwo (ways of life) after life in the displacement camps. Their general angst was shared by many of the adults and elders who feared that youth who had grown up only in the IDP camps didn’t know, or were “out of” tekwaro. Some said that the youth were labongo ngeno tekwaro (lit. without trust in indigenous knowledge, or the ancestors). Enoji Onguti, a blind elder I spoke with that July, the oldest man in the Padibe sub-counties, told me that tekwaro, Acoli indigenous knowledge, was not “destroyed” or “made to get lost” by the war and camps, as many have asserted, but that it is just that the youth, and many others, are not “within it” anymore. Luckily, he added with a smile, they can come back within it anytime. When questioned by a curious and stubborn anthropologist (myself), others expressed that although the problem is expressed as lying with youth, youth’s estrangement from tekwaro actually belies adults’ and elders’ disengagement from tekwaro as well, because, as Rwot Madi explained to me while visiting a neighbouring village, “it is up to adults and elders to teach the youth. When people talk about youth being out of tekwaro, it is not really the failure of the youth, but of the adults and elders.” A 16 year-old girl, Apiyo, who was visiting with us, also added, that “it is very difficult (to learn tekwaro), because the youth of today don’t have anyone to guide them.” A mother of seven likewise expressed to me that people should not blame the war for the problems with youth, that blaming does nothing, that it is 21 really up to the elders to start teaching again. Even youth and young adults reflected on this, as did Oyil, a 35 year old father of three, one evening around the fire: “war has really eroded tekwaro because we do not have elders around. Even me, I cannot tell about tekwaro. Because I was too young in the war. All of us should be blamed.” It was intriguing that rural elders, adults, and youth repeatedly used the concept of youth’s disconnection from, or ignorance of, or disinterest in and refusal of tekwaro, Acoli indigenous knowledge, to communicate their immediate post-conflict reconstruction and/or reconciliation concerns. These expressions were particularly different from fierce debate in policy, academia, and urban Ugandan civil society regarding the capacity and possibility of extending national amnesty laws and using “traditional” Acoli justice mechanisms in addressing violent crimes from the war (Allen 2007, Armstrong 2014, Baines 2007, Finnström 2010, JRP 2005, Komakech 2012).14 Yet, as corroborated by other scholars working in Acoliland, high levels of inter-generational angst regarding tekwaro monopolized popular discourse at that time. Kristen Cheney in her Northern Ugandan chapter about Ugandan children, speaks about how the circumstances of war and displacement have completely overturned the inter-generational social structure of the Acoli, and noted that elders, parents and counselors alike complained that the war was destroying Acoli culture (Cheney 2007:200). “Whether 14 The issuing of five arrest warrants to the LRA’s top commanders (including Kony) by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2005, and its implications to the viability of the Juba Peace Process which began in 2006, provoked much of this debate (see Apuuli 2004, 2006, 2008). 22 or not people who lament this loss of tradition and family are idealizing the past, their assertion of loss indicates a deep cultural anxiety over the fate of inter-generational relationships” (201). Opiyo Oloya, a scholar, educator and journalist, writes in an article for a Ugandan national newspaper of the loss of Acoli education from the circumstances of war, leading him to declare that one of the biggest tragedies from the war was “the death of culture” (2002). The Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative likewise spoke of a “collapse of cultural and moral values” (ARLPI 2001:17). Chris Dolan (2009), in his investigation of the displacement camps as a form of social torture by Government, explores what he calls “cultural debilitation”, which refers to how people living in IDP camps within the war zone experienced overcrowded living conditions as “vectors not just for bacteria and viruses, but insofar as they resulted in various practices which would not have been tolerated under other circumstances, as vectors for social breakdown and moral disintegration” (169). Sverker Finnström, in his work on Acoli cosmology in wartime, notes that “young men and women complained that there is no guidance from more senior people, while older men and women saw few possibilities to guard and guide the youth. Thus traditional values, cultural knowledge, and social institutions of everyday life are threatened” (Finnström 2008:146). There is some relevant insight from further afield on what is now known as the African continent that explores the effects of war and displacement on both indigenous knowledge, broadly conceived, and inter-generational relations. Alice Honwana (2005), for example, describes how the wars in Mozambique and Angola created what she calls a “crisis in moral 23 values”, linked to a breakdown in the institutional initiation of youth into adulthood, that resulted in what some locals express as a “retardation” in the maturation process. Studying “child soldiers” in varied contexts, she sees the dramatic shift of social roles and responsibilities of children in war intrinsically linked to, as she describes it, a “breakdown of societal structures and long-standing moral matrices in contexts of extreme social crisis” (2005:37-8). Hirut Tefferi, a scholar and practitioner who specifically focuses on displacement of children and youth in East Africa, similarly emphasizes that the social roles and responsibilities that are distributed in relation to age and generation have been particularly undermined by large-scale displacement from protracted conflict whereby conventional frameworks for adolescents to transition to adulthood are disrupted (2008). In ideal circumstances, attachment to community is developed through processes of socialization and initiation that involve the inculcation of established values…in many conflict situations, however, the destruction of families, communities and traditional rituals often means that adolescents miss out on engagement with the established processes through which a sense of group belonging is developed. (Tefferi 2008:29-30) These studies point to war and displacement’s breakdown of social structures of organization, and the intrinsic value systems and moral signposts, within which, and by which youth become socialized as participant members of a community. Speaking of war and displacement’s effects on values, morals, and social roles and institutions, all connected with inter-generational relations, begins to converge with rural Acoli communities’ 24 preoccupation with youth being out of, or unwillingness to be in, tekwaro, both by circumstance and by continued choice. Youth’s disengagement from tekwaro, as understood by my interlocutors, manifests itself in many practices and discourses, much of which will be explored in Chapters 2 through 5. However, I first encountered the phenomena when it was finally deemed safe enough (by camp residents) to leave the IDP camps starting in 2008. Many youth did not want to return to their family’s lands to farm. Although finding employment is exceedingly difficult in the Padibe sub-counties, they were not interested in spending their days toiling in the fields. Additionally, there was much discord created from the high levels of perpetually unsanctioned unions, and resulting children, that originated during the displacement years. As I will explore in Chapter 4, these significantly impacted women and children’s statuses, other male family members’ potential unions, as well as land access rights through the customary tenure system in place. There was also significant worry about youth not knowing their extended kin networks, their lineage and clan relations. Without growing up in villages where spatial dimensions mirrored kin relations (a village often corresponds to a sub-clan), there was a lack of the participatory responsibilities related to kin relationships that instill moral values and that reinforce kin authority and governance (regulated by the kaka, as explored in Chapter 5). Exploring inter-generational relations of uneasiness, and understanding what people mean by tekwaro, indigenous knowledge, have been fundamental to my exploration of war and 25 displacement’s impacts on rural Acoli society and subsequent understandings of community practices of social repair. Conceptualizing social repair as how individuals and communities “move on” after war and displacement and how they make home alive again, privileges relationships (as in social repair), and as I explore here, inter-generational as well as human-land ones as primary sites for this kind of work. The next section explores what I mean by the term social repair, drawing upon contemporary studies of lives during and after war as well as important critiques of transitional justice practices. I explain that consideration of land tenure, and how the land is an idiom of relatedness itself, is an important contribution in understanding how individuals and communities in rural settings “move on” after war and displacement. The social repairing that occurs in Padibe thus suggests that it is important to reorient social repair to an alternate coordinate than the defining constraints of the touchstone of violent acts themselves. I then introduce the research project and my initial research questions. A full description and analysis of my research ethos, engagements, and methodologies will expand upon this brief overview in Chapter 2. I finally build up my theoretical framework, unpacking the concept of tekwaro to show how a return to the land, and the system of land tenure, engenders inter-generational participation in, and engagement with, tekwaro that re-elaborates relatedness, and how that constitutes vital social repair practices. The remainder of the introduction will detail the main contributions of each chapter. 26 1.3 Social Repair Although most studies of lives during and after war emphasize the ways that people navigate experiences of violence that have become incorporated into relationships and the everyday, for rural Acoli in Padibe, repair itself consists of separating the violence “out” again; or re-orienting relationality itself to a different set of coordinates grounded in indigenous notions of relatedness. Social repair in rural Acoli is thus the refusal of the powerful categorizing and organizing capacities of violence. This refusal is practiced by re-elaborating kin-based non-violent frames of relationality, particularly those grounded by the land, and the customary system of land tenure. This section will first review existing literature on social repair, and then advance my own understandings of the concept based on the results of the current study. An “anthropology of social repair” was only first identified as such by Rosalind Shaw in 2007. Emerging in response to the discipline’s increasing focus on instability, disintegration, and conflict, Shaw notes that recent works have shifted focus to explore processes and practices that remake (rather than undo) social worlds and sociality itself. For example, Carolyn Nordstrom who worked in Mozambique during the 1990s urged for an expanded conception of violence and analyses of war that encompassed reconstruction as well as destruction, and survival as well as suffering. Approached this way, violence could be better understood as a “dimension of living rather than as a domain of death” (Robbens and Nordstrom 1995:6). Through this lens, Nordstrom became alert to creativity 27 and imagination as important strategies of survival and reconstruction amid the people she encountered (1997). Along with Anthony Robben, she states: In peeling back the layers of the many realities that impinge on this question of what violence is, we find that even the most horrific acts of aggression do not stand as isolated exemplars of a “thing” called violence but cast ripples that reconfigure lives in the most dramatic of ways, affecting constructs of identity in the present, the hopes and potentialities of the future, and even renditions of the past. (Robbens and Nordstrom 1995:5) Shaw herself tackles the question of “the ways in which people in conditions of violence and political flux reweave their lives” (2007a:67) in post-war Sierra Leone, and locates the reconstructive processes within memory. This focus on memory, she states, allows for a consideration of how upheaval is realized as lived experience, and how suffering is transformed into enabling narrative. Her earlier work (2002), examines the manifestation of memories of the slave trade, colonialism, and the contemporary war in non-linear embodied practices. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá also specifically attends to memory practices as forms of social repair. For her, memory is a “cultural practice, a form and system of action that relates to a domain of knowledge and a locus of experience” (2006:11) that negotiates the lived experience of violence. The various memory practices of youth in Medellin that she witnesses, including place-naming (81) and ghost narratives (123), suggests memory itself as an ongoing, 28 everyday, relational sociocultural process of reconciliation, or moving on. In her more recent work, she also explores how what she terms “grassroots” processes of social repair, particularly commemorative practices of a displaced Wayuu community in Colombia, call upon the memory of their peoples’ connections to the land, the supra natural world, and the dead, to demand justice after a massacre that killed members of their community (2015, N.d.). Michael Jackson studies storytelling events during and after conflict, mostly in Sierra Leone, as particular mediators of social relations (2002, 2005), and emphasizes that the stories people tell about violence in their everyday lives gives great insight into how people make communal life viable in war as well as in peace. Erin Baines similarly examines life histories, of women abducted by the LRA in Northern Uganda, and posits that they are particularly effective in understanding how those affected by violence “persevere” (2015), and how that perseverance is itself a political act. In addition to a focus on creativity, imagination, memory practices, and storytelling, studies of “social repair” generally remind us that lives in war should be engaged with as sites of social reproduction (Lubkemann 2008), and not merely as sites of interruption. In his study in Mozambique, Lubkemann concludes that rather than being overwhelmed with dealing with acute violence itself, people were actually engaged in re-negotiating social relations and key life projects (2008). Because contemporary warfare is often long-term or continuous, this “chronic crisis”, as Henrik Vigh describes it, demands that lives must be 29 approached as “a terrain of action and meaning rather than aberration” (Vigh 2008:6). The demand for acknowledgement of the agency of those whose lives have been entangled in political, systemic, and structural violence is thus a key consideration in the study of social repair. There is also concern about the nature and social impact of violence itself. As Veena Das poetically points out–the event of violence “attaches itself with its tentacles into everyday life and folds itself into the recesses of the ordinary” (2007:1). Particularly examining the violent events around India’s Partition and the 1984 riots, her work explores what it means to live together again, and what happens to the subject and the world when memories of violent events are incorporated into ongoing relationships. Attending to processes of social repair thus acknowledges that violence does not harm isolated individuals, but that it is inherently relational, as it becomes mixed into everyday life and relationships, affecting friendships, families, and communities (Theidon 2006). Any understandings of moving on, or “reconciliations”, must then also be understood relationally (Borneman 2002). A significant interlocutor in questions concerning how people in Northern Uganda “move on” after the war and displacement (as well as in other parts of the world), has been the international legal practices and processes known as transitional justice. A definition of transitional justice includes: The full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempts to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. These may include both judicial and non-judicial 30 mechanisms, with differing levels of international involvement (or none at all) and individual prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, vetting and dismissals, or a combination thereof. (UN Report of the Secretary General 2004) And while the UN’s definition arguably subsumes the practices reviewed that many have identified as “social repair” (i.e. the full range…), studies that highlight social repair also contribute to substantial critique of international transitional justice policy and practice. While international bodies like the United Nations supposedly eschew “one-size fits all” approaches to transitional justice, the majority of their actions, recognitions, and/or support to transitioning societies still predominantly focus on the individual’s relation to the State, through criminal prosecution in the form of tribunals, truth commissions, and government and security system reform (ICTJ N.d.). Addressing these mechanisms, Das et al. insist however, that “legal procedure may well play a role, even a decisive one, in community coping, but that role cannot account for the continuity of everyday social experience, not can it alone bring about the repair of social ties and institutions” (2001:23). As legal scholars Laurel Fletcher and Harvey Weinstein asserted in 2002, the nature of war had shifted from inter to intra state conflict, and the targeting of civilians, the destruction of infrastructure, and the breakdown of socio-economic institutions and networks of intimate familial relationships (the foundation for a functioning community as they describe it), are now key elements of contemporary conflict. Emphasizing the communal, rather than the individualized impact of war, the authors assert, “human suffering at a communal level is a 31 shared feature of contemporary conflict” (Fletcher and Weinstein 2002:576). Warning against imposed transitional justice interventions after violence and upheaval, such as truth commissions or trials, they emphasize that we must first ask locally, “what is social reconstruction?” (623). Others have argued that there is little empirical evidence that national and international mechanisms such as truth commissions and criminal trials effectively deter further conflict or provide realistic foundations for societal reconstruction (Weinstein and Stover 2004). Some assert that nation building goals often obscure the need for reconciliation among affected populations, and unless transitional justice initiatives resonate with a majority of survivors, and address the communal rather than just an imagined individualized impact of war, they ultimately fail to assist in reconciliation processes (Theidon 2006, Shaw et al. 2010). Worse still, they may serve to further entrench historically violent social relations (Hinton 2010, Alfred and Corntassel 2005). Transitional justice practices have been further critiqued as a hegemonic enterprise that uses a contemporary “stage theory” discourse to support neo-imperial governance projects (Hinton 2010). Its narrow conception of time, and ignoring past injustice associated with colonialism or the slave trade for examples, ignores historical atrocity and continuing imperialism that perpetuates the violences of inequality, poverty, and conflict (Arbour 2008, Clarke 2009, Cole 2001, Riaño-Alcalá 2006, Soyinka 2000). As a “rule of law movement” (Clarke 2009), the practice of transitional justice emphasizes ideologically informed legal processes that construct truths (or “fictions”, Clarke 2009) wherein civil and 32 political rights are distinct from social, economic, and cultural ones (Amadiume and An-Na’im 2000, Arbour 2008, Okello 2010, Arrazia and Roht-Arrazia 2008, Roht-Arriaza 2006). Furthermore, transitional justice practices reliance on the redemptive power of speaking and remembering (Shaw 2007, 2007a, Cole 2001), and specific testimonial narratives (Jackson 2005, Ross 2010), seen in an emphasis on trials and truth commissions, ignores local cultural concepts and expressions of personhood, damage, repair, and redress (Shaw et al. 2010). It thus tends to posit those who experienced violence as conflict-affected people in need of rescue by an external authority, rather than as individuals and communities capable of dealing with their experiences (Clarke 2009). In contradistinction, the study of social repair acknowledges the everyday as a primary site where agents might pursue deceptively “mundane” activities, and looks to lived actions, practices, and stories narrated rather than to historical or legal documentation and process, as found in dominant transitional justice practices, to understand how people meaningfully restore relationality (Riaño-Alcalá and Baines 2012). Considering a more place-based or localized transitional justice, would, according to Shaw et al, consider the "local" as a standpoint, a shifted center from which the rest of the world is viewed (2010:6). They call for a place-based practice (2010:22), which incorporates a more nuanced understanding of what justice, redress, and social reconstruction looks like. In the same volume, Moses Chrispus Okello further emphasizes that understanding local practices of “social repair” or “justice” are not enough, and that: 33 A shift to "place-based" forms of justice is not merely a matter of equity but offers a means of moving our conceptual frame beyond that of international law by allowing local critiques, priorities, and practices to show us alternative ways of conceptualizing justice and rights. (2010:279) Accounting for these various contemporary contributions in my own understanding of social repair, I suggest that in addition to considering specific survivor-centered, agentic memory practices (Riaño-Alcalá 2006, Shaw 2007a), spirit engagements (Baines 2010, Igreja et al. 2008, Perera 2001, Theidon 2012), life project negotiations (Das 2007, Lubkemann 2008), storytellings (Jackson 2002, Baines 2015a, Oloya 2013), and grassroots processes (Riaño-Alcalá 2015, N.d.), understanding how individuals and communities “move on” after upheaval, must also fundamentally consider how the majority of people are able to subsist, which in rural Northern Uganda, particularly must consider the land and customary land tenure. As I have learned in the rural Padibe sub-counties, the land itself, in addition to being vital for subsistence, is also fundamental to relatedness, to the ways in which people understand how they are related and what being related does (as will be explored in Chapters 3-5). I thus understand that the land is also essential to social repairing, to how people go about re-elaborating relatedness after conflict and upheaval. I learned that inter-generational activities that engage people in tekwaro, in indigenous knowledge that itself engenders participation in the creation and re-creation of social, political, and moral community 34 becomes possible mostly because of how the land, and the mode of land tenure, are a powerful unifying and organizing force in rural Acoli. As Acoli scholar Rose Nayaki explores, “customary land tenure goes beyond land as ‘an object’ to perceive land as ‘an item’ that defines peoples’ identity, social class, and social relationships as well as relationships with the soil/land that they had to put to use“ (Nayaki 2011). As further explored in Chapter 3, strong connections between the land and human social relations have long been articulated by indigenous communities (Basso 1996, Todd 2016, Watts 2013, are some few examples). According to many scholars (Girling 1960, p’Bitek 1971), the name “Acoli” was given by the Arabs, however locally they were known as Luo Gang or Ugangi–the Luo that were found in the village or homestead. The land in rural Acoli is necessary for survival and for subsistence. As an item or symbol that shapes social relations, and that lies at the heart of indigenous knowledge of a people known as “people of the home”, land in Acoli is thus able to re-gather people–despite the relational effects of the violences of war and displacement–in participatory encounters that work at re-elaborating relatedness, of social repairing. In Chapters 3 to 5, I particularly show how tic Acoli (work relating to subsistence), the creation of social unions and the legitimization of children through cuna, and kin-based community governance (kaka) are all grounded by the land and land tenure, and all work at re-elaborating relatedness. I understand elaborating and re-elaborating relatedness in contemporary post-conflict and post-displacement contexts as constituting social repairing. 35 Additionally, I learned that engaging with how the land provides both impetus and structured opportunities for constituting and re-constituting community (and the organization of social relations), through interactions with tekwaro, tries to “undo” or “unfold” the relational impacts of violence experienced during the war years. Similar to what Shaw calls the “art of forgetting” (2007), or Cole’s “directed forgetting” (2001), social repair in these contexts seeks a re-creation of everyday life whereby the violence of those years is “bracketed away” from everyday social relations. I use the term “bracketed away” (exploring this more in Chapter 5) to particularly differentiate these practices from Cole and Shaw’s forgetting, and to emphasize that people have to draw upon other frames of relationality–rather than on the violences experienced during the war and displacement years–specifically kin-based relatedness rooted in the land, to survive and live with themselves and others again. A return to the land, and to the customary system of land tenure, thus provoked practices that serve to elaborate and re-elaborate relatedness. I understand these practices as social repairing in contemporary rural Acoliland. An emphasis on “bracketing away” the violence is due in large part to the kinds of violences experienced during the war and systems of customary tenure. For examples, the rates for Acoli youth who experienced abduction, and thus who were also forced to commit acts of violence were very high. About one in four girls and one in three boys were abducted at some point during the war (Annan 2008), which indicates that approximately 28% of youth were abducted and forced to commit acts of violence. Another study estimates that about 20% of abducted youth were often forced to beat or kill their own family members (Annan 36 and Blattman 2010). The camps themselves were a form of collective “social torture” (Dolan 2009) by Government, where other forms of close relational violence, leading to what John Jaramogi Oloya (2015:282) calls the “disintegration of the households” were facilitated. Notably, Opiyo Oloya states that the “Acholi-on-Acholi” violence committed and experienced in this war was unprecedented (2013:7). Enoji, the eldest man in the Padibe sub-counties touched on this when I asked him if “Kony’s war”, as it is often called (lweny pa Kony), affected tekwaro pa Acoli. He answered: Ah-there is always bad. Even up to now and up to tomorrow. But this war brought into Acoli that people can kill their own. It has really made the world to get spoiled and up to now, people are killing one another. And now, the world, the world is not as it used to be. On top of the violence forced between people who were often related–by immediate family, lineage, clan, in-laws, or chiefdoms–mass displacement of the entire rural population from their lands struck at the very heart of relationality; the organization of social relationships and communal governance. I thus learned that the processes involved in social repairing in 2012 did not reference violent experiences or categorizations of individuals from the war and displacement (such as rebel, IDP, abductee etc.), and rather called upon unifying kin-based categorizations and experiences (daughter, son, mother, uncle, lineage, sub-clan etc.), social relationships, and sociality, “the world as it used to be”, relationally, grounded by the land. 37 Although Veena Das emphasizes how violence becomes folded into ordinary, everyday life and ongoing relationships, social repair in rural Padibe seems to suggest the ways that people try to “unfold” and separate those particular violences back “out” from the relationships themselves; the ways that they “bracket away” the violences experienced during the war from everyday life and social relationships in post-conflict and post-displacement contexts. If social repair in rural Acoliland is understood as what makes home alive again, and examines how ongoing processes of the creation and re-creation of community through inter-generational engagement with tekwaro occurs, provoked by a return to the land, then the results of this study question what we may or may not understand about social repair by assuming a priori, and maintaining that, violence is an enduring primary point of reference in social repair, indeed in “justice” practices in general. For people in the rural Padibe sub-counties, two to three years after return, repair indicated a refusal of the defining power of the violence, and the continuous work of re-orientating life to a different cardinal point, to the land, and to relatedness–to kin-based relations that order life on the land. Practices concerning the procurement of food from the land, like work (Chapter 3), the legitimization of unions and offspring (Chapter 4), and sub-clan governance (Chapter 5), then become primary in understanding both the war’s effects on social relations, and the ways in which people seek to repair them through the creation and re-creation of an everyday not still categorized, defined, and thus not still organized by their recent experiences of forced violence. 38 The next section briefly introduces the research project and questions to better situate these learnings about social repair. I follow by elaborating on my own conceptualization of social repairing by considering how tekwaro is grounded in the land, the metaphor of relatedness (Hutchinson 2000) in rural Acoliland. After considering tekwaro as philosophy, as a basis of social organization, and as practice, I’ll finally argue that participatory inter-generational interactions, grounded and engendered by the land, provoke engagement with tekwaro that constitutes social repairing. This conceptualizes social repairing as the quotidian creation and re-creation of social, political, and moral community, as the unspectacular participatory engagements with tekwaro necessary for continuous–though not in any means static–practices of relatedness, and thus of repair. 1.4 Brief Project Overview In May 2010, after consulting with who would become my host family (including some members of their extended family, or lineage) at a lunch in their village of Pabwoc East (about one year after they left Padibe IDP camp), I was invited to live in their family’s homestead to conduct my PhD research. I told those gathered about a conversation I had had with a young woman, Beatrice, with whom I had worked while she–and they–were still displaced in Padibe IDP camp from 2006 to 2008.15 The conversation occurred while we were reviewing photographs that I had taken of her over the previous three years in 15 Beatrice was not directly related to Augustine or the people of Pabwoc. However, they knew her from when I worked with her in the camp (2006-2008). She was also from the same place (geographic and genealogic) as Augustine’s mother, Panyinga. Augustine is also godfather to her first-born son. 39 preparation for an exhibition and booklet. Discussing potential venues in Canada, I then asked if she would like me to organize a photo exhibit here in Padibe, or perhaps in the closest town of Kitgum? After a long sigh…and after thinking for about a minute, this was Beatrice’s answer: No, I do not have much to say to people here. They already know my situation. Rather, I want to learn from them. I want to learn about Acoli tekwaro to make my future look like other people and to make me fit in the society. Because I missed learning tekwaro when I was young and even when I was growing up. I would ask other Acoli to teach me the way of how to live with others, and how to be a good Acoli woman. (Personal communication, July 2008) I then described how others talked about youth being “out of” tekwaro, and, provocatively, of youth not wanting to know “tekwaro”, and I asked if they thought that the topic of war and displacement’s effects on tekwaro and youth, and on community in general, was appropriate to research. Several people said they would welcome attention to questions of tekwaro. Specifically, Acaa Margaret delivered an impassioned speech detailing her own concerns about youth and tekwaro. She said that they too were very worried about youth–that most youth did not want to farm, and that they lingered in the town center (former camp)–but that the adults were so very busy with the work of rebuilding, that they could not pay sufficient attention to it. She concluded that it would be good to have me there to “turn people’s minds’ to these things.” A male teenager also spoke, saying that adults and elders do not make time for teaching these days, yet there are many things that the youth 40 would really like to know. Perhaps my presence would also, as Auntie said, “help turn the adults and elders minds to youth again.” I returned to Canada after that 2010 visit, and coordinated the project with Augustine, my host family’s eldest son, by email.16 Although this would be my first time doing research with Augustine’s family in Pabwoc, it was an extension of relations established previously when I lived next to them in Padibe IDP camp for one month in 2008. In consultation with Pabwoc’s elders and sub-clan leader,17 it was agreed that I could live in Pabwoc for my project. They requested that I create a book for them about tekwaro Pabwoc, detailing the sub-clan’s history and the founding of the village, among other details. I agreed.18 I asked if I could conduct a full village survey while living there, to document residents’ recollections of their movements during the war, but also to discuss with them their conceptualizations of tekwaro.19 I also wanted to participate in daily life as much as I was able, including sub-clan meetings and gatherings, when appropriate. They agreed. Augustine asked if I would like to partner on a project with a youth group he had co-founded while in the camp (in 2003). The group had created cultural programs for other displaced youth in the war years using music, dance, and drama. They were now looking for funding and partners for a new project of “cultural revival”, and he had introduced me 16 Augustine had a room in the center and could access the internet more readily. 17 Pabwoc is both a village and a sub-clan. With time the village of Pabwoc has grown and has become Pabwoc East village and Pabwoc West village. More details in Chapter 3. 18 I had asked what I might do with my time that was useful to them. It is attached here in pdf form as Appendix A. 19 The original survey that served as a guide for the conversations is attached here as Appendix B. 41 to them in 2008 and again in 2010. As will be further explored in Chapter 2, I agreed to collaborate with the group. This period of fieldwork in Pabwoc for which we were organizing adds to my previous experiences in the area, namely: a cumulative two months of traveling throughout the north during the war in 2004 and 2005 (as an unpaid photographer), a cumulative of four months living in Padibe IDP camp between December 2006 and July 2008 (as a photographer-researcher pursuing my MFA), and the two week consultation visit previously described in 2010 (as an anthropologist), where I stayed in Padibe Town Center (the former camp, called the center by residents) and visited friends and acquaintances in their home villages. For this main period of fieldwork in 2012, I lived in Pabwoc with my host family from March to October, with a short break in May.20 Attempting to understand the inter-generational strife and the idiom of tekwaro being used to express post-conflict concerns, I attended to inter-generational relations and the transmission of Acoli indigenous knowledge, and asked: 1. How and why is tekwaro, and attention to inter-generational knowledge transmission referenced and mobilized by the different generations in dealing with the conflict and its effects? 2. How were inter-generational knowledge transmissions transformed during war and 20 A timeline can be consulted, see Appendix C. 42 displacement, and how did those transformations shape people’s everyday relational practices? The next section elaborates the framework within which I have come to understand both these questions themselves, as well as some answers to these questions. Thinking through the idea of tekwaro itself, guided by the work of Acoli scholar Okot p’Bitek, I explore how engagement with tekwaro is a learning process that involves inter-generational interactions, negotiation, and appropriation. Drawing attention to how land tenure and social organization practices engendered by a return to the land provides frameworks of engagement that perform social repair, I emphasize that engagement with tekwaro, both historically and in response to the recent years of war and displacement, contributes to the creation (and recreation) of participatory social, political, and moral communities. I close by providing an overview of each chapter of the dissertation. 1.5 Framework: Tekwaro, Relatedness, and Social Repair My thinking through tekwaro and social repair in the rural Padibe sub-counties is reliant on the teachings of the late Acoli writer and scholar Okot p‘Bitek (1931-1982), specifically on my understanding of three of his ideas about tekwaro, indigenous knowledge, or as he usually translated it, “culture” or “oral tradition.” First, he conceptualizes “culture” as a philosophy of a people as it is lived and celebrated in society (1986:13). He states that culture, or to use terms he employs interchangeably throughout his work, social philosophy, or worldview, or ideology, refers to a people’s shared interpretation of the “meaning of being alive in this world” (1986:14). Second, p’Bitek asserts that the 43 organizations that people live in, which he call institutions, are informed by, and built around a people’s culture, their social philosophy, their worldview, their ideology (1986:13). He emphasizes that “African” identity is relational, and contrasts this belief with the Western liberal concept of autonomy and individuality by stating that man is actually only human because of his connections to others (p’Bitek 1986:19-20, Imbo 2002:131). Importantly, he states that when one becomes odoko dano, a human being, one has “imbibed the philosophical ideas of the society as well as how to live and celebrate it” (1986:27). Tekwaro then, in addition to being social philosophy is also a guide for the organization of social institutions, and informs concepts of personhood; it is thus intimately entwined with relatedness. Third, he asserts that tekwaro as philosophy, and concerned with relatedness, is not something separate or distinguishable from “the way of life of a people”, and that tekwaro and relatedness are only truly expressed in “life as it is lived”, through practice.21 P’Bitek’s insights into tekwaro as philosophy, as the basis of social organization, and as practice provide a coherent frame in which to consider the pervasive inter-generational angst around tekwaro that first prompted this study. I will build upon each of these points in turn to show why kin-based inter-generational practices themselves, provoked by a return to the land and subsistence farming way of life, are precisely the processes that activate participatory engagement in tekwaro, which elaborates and re-elaborates 21 p’Bitek’s ideas on social philosophy also deny the oft-separation in Western philosophical practice between reflection and practice (Wiredu 2011). 44 relatedness. Kin-based intergenerational practices in rural Acoli are thus important potential sites for social repairing in post-conflict rural Acoliland. 1.5.1 Tekwaro as philosophy First, tekwaro imagined as social philosophy concerned with worldviews and the meaning of being alive in the world necessarily takes a processual view of tekwaro. My use of the translation of tekwaro to indigenous knowledge reflects this stance. As the world changes, cultural philosophy must be adapted and made relevant by those who use it. Although residents’ may seem to speak of tekwaro as a “thing” that one can be “in” or “out” of, these expressions do not reference a set of static, unchanging, “traditional” ideas about, and correlating practices within the world.22 The transmission of indigenous knowledge, therefore, is never a simple act of transfer of knowledge, but rather the contemporary engagement and negotiation with the past to make sense of the present. Audra Simpson, in her work in her own Khanawake Mohawk community, adamantly fights the idea of so-called authentic static cultural traditions, and suggests that “…the past and the present are in a conversation with each other – that culture (and as such, tradition), is a matter of communication, creation and meaning” (Simpson 2003:142). Marilyn Strathern, in her study on changing notions of kinship in England with the advent of new reproduction technologies, also emphasizes that transformation is inherent in tradition “…ideas can only emerge from their antecedents, it is tradition that changes: indeed, it is all that can” 22 I am aware however, that in many parts of the world the fight for recognition of political and territorial sovereignty within settler states is linked to proving the ongoing practice of “ancient” traditions. As Shaylih Muehlmann argues (on language), the measure of authenticity is both a formal and informal criterion for the recognition of indigenous rights (2013). 45 (Strathern 1992:11). Jennifer Cole, in her examination of social practices through which the Betsimisaraka remember the colonial past in Madagascar, states, that “what is remembered as “tradition” is perhaps the most “modern” construct of all” (Cole 2001:8). And Gloria Emeagwali and George Sefa Dei emphasize that African indigenous knowledge is in perpetual flux from dialogue with contemporary events and other knowledges: Through time, such forms of knowledge while transformed have not been abandoned... Such knowledge has adapted to the times to serve pressing social issues and challenges. Such knowledge has not remained static, neither has it been confined to the shores of the African continent. Like all knowledge systems, such knowledges have diffused and interacted with other ways of knowing from other communities. (Emeagwali 2014:ix) To be “in culture” then does not imply the strict following of a so-called traditional regime of practice and thought, or a complete refusal of other forms of knowledge, rather it implies engagement with one’s own indigenous knowledge, and thus participation in (including negotiation, disagreements, and contestations with) the living social philosophy of one’s social, political, and moral community. The explicit link between tekwaro or indigenous knowledge and philosophy, worldviews, or ideology, helps to emphasize tekwaro as processual, as participatory or needing active engagement, and as something relational–that comes about by or through social relationships and interactions. Especially in considering the inter-generational angst regarding tekwaro in post-conflict contexts, this 46 link also brings up important questions regarding the transmission or learning of tekwaro. As Barbara Myerhoff expressed in some of her final writings: In anthropology it is a truism that culture is, above all, learned; it is not innate. It is a set of arguments, a set of understandings, on how to adapt to the world, how to look at the world, that is passed on from generation to generation. But one of the things that we have looked at very little is how it is learned. (Myerhoff 2007:61) Social repair in the Padibe sub-counties, as I understand it and as I explore in the substantive chapters of this thesis, is primarily found within these “learning” processes, these interactions. And these interactions are manifest in kin-based inter-generational relations themselves, in sometimes friction-filled processes whereby elements of tekwaro (or philosophy or worldviews or culture) are variously evaluated, adapted, departed from, applied, rejected, and ultimately transformed to serve the needs of contemporary socio-economic, cultural, and political life. 1.5.2 Tekwaro as a basis of social organization Understanding tekwaro as fundamental to the organizing principles of how people live together is not novel, as evidenced in anthropology’s long engagement with questions of culture, kinship, and social organization. Some of the earliest anthropological work comprised investigations into how people were related and the forms of social organization 47 that ordered daily life (for example, Morgan 1963, Rivers 1914, 1968, among others).23 Based on biologically-informed conceptions of “blood relations”, relationships that ordered everyday life, as well as institutions, were discerned. These scholars mainly focused on the political and legal rights and obligations associated with descent, and applied their analysis to understanding a range of local social organization practices, from marriage, to land tenure, to politics (for examples, Evans-Pritchard 1965, Fortes et al. 1940, Malinowski 1913, among others). Much of this work took place within the Colonial context of domination, and as Clarke points out, “in the early twentieth century, as anthropology was increasingly shaped by scientific rigour, ways of sorting and typologizing subjects were connected to ways of making objects” (Clarke 2004:1).24 Others soon began to emphasize, however, the exchange, communication, and networks between various social relations, rather than strictly descent (or blood relations), as key to understanding social organization (Lévi-Strauss 2006, Mitchell 1969, Gulliver 1971). More processual approaches built on these histories of the discipline’s engagement with questions of “how people are related”, and began to better acknowledge the interplay of historical and contemporary events, as well as several different “categories” of relations reckoned, for example, by such things as residence, ritual affiliation, and usufruct, in addition to strictly biology and marriage (Needham 1971, McKellin 1991, Rivière 1971, Turner 1996). Yanagisako (1977) pointed out the gender bias in kinship and its categorizations, and 23 However much these scholars were or were not part of the Colonial enterprise, wittingly or unwittingly (I discuss this more in Chapter 2), I include their work here for a consideration of the genealogy of the concept of relatedness within the Anthropological discipline. 24 Problematically, but in this quest for scientific, comparative studies of societies as objects, these analyses did not often contend with the dynamic, processual elements of these practices. 48 further contributed to a processual approach by stating that a male-centered approach with pre-conceived analytic categories, such as jural-political and domestic domains, detracts from better understanding what kinship is really all about. While these more nuanced, processual approaches grew the analytic use of “kinship”, David Schneider’s incriminating critique (1984) finally rocked the field of kinship studies, cementing what he had begun in 1968 by charging that kinship, and thus social organization studies that relied on kinship, were based on westernized cultural models of “the facts” of genealogy and biology (biogenetics). Other cultures and societies may not perceive the creation and foundation of life in the same way (sperm, egg), and any insights one could obtain from the analysis of social relations based on an ultimately foreign model (etic) would thus be the western anthropologist’s projection. Kinship, if used as an analytic concept, needed to be defined in terms understood and lived by the anthropologist’s interlocutors. Building on Schneider’s critiques that the so-called “facts” of relations varied from context to context, from culture to culture, and from time to time, Janet Carsten (1995) took up the acknowledgement and use of indigenous models or idioms of “the facts” as an alternative and generative way to inquire into kinship and everyday social organization. Working with a Malay community on the island of Langwaki, Carsten found that substances like blood and food were mutually constitutive of personhood, and there was no binary separation between what people in her own culture term “the social” and “the biological.” Someone 49 would thus become both fully human and related through the mutual sharing of substance. This had a significant impact on a variety of everyday factors, including how people reckon descent, practice marriage, pattern their residency, and share food. Carsten points out that although Schneider critiqued the social-biological binary projected from his own culture’s biogenetic beliefs, his critique at the same time did not surmount this same binary.25 In support of a concept like relatedness, Sharon Hutchinson (1996, 2000) explores blood and cattle as “interpersonal binding social media” for the Nuer communities she worked with, and makes sense of how Nuer’s “cultural paradigm” transformed, as did their social organization, with peoples’ navigations of diverse historical changes from Colonialism, to the introduction of cash, to two civil wars. She looks to changing idioms or, as she puts it, “metaphors” of identity, personhood, and relatedness in Nuer communities through time to explain shifts in social organizational practices. For example, while in pre-colonial times, collectively owned cattle exclusively begat children (through bridewealth exchange, for men), the introduction of money to the equation, while still mostly mediated through the category of cattle, indicated the decreasing power of extended relations in this most important aspect of life. This shift from the necessity of extended political alliances (access to cattle), for reproduction, but also for subsistence and security in local wars, to the viability of smaller, autonomous communities therefore also coincided with a decrease in 25 Many scholars have taken up this social-biological divide as a cultural bias inherent in how Western society conceives of knowledge inquiries (research) that essentially naturalize a constructed, social process; to “discover” truth, rather than to be engaged in actively constructing it (see Haraway 1989, Franklin 1998, as examples). This connects to the making of “objects” by earlier kinship scholars. 50 the power of elderly, cattle-owning men. The relational blood-cattle paradigm, or metaphor and idiom of relatedness, had thus transformed with the introduction of money, guns, and paper. Marilyn Strathern similarly emphasizes that a society’s assumptions about social relations largely depends on the way they perceive the creation of personhood (Strathern 1992), and that those conceptual categories of personhood and relatedness, while fluid, necessarily impact human practice and social organization through time. Throughout this thesis, I draw on and expand Janet Carsten’s (1995, 1997, 2000) approach to questions of how people are related in the everyday, to kinship, personhood, and social organization, as well as to prescriptions for how these are constituted by indigenous knowledge itself, as “relatedness.” My use of the term “relatedness” foregrounds the importance of indigenous cultural concepts of “the social” when seeking to understand “social repair”, and as a result, suggests that in contemporary contexts, land is indeed the primary idiom of relatedness in rural Acoliland. As such, the land is able to act as a ground (so to speak) for the re-gathering of kin and community, and as an impetus and host of inter-generational engagements with tekwaro. The land as relatedness in Acoli centers how the land itself acts as a mediator that allows people opportunity for interactions that re-create relatedness in post conflict and post-displacement contexts. It also suggests that elaborating or re-elaborating relatedness in communities itself constitutes ongoing historical processes of social repairing–the ways in which communities respond to both internal and external conflicts (whether they be local, national, regional, international etc.). 51 I am thus also particularly interested in how conceptualizing categories of relationality according to indigenous conceptions of relatedness allows a nuanced consideration of what has been termed the “morality” of relatedness, or the more moral aspects of kinship. This is of course primary to Okot p’Bitek’s own assertions that it is precisely one’s kin relations that make one human (1986:19). Obligations and responsibilities, as well as privileges and rights, are fundamental to the morality of kin relations. As one elderly woman explained to me while shelling g-nuts one cool evening around the fire: “Needing people creates good relations. Not needing people, by having too much money, can create many many problems here.” The assertion that relatedness, or kinship, is fundamentally about morality was first emphasized within anthropology by Myers Fortes (1969) when he spoke of kinship amity, and stated that “kinship is binding; it creates inescapable moral claims and obligations” (1969:242). Bloch too emphasizes that it is the generality and continuity of kinship, which are of prime importance, and that these attributes are due to its morality (1973:88). The “morality of kinship” has also more recently been brought to the fore again in contemporary work on what is now known as the African continent that engages with policy, for example in Elizabeth Cooper’s work on the so-called orphan “crisis” in Kenya (2011:42). I have chosen to make my analytical interest in morality explicit because I came to understand that how people are troubled by questions of who should be responsible for who, and why, are not just experienced as per a distinctive moment of change in 52 political economic history […] questions of why and how kinship implicate responsibilities, and whether or how these relate to any morality of kinship, remain under examined and under-theorised. The concept of a morality of kinship is also echoed today by several Acoli scholars, notably Opiyo Oloya: In Acholi culture, a relative is someone you can rely upon in difficult times, someone you can trust and expect to help you out of trouble. This is understandable because, as P. Oruni (1994) points out, identity and relations between individuals are defined by wat (constitution). He notes, ‘every aspect of Acholi life, the rights, obligations and privileges of the individual, social service administration, civics, politics, defence and security, is defined and exercised in accordance with provisions of Wat Constitution.’ (Oloya 2013:18) Oloya further states that: Culture is the aggregation of shared values in a defined system from which individuals derive not only their identities but also their orientation to the world. There is an assumption of solidarity and unity of purpose among those who subscribe to those values. (Oloya 2013:17) My focus on relatedness, and my inquiry into tekwaro to both understand and examine changing practices that can create and re-create relatedness after wartime and 53 displacement, aspires to a nuanced, relational exploration of how tekwaro (as “social philosophy” and the basis of social relations and social organization, and thus of morality) was affected, or how people believe that it was affected, by their recent experiences of violence. This ultimately allows an appreciation of the inter-generational practices involved in engaging with tekwaro, through which relationality, morality, as well as rights and responsibilities are learned/transmitted/adapted (as will be explored in Chapters 3 through 5). Again, the results of my learning suggest that the land itself is the main idiom (Carsten 1995) or metaphor (Hutchinson 1996) of relatedness in context. Although blood relations, exchange, and commensality (to name a few) are all idioms or metaphors that contribute to relatedness as I understood it in the rural Padibe sub-counties, the land itself, and practices directly and indirectly concerning the land (access, residence, tenure, inheritance, labour, commensality, etc.) are what ultimately constitute relatedness. Activities centered by people’s relations with the land, activities that engender engagement with tekwaro, which serve to manifest, elaborate, and organize social organization and indigenous governance, and that provokes participations in one’s social, political, and moral community, is precisely what I understand to be practices of social repair in the rural Padibe sub-counties. This study thus suggests that attention to how people and communities subsist and survive, to the relations whereby one accesses and produces that subsistence, to land tenure and the land, is still fundamental in considering relatedness, and the complexities of how people reckon they are related and what being related does. It is thus also essential for 54 understanding the basis of how they remake relatedness, what I understand as social repair. “Ngom pito dano”, a mother of seven told me as we walked to the gardens one day, “the land grows people.” 1.5.3 Tekwaro as practice Understanding tekwaro as social philosophy, as the basis for social organization, and as “ways of life”, fundamentally engages with both methods and theories of practice. An examination of everyday inter-generational practices of social repair in a rural village is thus a result of both my practical and theoretical orientation. Practically, I undertook my longest period of fieldwork living in the rural village of Pabwoc East in 2012. It had been about two to three years, or two to three agricultural cycles, since most residents had returned to their ngom kwaro from displacement, after an absence of between 6-11 years.26 90% of village residents survived at that time from subsistence farming alone, and thus an obvious priority was the hard work necessary for producing enough food stuff, of rebuilding houses and granaries, of working to establish i) a functioning, sustainable and sustaining homestead, and ii) the governing structures that secured that homestead. An emphasis on practices that contribute to these goals, grounded in the land and land tenure, and a subsequent privileging of the relations, and notions of relatedness that contribute to those goals, is due in large part to the specifics of the time and place of my research. 26 The number of years varies, and will be further explored in Chapter 3. 55 The rural village as the unit of social space in this study also contributes to understanding land as the prime idiom of relatedness, and the valorization of the activation of inter-generational relations and thus inter-generational practices, over peer relations for example, for similar reasons. Based on my calculations according to the Republic of Uganda’s 2014 Census, 85% of people in Acoliland (comprising the seven districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Nwoya, Agago, Amuru and Lamwo) live in rural areas; as opposed to peri-urban or urban areas (for example, Padibe Town Council, the center, is not considered rural in the census). As will be explored throughout the work, residents access land, the primary livelihood resource, in most rural areas through the norms of customary tenure, and approximately 90% of all land in Acoliland is under customary tenure (Atkinson and Hopwood 2013: i). In the case of Pabwoc East (and much of rural Acoliland) customary tenure is governed by kin-based communal governance organizations (clans, sub-clans, lineages) (Oloya 2015). I use the term kin-based communal governance organizations after John Jaramogi Oloya’s description of Acoli community governance as social, political, and moral (2015:02), to describe both contemporary and historical Acoli social organization and their attending indigenous social and political institutions. The kin-based communal governance organizations transmit important communal privileges (like land rights), and responsibilities (like upholding moral norms), inter-generationally. A study of social repair practices of those who remained in the town center (former IDP camp) or who migrated to one of the large city centers in Acoliland (Gulu, Kitgum or Pader) may very well emphasize the primary importance of other kinds of relations, notions of relatedness, and thus practices, that both help make sense of philosophically and organize/secure life and 56 livelihood in those specific social spaces.27 Different concepts of relatedness, in different times and in different social spaces, would thus necessarily emphasize different practices as constitutive of, or contributive to, social repair. Conceptualizing social repair as intergenerational practices of engagement with indigenous knowledge provoked by a return to the land is thus due to the study’s interest in how the majority of residents in Acoli–those still living in rural areas and surviving from the land–make home living again. My understanding of how inter-generational engagement with tekwaro actually works to re-elaborate relatedness and perform social repair draws upon two separate, yet connected approaches to knowledge transmission or learning. Both conceptions of oral tradition as social action, and practice theory consider learning as relational, and as something that occurs in, between, and through interactions. Recognizing Acoli oral tradition as a form of social action draws upon Okot p’Bitek’s ideas of oral tradition as inter-generational and performative, and insists that oral traditions are the principal means of socialization and education (despite formal schooling), whose practice or performance promotes moral development (Apoko 1967, p’Bitek 1963), enforces social norms (Okumu 2000), reinforces reciprocal kin relations (Ocitti 1973), and provides the conceptual tools for people to examine and act in all aspects of social life (p’Bitek 1963, 1974). Although these authors mostly focused on specific Acoli oral 27 I have to acknowledge here that individuals and families have sought different means of social repairing, including migration to city centers in Acoli, elsewhere in Uganda, and abroad as well. Rather than being wholly concerned with all practices of social repairing, I am concerned here with what this specifically looks like within the spatial confines of the rural village in Acoli. 57 literatures, such as songs, folk talks, and proverbs, p’Bitek reminds us that oral literature cannot be dis-embedded from its social contexts (1963). Dances where songs are sung, and wang oo (fireside chats) where folktales are told, as examples, are part of a range of practices, of “ways of life” where oral tradition, or as Ociiti (1973) describes it, “indigenous education” is invoked. Thinking about oral tradition described in the ways the above authors do–or conceptualizing oral tradition as an essential part of indigenous education—particularly draws upon Gloria Emeagwali’s (2014) definition of indigenous knowledge as “the cumulative body of strategies, practices, techniques, tools, intellectual resources, explanations, beliefs, and values accumulated over time in a particular locality.” Indigenous knowledge, oral tradition, and indigenous education is thus understood as a kind of inter-generational social action that constitutes social, political, and moral communities through inter-generational interactions. Engaging with indigenous knowledge is thus a social and relational activity whereby reality is constantly being created, affirmed, contested, and reproduced. Ruth Finnegan, an oral tradition scholar, emphasizes the creative interactions involved in performing oral traditions, and states that “when oral literature is seen as “social action” rather than as sociocultural reflex, change and creativity appear as the normal exercise of human capacities rather than as disobedience to the governing rules of a static system” (Finnegan 1977:268-271). Barbara Myerhoff also speaks of conflict and compromise as essential to inter-generational knowledge transmissions; as the means by which meaning is created by everyone involved (2007:81). To speak of tekwaro in this way emphasizes how interactive practices, specifically inter- 58 generational ones, are the main means through which social philosophy and the organization of social relations are transmitted, elaborated, and transformed through time. At the same time, Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice (2008) also examines how individuals and communities pass on knowledge and learn. He conceptualizes the social world as made up of people who exert agency, strategize, survive, and cope, based on a combination of their historical knowledge and lived experiences, within larger structures that also serve to shape and define that knowledge, and those experiences. The interactions between these elements is termed “habitus”,28 a learned system of generative schemes (2008:55), that results from perpetually ongoing interactions and processes, from everyday practice. This concept acknowledges how generative schemes, what I understand as an element of social philosophy, an aspect of indigenous knowledge, interact with individuals’ specific histories and agencies through everyday practices. In the case of a rural village in Acoliland then, how individuals’ “learning” or “appropriation” of indigenous knowledge is a kind of social action that occurs through everyday activities of engagement and practice. The notion of habitus, and its system of generative schemes, also resembles Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett’s schema theory in his 1932 work on remembering (1961). Bartlett was a 28 As Shaw eloquently addresses, although some charge that habitus references a closed cycle of repetitive change and static reproduction, De Boeck for example, she reminds us that the past (precolonial, preindustrial etc.) was no less marked by fragmentation and crisis than the present. If one acknowledges that there has always been experiences of rupture and disjunction, then understanding habitus as encompassing reactions to rupture, rather than simply reproducing an ideal static notion of stable time, is inevitable (2002:5) 59 psychologist who undertook experimental studies on remembering, imaging, perceiving, and recounting, and who describes remembering as a cognitive social practice whereby an individual’s past associations and experiences are continuously rearranged and changed through their encounters with contemporary phenomena. His idea of “conventionalization” specifically looks at processes whereby new experiences become internalized, or appropriated, in social settings. Maurice Bloch draws upon this work, and emphasizes that “passing on” or transmitting “culture” involves acts of re-creation (2005) whereby, what he calls cultural schema interact with new experiences to re-create knowledge. This is partly so because of how cultural schema allow an individual to infer, to perceive knowledge that is not necessarily represented or communicated, knowledge “that goes without saying” (2012). It is these inferences, or the capacity for inference, that essentially works to assimilate new information and experiences. Elaborating on this function, William McKellin (1995:22) emphasizes that: “during information processing, the features used to represent knowledge are matched with the features of new information…New information that does not fit the established configuration of features is not rejected, but used to modify the previously existing schema.” How oral tradition is transmitted inter-generationally, how knowledge is re-created by a learner, how new information modifies previously existing schema, or how one learns through interactions was also the focus of much of Lev Vygotskiĭ’s work. Vygotskiĭ was a Belarusian psychologist who mainly worked in developmental psychology in the 1920s and 1930s. He found that learning occurs through interactions, which leads to the 60 internalization of knowledge, which then leads to the appropriation of the knowledge (Vygotskiĭ 1978). One learns to use a pencil from a teacher, but then one can use a pencil to draw what one likes, perhaps unlike the teacher had taught. Whether conceptualized as social action processes involved in the inter-generational practice of oral tradition (as explored by p’Bitek, Okumu, Apoko, Ocitti, and Finnegan above), or in re-creative learning through interactions (as explored by Bourdieu, Bartlett, Bloch, McKellin, and Vygotskiĭ above), both approaches stress practices whereby individuals’ agencies interact with larger corpuses of knowledge to produce new knowledge that orders, or provides guidelines for individuals and society. This continuously negotiated and re-negotiated knowledge serves to establish relations between individuals, and reproduces and/or reconfigures the worlds in which people live (Ortner 1996). Inter-generational interactions therefore engender multi-generational participation in the continuous work of building and rebuilding relatedness, and the creation and re-creation of social, political, and moral communities. I recognize practices whereby these interactions occur as significant sites of social repair in post-conflict contexts because of how they are implicitly concerned with remaking, and redefining, social relationships and their organization. When speaking about tekwaro, generative schemes, social philosophy, or cultural schema, it is clear that what one remembers, both consciously and unconsciously necessarily impacts and is impacted by the practices employed by self and others to navigate, 61 strategize, and cope with contemporary life. These insights are thus valuable when considering how individuals and communities “move on” after war and displacement, and helps identify what social repair consists of in context. Rosalind Shaw addresses this in discussing how while people almost never discuss the slave trade where she worked in Sierra Leone, past traumatic memories of the slave trade are embodied in contemporary practice. She asserts that contemporary experiences of violence (a kleptocratic state, a violent rebel war) are experienced in terms of images and practices that serve to connect present and past experiences of “predatory commercial flows” (2002:12). As Shaw puts it, “people do not respond as tabulae rasae when they construct and confront transformative events and political processes; rather, experiences of those events and processes that become sedimented as memory are themselves mediated and configured by memory” (Shaw 2002:10). Jennifer Cole also examines contemporary social behaviour and practices that mediate memories of colonialism and contemporary upheaval in Madagascar. In her work with Betsimisaraka she emphasizes the way that these practices (and the memories they enable) “are part of larger historical processes of transformation: they are part of Betsimisaraka efforts to survive” (2001:29). Hutchinson’s investigation in South Sudan of how “global historical factors of ever-increasing scale and complexity are subtly registered within regionally specific social and cultural fields” (1996:29) is another example of how studies of war and upheaval fruitfully utilize these insights. The results of the current study highlight that there is an explicit connection between the learning of indigenous knowledge and elaborating relatedness, and that relatedness itself is 62 linked to people’s ongoing efforts to manage and deal with historico-political events and processes, including violence. Elaborating and re-elaborating relatedness is thus social repairing in context. 1.5.4 The land as primary metaphor of relatedness in rural Acoli How the appropriation, assimilation, or application of new knowledge functions, drawing upon both oral tradition and practice-based and cognitive approaches, is especially interesting to consider while thinking through inter-generational angst regarding tekwaro in the post-conflict period. I understand that these learning interactions take place within processes that provide frameworks for inter-generational engagement, processes that are themselves provoked by a return to the land. As I will explore more fully in Chapter 3, the land, as the idiom of relatedness, acts as an anchor (Carsten 2007, Hutchins 2005) for frameworks wherein elaborations of indigenous conceptions of relatedness are practiced. And it is therefore these frameworks of practice–which provide guidelines and sites for interactions, internalization, and appropriation of tekwaro–which constitute social repairing in rural Acoliland. Understanding how these frameworks of practice work to re-gather people in interactions that re-elaborate relatedness (social repairing) resembles Star and Griesler’s (1989), and Star’s (2010), idea of a boundary object. They describe a boundary object as a thing or action that mediates between people, and according to Star (who was interested in the nature of cooperative work in a natural history museum), boundary objects host 63 interactions, allowing different groups to work together without demanding complete consensus or homogeneous understanding (2010:602). As McKellin explores in Managalase political discourse, taking up the idea of a boundary object, common ground and cooperation is the result of processes of interaction and then negotiation, mediated in part by boundary objects. Boundary “objects” can also be processes or frameworks, in his case the processes involved in the indirect form of discourse called Ha’a (McKellin 2016). In post-war Acoliland, common ground and cooperation between peoples is achieved through frameworks of practice, or boundary processes, like subsistence-related works (explored in Chapter 3), courtship practices (explored in Chapter 4) and the creation of a sub-clan constitution (explored in Chapter 5). These frameworks are provided by the land itself, specifically the organization of social relations by the customary system of land tenure. I consider these practices constitutive of social repair because of how they provide for opportunities of inter-generational engagement, and subsequent learning of tekwaro and the re-elaboration of relatedness, without necessarily requiring consensus or homogenous understandings. This may explain why the transmission, or learning, of indigenous knowledge in the contexts of war–and particularly displacement–is generally more difficult, and why there is heightened generalized angst. Youth’s appropriation of indigenous knowledge, of applying and adapting tekwaro to severely changed life circumstances and socio-economic-political realities, to war and displacement experiences, already becomes much more challenging. A 64 lack of frameworks–rooted in the land–that provoke kin-based inter-generational interactions and guidelines for cooperation during the years of displacement and violence, in the case of rural Acoliland at least, exasperated the already substantial challenges of learning or transmitting tekwaro in rapidly changing contexts. And although there are deep histories of upheaval, change, and flux of rural communities in Acoliland (as I will explore further in Chapter 3), the recent LRA-Government war is the only such incident in the past 100 years to massively uproot families and communities from their lands. Furthermore, the predominant presence of other frameworks for social interactions within the IDP camps, those organized by Government, NGOs, and/or churches, all affected the kinds of knowledge that was re-created or learned or transmitted during the years of war and displacement. These effects, including reduced authority of kin-based communal governance organizations, and decreased participation of community members therein, became some of the primary concerns of the rural population as they left the IDP camps and returned to land governed through customary tenure. Beginning from Okot p’Bitek’s ideas about tekwaro as social philosophy, as relatedness, and as practice, I am able to think alongside the pervasive inter-generational angst regarding tekwaro in post-conflict contexts. I can then understand the angst itself as an expression of concern with multi-generational engagement in the building of relatedness, and of social, political, and moral community. I thus understand social repair in the rural Padibe sub-counties by considering how the transmission, or rather the learning of indigenous knowledge–as processual, relational, and practice-based–takes place through various 65 interactions. These interactions are hosted or engendered by frameworks that are rooted in the land that enable the often friction filled, yet generative and inventive interactions to take place. The idea of participation in these interactions or practices is paramount. Inter-generational practices themselves are sites of encounter and struggle between the generations, of engagement in the hard work of the transmission and of learning indigenous knowledge. It is engagement with indigenous knowledge, and its evaluation–including disagreements, contradictions, conflicts and “imperfectly shared meaning and knowledge” (Wolf 1999)– and finally its application or appropriation in the present, not the strict following of traditional protocol, that is key to its transmission or learning, and it is this that is key to relatedness. Re-creating relatedness, or re-creating a social, political, and moral community of relations grounded in the land through participatory kin-based inter-generational interactions, is what I have come to understand as important practices of social repairing in rural contemporary post-war contexts. The return to the land, and to village life under customary tenure, thus had the strength and power to re-orient social relations away from the defining, categorical effects of violence experienced during the years of war and displacement. In the substantive chapters of this thesis, I attend to these practices, as I came to learn them through various methodologies in my time in the Padibe sub-counties. 66 1.6 Chapter Outlines Before fully exploring the specific practices that I learned were important to social repair in these post-conflict contexts, I first begin by situating myself within the study. Chapter 2 “Research as Relationship” interrogates my own positionality in studying a community’s response to war and displacement that is not my own, and I turn to scholarship on indigenous research paradigms and methodologies that challenge me to grapple with the ethical dimensions of researching with peoples who have suffered various violences, including colonization, and who continue to suffer from its enduring manifestations. Discussing this reflexivity as carrying “generative doubt”, I then examine how my research questions, methods, framework, and outputs emerged from and privilege my long-term relationships in the area, and detail my own history in Northern Uganda. I then discuss how my interests in tekwaro pa Acoli and learning how to live in the village engendered interactions that led to embodied and experiential lessons regarding relatedness that cultivated a research ethos that valorizes responsibilities, “obligation”, and accountability. Support for a youth group’s project on “cultural revival”, the co-creation of a workbook with the Pabwoc sub-clan/village about their tekwaro, and a village survey, complicated and complemented living and participating in everyday village life. Applying ideas explored here in the introduction regarding learning and the creation of knowledge, I consider how recounting my interactions with individuals and communities over the years in Acoliland is important in acknowledging how the knowledge offered in this dissertation was itself created through participatory interactions between myself and my generous teachers in 67 Pabwoc and in the Padibe sub-counties. I thus contemplate my practice as “research as relationship.” Chapter 3, “Ancestral Land”, primarily sets up and examines the main idiom of relatedness in Acoli as ancestral land (ngom kwaro). I first detail the remembered deep history of one village to show how the village lands provide an anchor (Carsten 2007:7, Hutchins 2005) for historical and contemporary kinship relations and kin-based communal governance. I then provide a description of everyday village life as it was in 2012. Recounting the recent history of that same village/sub-clan through wartime and displacement, I conclude by exploring how the contemporary practices of Acoli work (tic Acoli) necessary for a successful return to subsistence farming life on ancestral land engages different generations in tekwaro. And how these engagements provoke a participatory relatedness that constitutes social repairing despite the fragmenting effects of violence experienced during the war years. Chapter 4 “Respect” is the second substantive chapter and explores the importance of the notion of respect (woro) to relatedness in Acoli. Examining village debates and focus group discussions, I explore why traditional courtship (cuna) was repeatedly linked with woro, and why people widely believe that cuna was the most important practice relating to tekwaro affected by the war and life in the camps. Detailing historical cuna practices, I show how aspects of so-called “traditional” courtship processes activate a range of inter-generational interactions with tekwaro that both guides assumptions and serves to 68 negotiate local ideas of gendered and generational personhood, and rural kin-based communal governance, rooted in the land. I then turn to contemporary examples of couples’ engagement with cuna practices and issues to contemplate how these sites work to create and re-create relatedness, and thus perform social repairing in rural Padibe sub-counties. Chapter 5 “The Sub-clan”, is the third and final substantive chapter and attends to how responsibilities concerned with kaka (here, the sub-clan) anchored in the land, are vital to relatedness in contemporary contexts. Referencing a murder that occurred during my fieldwork, I explore the implications of the sub-clan as an interdependent, communal or “corporate” entity, and acknowledge contemporary performances of sub-clan identity and unity as promulgating indigenous Acoli law, rooted in the land. In regards to the most recent war’s unprecedented “Acholi-on Acholi violence” (Oloyo 2013:7), I explore why most violence committed during the war is “bracketed away” from everyday life, social relations, and their organization. Finally turning to the creation of a sub-clan based non-profit foundation, and the writing of its constitution as an inter-generational process of social repair, I examine this practice whereby active negotiation and renegotiation of tekwaro, and thus its transmission and learning, are perhaps most obviously at work. The concluding chapter emphasizes that attending to conceptualizations of relatedness to understand social repair allows for a valorization of contemporary inter-generational practices as sites of interaction that enact relational learning experiences. These learning 69 experiences of and with tekwaro, indigenous knowledge, are constitutive of social repair because of how they re-elaborate relatedness by provoking engagement and participation in people’s social, political, and moral communities. I emphasize how a return to the land, and the system of land tenure, is thus capable of re-gathering, or re-membering individuals as community in post-conflict contexts. The remaking of social relations made possible by the land, and land tenure systems, is a contribution to studies of lives during and after war and upheaval because of how it privileges conceptions and practices of relatedness in refusing the defining, fragmenting, un-relatednessing power of violence on social relations. Suggestions for further research on community initiatives regarding land rights and conflict follows, and I conclude with a reflection on the personal impact of the study. 1.7 Conclusion I began this introductory chapter by talking about the seeds of social repair, and how those seeds can be found, in surprising places, and in perhaps, to those outside, unlikely circumstance and practice, such as grinding grain or ants foraging and storing their food. Then, focusing on people’s pervasive concerns with tekwaro, indigenous knowledge, and inter-generational relations in the immediate post-war period, I attended to why tekwaro was being used to refer to post-war and post-displacement concerns, rather than bringing LRA perpetrators to justice or holding Government accountable for the camps, as was frequently explored in academic and policy writings at that time. Considering other recent work on youth in conditions of war and displacement, I show that the community’s angst around indigenous knowledge belies astute observation of war’s impact on knowledge 70 transmissions and social organization generally, and on established transitions to adulthood and attachment to community specifically. Sketching my conceptualizations of how communities “move on” after war as a form of “social repair” then provides an overview of the concept, and explains how inquiring into social repair practices is well suited to center the community’s apprehension regarding tekwaro and inter-generational relations in post-conflict contexts. Emphasizing the importance of land, and land tenure, to people’s practices of social repair, I assert that the research results reorient questions of repair away from the specific experiences of violence to re-elaborating relatedness and everyday social organization that secures subsistence. A brief project description (which will be expanded upon in the next chapter), including my research questions, then contextualizes the study’s main learnings. I then turn to the work of Okot p’Bitek, who conceives of tekwaro as social philosophy, relatedness, and practice, and build a theoretical framework that allows a processual, relational, practice-based approach to tekwaro that privileges indigenous models of relatedness to understand contemporary instances of social repair. A chapter overview follows, and shows how the three substantive chapters of this dissertation explore the land as an idiom and material anchor of relatedness that provides the impetus and structure for inter-generational interactions with tekwaro that are necessary for the rebuilding of social, political, and moral community. 71 After over ten years of visiting, speaking with, eating with, dancing with, skype-ing with, and living with people in Acoliland, Northern Uganda, I have learnt much from them about war, displacement, and the role of land, family, sharing, responsibilities, and indigenous knowledge in “moving on”, in social repair, in making home living again. I cannot easily communicate the breadth, nor the depth of what has been taught to me, yet I try here, in some way, to pass on some of that knowledge. Figure 11- Wang oo. Pabwoc, 2012. Photo by Ryan Gauvin, reproduced here with his permission. 72 Chapter 2: Research As Relationship-Ethos and Methodologies 2.1 Introduction–Obligation I conducted the bulk of my fieldwork while living in Pabwoc East Village in 2012. Although I usually stayed within the village, I also traveled by bicycle (30 mins.) or by foot (75 mins.) to Padibe Town Center sometimes to visit friends and acquaintances. Something significant happened my second week there. It was the dry season, and I was preparing to bicycle to the center early, before the heat settled in. After waking, washing up, exchanging greetings with my host family and passers-by, and sharing a little breakfast, I was getting ready to leave the homestead when Auntie Santina looked me up and down, buttoned my shirt a little higher, and told me that my shoes were dirty, and that I had to put on clean ones (I was 38 years old in 2012). I kind of shrugged, intending to obey, but also added that I would probably get dirty from all the dust on the road anyways. She replied that I was now a part of Pabwoc, and as a daughter of Bwoc had to represent them well outside of the village. In any case, the proper Acoli word to use in response was ayubo (I will arrange, fix it)–and not to talk back. Iwinyo?–she asked if I heard and understood. Awinyo–I replied as I stooped back inside the house to change my shoes. Growing up I did not think about how my behavior and choices reflected on my family. I am a daughter of divorced, middle class, Jewish Ashkenazi parents from Montreal, Canada (or what is now known as such), who always felt like an individual, and while close to my small extended family, I certainly did not ever think on how wearing dirty shoes might affect them. This very ordinary interaction and moment marked a distinct shift for me, and 73 throughout my fieldwork and up until the present, I reflect on what being a hosted “daughter of Bwoc” means, both in terms of ethical engagement as a researcher, and of my perceived responsibilities, and thus “obligation”, in both personal and professional capacities. Thinking through these responsibilities and “obligation” necessarily contributes to my inchoate considerations of research and relationship that coalesce in thinking through my positionality within Northern Uganda. Who I am–as Antonius Robben and Carolyn Nordstrom frame it (1995:11)–as a historical product, and as a nexus and network of privilege? While “good-willed” anthropologists have long engaged in research on social inequality and violence, it is, as Victoria Sanford points out, “the very unequal power relations produced by wealth that enable anthropologists to travel the world and carry out research” (2006:6). Yet, if scholars see inequality and injustice, however much they are already implicated in it, do they not still have a responsibility to engage with, think through, and speak out (or write out) against injustice? (Scheper-Hughes 1992). While I do not have definitive answers to these questions, I forefront here my responsibilities and “obligation” to Pabwoc to actively reflect on my research practice and methodologies, and to recognize, call out, and question the intellectual practice of what Paulette Regan calls “the colonizer who lurks within” (2010:11). I try to begin this process here by acknowledging that I have a particular set of life circumstances, experiences, and relationships–like the people whose histories and 74 experiences I recount here–that led me to study social repair in rural Northern Uganda. I believe that discussing these particularities are important, in identifying biases, acknowledging interests, and in thinking through the very personal and political questions of research ethics and methodologies. I will begin by considering my identity–both my Jewish familial histories of violence and displacement, and my own history as a white Anthropologist. I then turn to scholarship on indigenous research paradigms and methodologies that nurtures “generative doubt”,29 and that highlights the unequal structures of power and privilege that allows, conceptualizes, and facilitates research amongst peoples who suffer as a result of those same networks of power and privilege. I then think through my experiences in Northern Uganda until the present, and engage with these considerations by foregrounding my relationships with various people in the area over time. I contemplate how my relationships, and perceived responsibilities through those relationships, have led me to ask certain questions, including the research questions outlined in the introduction. I then discuss the various research methodologies that were specifically used in this study–as a result of my relationships, as well as in consideration of my positionality. Exploring research as relationship, I emphasize how relational indigenous Acoli modes of knowing and learning, of what Ocitti (1973) calls an “Acoli indigenous education”, particularly through my engagement with relational 29 Locke et al. (2008) discuss the idea of doubt in the research process and its underappreciated significance for the theorizing process, but I engage with the idea in terms of the reflexivity that it provokes. 75 responsibilities and “obligation”, are essential to both my methodologies and theoretical understandings of social repair in rural Acoliland today. 2.2 Being Me in Acoliland My own familial history with war,30 and my Jewish heritage has proven to be a fascinating and recurring topic of conversation in Acoliland in regard to people’s experiences of Colonialism, Christian conversion, and war. From queries concerning how “my” people rebuilt and became strong after the holocaust (personal conversation with Paramount Chief Rwot Acana 2005), to comments on the “stubbornness” of my people to repeatedly not accept Christianity (personal conversation with Father David 2007), to an observation that my people have managed better than the Acoli to “not convert”, and keep our “religion and culture one” (personal conversation with elder 2012), engagement about my own history and culture with friends and acquaintances in Northern Uganda have over the years progressively served as a critical tool for self-awareness and introspection. What has been less obvious, and also less discussed in Acoliland however, has been my history as a middle-class white Canadian, entangled in the representational politics and power of media productions (film and photography) and academic institutions. There is a passage from Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” that I continuously return to because of the generative doubt it evokes. It is at the very end of the book, the last paragraph, when the Colonial official sees Okwonko dead from suicide, swinging from the 30 My maternal grandmother and grandfather were World War II holocaust survivors. 76 tree. He had come to arrest Okonkwo for slaying one of his messengers, who had come to disperse a clan meeting to discuss possible solidarity and resistance to Colonial rule. As he walked back to the court he (the Colonial official) thought about his book. Every day brought him some new material. The story of this man who had killed a messenger and hanged himself would make interesting reading. One could perhaps write a whole chapter on him. Perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph, at any rate. There was so much else to include, and one must be firm in cutting out details. He had already chosen the title of his book, after much thought The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger. (1959:191) This paragraph, conjuring extreme doubt, serves as a kind of warning and touchstone for my research work. It at once sums up the dangers and hubris of the researcher, while calling into question the fundamental political impetus behind someone’s involvement in a culture, community, and society that is not their own. It also explicitly calls out the detachment, or dis-engagement, from people’s life worlds and knowledge, from the details, and condemns research work and academic writing as a dangerous sham, and even as a kind of “cover” for violent political and economic relations. Similar to Spivak (1998), Harding (1991) and many others’ assertions, Achebe asserts here that research and representation are never value-free and are irrevocably entangled with politics and power.31 31 I first read Achebe’s book in 1991, long before I ever visited Northern Uganda, but re-read it again for my comprehensive exams in 2011, before the major fieldwork for this research project. Since that time, I have tried to nurture the doubt–to carry it with me and to make it generative–and have 77 Another strong voice of cultivating doubt in this regard has been from Acoli writer and scholar Okot p’Bitek. Writing at the end of British Colonial rule in Uganda, p’Bitek attended Oxford’s Anthropology Department, and was disgusted by the terms used. He charged that “barbarian”, “savage”, “primitive”, “tribe”, “non-literate”, and “developing”, as examples, powerfully, even if subconsciously, posit the society and culture of the researcher (or missionary, or Colonial official, etc.) as better; condoning imperialist, colonialist, and post-colonialist subjugation of whole swathes of the global population (2011). He especially critiques the discipline of Anthropology itself, saying: Social anthropology has been the study of non-Western societies by Western scholars to serve Western interests. Social anthropology has not only been the handmaiden of colonialism in that it has analyzed and provided important information about the social institutions of colonized peoples to ensure efficient and effective control and exploitation, it has also furnished and elaborated the myth of the “primitive” which justified the colonial enterprise. (2011:1, 1st edition 1971) Although the issue of whether Anthropology was a handmaiden of colonialism, and the ways that colonial categories of knowledge “constituted colonized peoples as an object of study and control in the service of state power” (Cole 2001:18) has been specifically debated within the discipline since p’Bitek’s very warranted attack in 1971 (see Asad 1973 tried to critically work with this doubt to guide my methodological, theoretical, and personal engagements. 78 and Lewis 2014 as examples), I take his charge seriously. Considering what Sherry Ortner (1999:987) has described as “anthropology's complicity in projects of power”, I try to nurture this doubt, and carry it with me, as I think about and practice my research work. I continue to think through how my work in the Padibe sub-counties might be, despite my efforts, horrificly conforming to an ultimately neo-colonial model. I worry if my urge to learn, and to then disseminate the findings of that learning, to “tell a different story” of repair, however much backed by responsibilities and obligations to the community, about how some people recover from war and the protection of land rights, might ultimately lead to someone else’s capacity to exert greater control and subjugation over the individuals and communities I engaged with. I am concerned that I, like some of those who undoubtedly used the terms “primitive” and “savage”, am subconsciously and unwittingly strengthening and reproducing the very structures of oppression that I seek to write against. I struggle with these questions, with this doubt. One day in 2014 when attending a conference in Osoyoos, British Columbia, entitled Truth(s), Indigenous Peoples and Public Policy, I was discussing the idea of social repair with a small group of interested scholars, lawyers, and community leaders. Particularly, I engaged a man, a First Nation’s elder and leader, with the issue of whether documenting community indigenous knowledge and practice, and then writing to and detailing those practices, was a potentially dangerous activity considering the enduring power relations inherent in the academic research 79 endeavour. He looked at me thoughtfully, and finally said that to him, it was very important that I should write these things, as it is important to have a record that shows that, in opposition to what has been written throughout the history of research, communities themselves have the knowledge and capacity to organize, manage, and deal with their own life-worlds. And that respect should be given to that knowledge and that capacity. I take what this elder said that day seriously, but I also listen to the constant whispers of Achebe and p’Bitek.32 While I would love to fully embrace my work as possibly “corrective” to some of the more oppressive historical and continuing grand-narratives, I also carry doubt–doubt that has been fruitfully nurtured by contemporary Indigenous scholarship that elaborates on the political and representational power of the research endeavour itself. Many indigenous scholars in critique of–yet continued engagement with–Western academic practices attempt to outline the possibilities of a fairer, more transparent, and more accountable Indigenous research paradigm (Smith 1999, Wilson 2008, Kovach 2009). Like Achebe’s novel and p’Bitek’s writing, Linda Tuhiwai Smith clearly states that Western academic practices “…regulate and realize an underlying code of imperialism and colonialism” (1999:7). Emphasizing that “research is not an innocent or distant academic 32 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is also influential, especially in acknowledging how Colonialism’s effects are long-term, profound, and affects all aspects of the person, particularly how the imposition of a foreign language itself “colonizes the mind” (1986). As is Kwasi Wiredu, who writes about the need for conceptual decolonization, for “disentangling African frameworks of thought from colonial impositions…” (2011:xxxvii). 80 exercise but an activity that has something at stake and that occurs in a set of political and social conditions” (Smith 1999:5), contemporary critical indigenous scholarship calls for self-reflexivity and self-evaluation when engaging in the practice of research. For many, including Bagele Chilisa (who writes specifically about African Indigenous Research Methodologies), it is about active de-colonization of the research process itself. She says that this can primarily be done by acknowledging and valorizing other forms of knowledge and knowing that can challenge western academic hegemony, and thus western power. She urges us to remember that “social science research needs to improve spirituality in research, respecting communal forms of living that are not Western and creating space for inquiries based on relational realities and forms of knowing that are predominant among the non-Western Other/s still being colonized” (2012:3). Eva Marie Garroutte’s own ideas of de-colonization, of a formulation of a radical Indigenism (2003), argues for the reassertion and rebuilding of traditional knowledge from its roots as a way to assert an American Indian scholarship. Beginning from indigenous philosophies of knowledge requires that the researcher work within the assumptions drawn from indigenous philosophies, and not from Western academic theories. These kinds of assertions and visions resonate quite clearly back to Okot p’Bitek again–to his calls for “post-colonial” Africa to be re-built from African traditions. Not urging a simplistic “return” to traditions, he urges instead for cultivating the values and teachings–the knowledge of 81 African peoples themselves–rather than the cultures and philosophies of the colonizers (p’Bitek 1973). As elaborated in the introduction, I have learnt from, and employ Okot p’Bitek’s thinkings as the foundation of my theoretical framework, and attempt to ground the various facets of the current study (research questions, methodologies, analysis) firmly within Acoli indigenous knowledge.33 And, as explored in the introduction, I use Janet Carsten’s notion of relatedness, of understanding indigenous concepts of what being related does, to precisely acknowledge and respect “other” ways of being and acting, and of knowing, in the world. My urge to study the inter-generational angst around Acoli tekwaro itself indicates my concern with the gravity with which these “non-dominant” kinds of knowledge, relationality, and actions are conceptualized and approached by the community itself. In addition to acknowledging the impact of my Jewishness on the research, and how my “Whiteness” and the resulting generative doubt has led me to a more conscious and continuous centering of Acoli indigenous scholarship, knowledge, and learning, I also seek to support a general Afrocentric approach (Asante 2003, Dei 1994, Mkabela 2005).34 An Afrocentric approach, or paradigm (Mazama 2001) centers Africans’ own concerns, initiatives, and knowledge to secure and advance their social, cultural, economic, and 33 Please see Rosenoff Gauvin (2013) for an article in which I detailed Okot p’Bitek’s substantial, yet overlooked, contributions to the study of oral tradition. 34 Molefi Kete Asante was the first to develop the term Afrocentricity into a philosophical concept, in his work that sought to re-center the place of African knowledge and experience in Africans’ lives (2003, originally published in 1988). Along with Ama Mazama, who wrote extensively on the paradigm, they are known as the “Temple School.” 82 political rights. As Asante himself explains, “one of the key assumptions of the Afrocentrist is that all relationships are based on centers and margins and the distances from either the center or the margin. When black people view themselves as centered and central in their own history then they see themselves as agents, actors, and participants rather than as marginals on the periphery of political or economic experience” (Asante 2009). This at once corresponds to my responsibilities to Pabwoc, and highlights their own capacities and practices, and needs for secure land rights recognitions, to “move on” after the recent war and displacement. Although their own capacities and practices may, at some point, involve utilizing national or international justice or development frameworks for achieving their goals, these are framed from the perspectives, needs, and aspirations that emerge from the communities’ themselves. As George Sefa Dei explains: The notion of Afrocentricity…asserts both that African indigenous cultural values, traditions, mythology, and history may be understood as a body of knowledge dealing with the social world, and that Afrocentricity is an alternative, nonexclusionary, and nonhegemonic system of knowledge informed by African peoples' histories and experiences. Afrocentricity is about the investigation and understanding of phenomena from a perspective grounded in African-centered values. It is about the validation of African experiences and histories, as well as a critique of the continued exclusion and marginalization of African knowledge systems from educational texts, mainstream academic knowledge, and scholarship. (1994:4-5) 83 Despite learning from the teachings of these scholars, and despite my consequent efforts, desires, ethics, and epistemological stances, the results of my learning (and the circumstances of it), and the forms in which I am obliged to express it here, still implicates me in powerful hierarchies of knowledge that continue to acknowledge some forms of knowing and deny and silence others.35 I have, however, tried to the best of my ability at this point in time to mitigate and disrupt these kinds of violences, as I will review in the rest of the chapter, and as I hope is manifest in the dissertation document itself. The ethos that has come to frame my efforts in these regards, and that has come to frame my research practice, is to acknowledge the people of Pabwoc and Padibe as my great teachers, lapwonye madongo, to be accountable to the community of Pabwoc, to be responsible to them, and to be “obligated” to them, in my theory, methods, and practice, as much as I am able. So how did a white, Jewish Ashkenazi, female Anthropologist end up changing her shoes to better conform to her “obligation” to Pabwoc sub-clan and village one hot, dusty March morning? And how is the changing of my shoes demonstrative of my engagement with difficult questions, and the generative doubt concerning an ethical and respectful research practice? The next section will further explore my own position and relation within the political and social conditions of the work by briefly recounting my involvement in Northern Uganda over the past decade. Recounting my experiences over the years, I trace how I have come to think of my research practice as relationship, and why responsibilities 35I owe much of my attempt to tackle these issues to Pilar Riaño-Alcalá. 84 and obligation are key to understanding the ethos of this study. A description of specific methodologies that were used follows, and I explore how my growing responsibilities towards my interlocutors, and the various relationships initiated and maintained in Acoliland over the years, have led to the co-creation of the knowledge expressed here. I conclude by discussing research as relationship. 2.2.1 2004: When the sun sets… I arrived in Northern Uganda for the first time in September 2004, when I was invited by Mindset Media to be part of a Canadian production team to make a film about the war (McKormack 2006). I was a documentary photographer at the time, and also worked as an assistant location manager in the fiction film industry in Montreal. The position was voluntary, but expenses, including film for photography were paid. The field team included a fixer (Mike Otim), one researcher (Dr. Erin Baines), a producer (Tim Hardy), two cameramen (Vince Arvidson and Chris Wayatt), and myself. Upon receiving the invitation to participate by telephone, my first response was to say yes, of course, but as I hung up the phone, I thought “f%#@- what war in Northern Uganda?” I began research, and first came across an IRIN report called “When the Sun Sets, We Start to Worry…” (2003). I read the descriptions of the brutal abductions and forced fighting of young people, the intense poverty and disease as a result of internal displacement, as well as stories about escape and of youth night-commuting to city centers every night to protect themselves. These stories reminded me of my grandmother’s stories from World War II’s holocaust–the suffering was enormous. I was ashamed that I did not know about this war. 85 When I was growing up, people said that the world did not know about the horrors of the holocaust and that millions, including my forefathers and foremothers, were being exterminated. I believed this at that time and thought incredulously that if people had known, the slaughter might have been stopped sooner. This is partially why I chose to do a BA in communication studies, and believed in the rational witnessing public and media’s potential for social change. Although my thinking has since evolved regarding documentary and social change (Rosenoff 2010), at that time I felt that I had to be a part of telling more people about this war–there was not much doubt. The film crew and I arrived in Northern Uganda at a tense time–when Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA, was “back” in Uganda from South Sudan. We worked with Gulu NGO Forum director Mike Otim, and convened an Acoli advisory board of community based organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to suggest topics that they wanted to communicate about the war that they were experiencing (this advisory board eased the limit of my “doubt” at that time). We also had a media permit, and were able to travel with WFP’s food aid convoys to the displacement camps outside of Gulu town. It was unsafe to drive to Kitgum or Pader districts,36 but we flew to Kitgum for a week where we negotiated safe travel on military convoy through the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Lapolo, at that time. There was a lot of fighting on the outskirts of 36 The two other districts that along with Gulu, made up Acoliland at that time. Since the end of the war in late 2006, Government has created four more districts, which encompass Acoliland, or the “Acholi Sub-region.” 86 Kitgum town, across the Pager River to the north of town, and we heard gunshots from the hotel at night. We witnessed thousands of children night commuting into Gulu and Kitgum town centers for protection. Ambushes on the roads in broad daylight were frequent, and we came across one right near Padibe on our way to Lukung with the RDC’s convoy one day. We attended the funeral of the man we found killed on the roadside that day. We also visited many IDP camps where residents both showed and told us about the oppressive overcrowding, hunger, disease, and the lack of water and sanitation facilities. We met women in hot dark huts who had been beaten and raped by both the Government’s military and the LRA. We met adults and children who had been burned inside their huts by the LRA. We met community groups and mothers who were desperately trying to help youth who had been abducted and managed to escape. We visited Mega FM radio station in Gulu, and watched as former abductees were called upon to try to convince “rebels” in the bush to come home. We played with, sang, and danced the Macarena with hundreds of children we encountered on our camp visits. We did and saw a lot on that first trip, and I took photos, with permission, of all I witnessed. Conversations, in addition to images of violence from that first visit, continued to haunt me and provoke doubt. Particularly one from a rainy day up in Palaro IDP camp. I met Samuel, a 45 year-old man, while he was waiting for food aid. It was pouring rain, and I was trying to take pictures of the long lines of people waiting. He started talking to me, in perfect English, and exclaimed that it was unbelievable that with so much fertile land, his people were forced into the humiliating act of begging for food. A conversation ensued about life 87 before the war and camps, about Acoli self-reliance, and he commented that Acoli even used to get the best secondary school scores in the country. Thinking about my taking pictures, he wondered aloud why “when someone is killed in Palestine or Israel, it is all over the news, yet here, where hundreds and thousands are dying, we are never mentioned? Do we not count?“ (personal communication 2004). Remembering conversations like these helped me to finally develop my slide film, despite the doubt, and I set about editing the images.37 Finding a sense of purpose, I scanned, dusted, and printed images in preparation for a photo exhibit, titled “Who’s Counting?” a few months later (Rosenoff 2005). I found a gallery to show the work, was present in the gallery throughout the weeks of exhibition for interactions, and conducted many television and print media interviews on the subject. Although I questioned my qualifications to discuss the complex conflict, I tried to the best of my ability.38 At the exhibit’s opening, an old photography professor of mine excitedly asked me “which war are you going to go to next”? But I was speechless, my face flushed and I could not answer. I could not conceive of moving on to a “next” war. While I did not imagine myself as a war photographer, I still did not know what I was, in relation to the Northern Ugandan war, and in relation to the people I had met there. 37 The actual film was being edited in Vancouver at this time. 38 I was in contact with an Acoli woman studying at McGill University at that time, however, when I asked her if she could speak about the war with, or instead of me to the media, she declined saying that she feared the Ugandan Government. 88 I used the rest of my savings and bought a ticket to return to Northern Uganda in February 2005. 2.2.2 2005: “Roco Wat i Acoli” (Restoring relations in Acoli) I needed a military permit to travel around Northern Uganda this time, and visited Major Shaban Bantariza, the Military Public Relations Officer in Bomba, with Erin Baines and Mike Otim to obtain our passes. I soon traveled with Erin up to Gulu town, and tagged along and took photos while she and the rest of her research team carried out interviews and visits for a study that was summarized in the report “Roco Wat I Acoli - Restoring Relationships in Acholi-land: Traditional Approaches to Justice and Reintegration” (JRP et al. 2005). 39 I traveled with the team to camps in Gulu District, where the displaced residents showed me around the camps while the team conducted focus group interviews. I also traveled with the research team to Kitgum district, by road this time, and attended group cleansing ceremonies presided over by Rwot David Onen Acana II, Rwot of Payira clan who was also installed as Acoli Paramount Chief in January 2005. I also attended one young woman’s “traditional” cleansing ceremony in Lacor, near Gulu town, which was organized by a formerly abducted young woman’s family. My understandings of Acoli community and capacity grew, and I could not help acknowledging that the theoretical and moral frames 39 At its inception in 2005, JRP–the Justice and Reconciliation Project–was a partnership between the Gulu District NGO Forum and the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In January 2010, JRP became an independent non-governmental organization (NGO) under Ugandan registration, with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Kampala. 89 with which I understood violence and reconciliation and justice (trauma, holding perpetrators responsible for violence, Western judicial mechanisms), especially in relation to my own family’s histories thereof, were woefully inadequate to the communities I had visited.40 2.2.3 2006-2008: After the cease-fire I had again saved enough money working a contract as an assistant location manger to return to Northern Uganda in late 2006. There had been a cease-fire in September of that year, and I was able to arrange, with the help of the Justice and Reconciliation Project and Caritas,41 to stay in Padibe IDP camp in what was then Kitgum District.42 I was particularly struck with how much NGO activity was based in and around Gulu town compared with other places I had visited, namely the northern part of Kitgum district (where Padibe is, in what is now Lamwo District), and wondered how people’s experiences of war and displacement differed in outlying areas. I wanted to begin a new documentary photo project about everyday life in the IDP camps, and I also wanted to understand what the cease-fire really meant for over a million displaced people. 40 Despite this uncertainty, when I returned home I put together a website with the entire photo essay, and voluntarily took part in an advocacy campaign planned by the film’s producer (Act For Stolen Children), which included showing the photographs at a meeting in New York City that gathered NGOs, politician, and academics working on Northern Uganda, and participating in a news conference at the United Nations. I also put all the images on DVDs and sent them to local civil society organizations (CSOs) and NGOs in Gulu town (through Mike Otim) for their own use. 41 A friend had contacts with Caritas, and they had contacted the priest at Padibe Mission. 42 I also received permission from the RDC of Kitgum to stay in the camp at that time. 90 I stayed in the Roman Catholic priests’ (Acoli priests) house at Padibe Mission in Padibe IDP camp for the end of 2006, and the first two and a half weeks of January 2007. Padibe IDP camp at that time (2006-7) was still full with a population of 35 000 (UNOCHA 2006), as people did not yet trust the cease-fire of four months before. An employee of JRP in Padibe named Christopher43 first introduced me to Aceng Beatrice (hereafter Beatrice), a young woman of 15. Although I met other young women in the camp, I decided to learn from and document Beatrice’s everyday life that January 2007. Beatrice, whose father had been killed by cattle raiders and whose mother died of AIDS, was taking care of her three brothers, and spent her days fetching firewood, carrying jerry cans of water, washing clothes and dishes, and cooking. I kept her company and helped her get mud to re-smear her hut, washed dishes, and picked otigo leaves off the stems. I will not describe too much from that time as I have already written and presented art about her experiences of abduction, escape, and survival in the camp (Rosenoff 2009, Rosenoff 2010, Rosenoff 2010a). However, what is vital to the current study is that my experiences with Beatrice first introduced me to the rhythms of everyday life and relationality in the camps. What survival itself entails in the everyday, and the extensive networks of social relations that makes survival possible, looked very different than the dominant narratives told of the war. The sharing of heirloom seeds between camp kinsmen and neighbours, for example, 43 Whom I eventually found out in 2012, was a resident of Pabwoc. 91 demonstrates a very different view of survivor agency than only waiting in long lines for food aid. Figure 12- Aceng Beatrice shares seeds with her camp neighbours. Padibe IDP Camp, 2007. Figure 13- Aceng Beatrice waits in line with her brother to collect food rations from the WFP. Padibe IDP Camp, 2007. Also, I first met Augustine, who acted as research assistant for the current project, at this time. He was a high school seminary student, home in Padibe during the holiday break, 92 staying within the Mission area. He offered me his friendship and eventually introduced me to his family that lived in the camp. Figure 14- Nyero Augustine Caesar, Padibe Boys School. Padibe IDP Camp, 2008. He had so many brothers and sisters, and aunties, and father’s brothers, and people who were “like a father” or “like a sister” that I could not keep up. Little did I know how much a part of my life they would eventually become. After that first chunk of time with Beatrice, and Augustine, I began to wonder more about documentary photography’s (and my own) role in politics, and in advocacy, and in social change more generally. I began to think more about how events like “war on the African continent” are framed, how they are narrated, and by whom they are narrated, and I decided to apply to a new MFA program at Ryerson University in Documentary Media so that I could more seriously think through these issues. 93 While academics had begun to write about social repair and emphasized the agentic, relational, and generative aspects of lives in and after war (see introduction section 1.4), contemporary media and art representations, as they were critiqued, too often participated in the commodification of suffering (Strauss 1998), of condoning and generating complacency (Sontag 2003, Moeller 1999), of aestheticizing suffering (Reinhardt et al. 2007, Solomon-Godeau 1991), and of “othering”–participating in neo-colonial, imperial discourse and policy that encouraged the representation of Africans, or non-white peoples, in need of saving by white Westerners.44 I re-examined the photo essay I had created in 2004-2005, and critically saw how my naïve necessity to “tell people about the war”, even though I heeded local peoples’ choices of what to tell (through the advisory committee), still contributed to stereotypical images of African suffering in need of foreign alleviation. The details and complexity of the war, including its Colonial roots (Baines 2015a, Branch 2011, Finnström 2008), the military involvement of multiple African and Western nations which fueled the war, and NGOs’ complicity in disseminating a one-sided pro-Government narrative of the war (Finnström 2008, Dolan 2009, Porter 2013) all contributed to my growing doubt, and “unsettling” (Regan 2010) of my role as a can-do-good messenger demanding more outside action to alleviate suffering. 44 Teju Cole particularly explores the “White Saviour Industrial Complex” later in 2012, in response to Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 viral video. 94 The unsettling, however, could not be contended with by not engaging in these difficult questions. The people I’ve met, the stories shared, and my experiences during and concerning my time in Northern Uganda fundamentally changed who I am, and how I see the world. And it is from these questions of representation–of narration of war and survival itself–and my role within the global system that creates and perpetuates war, that I began to engage. Swedenburg describes how when he tells people about the work he does with Palestinian youth, “most people respond with looks of shocked disbelief and exaggerated compassion (both for him and the Palestinians) but rarely with the realization that the “state of emergency” connects to their own lives” (1995:34). I thought that if academics, like Swedenburg, sought ways to respectfully represent lives in war–or at least engage in the issues to advance understanding–and engage with his own involvement therein, I could also seek ways in which to bring respect and acknowledgement to peoples’ everyday acts of survival and resistance through critical and self-reflexive documentary practice. Three months after I began the MFA program, I went back to Padibe. I contacted one of the priests from Padibe when I got up to Gulu, and received permission to visit once again. When I arrived at the mission in Padibe IDP camp, the same three local priests were there, and Augustine was around too. Augustine had left seminary school at this point, but he stayed around the mission, involved in the church choir, and having set up a chicken business near the Fathers’ house. He was trying to raise extra funds to be able to attend Gulu University. 95 My first morning there, I set out to find Beatrice. The camp was a little less crowded, but was still very full. Augustine helped me find my way to Beatrice’s old hut. Although it is a long story, Beatrice had a falling out with her brother and moved in with a more distant relative on the other side of the camp. She recounted the story to me full of tears, and speaking softly, whispered that she really missed her brothers. The next day, she asked me to join her in harvesting peas about a 40 minute walk from the camp. After harvesting, we visited some of her maternal relatives, back in their “home” (another 30 minute walk), a small clearing with two houses in a large sea of tall grass. She gave them two large sacks of peas, while they questioned me about home, my parents, and my life loko nam (across the sea). Figure 15- Aceng Beatrice’s extended maternal family’s homestead. Panyinga, December 2007. They had recently returned to their ancestral lands. 96 A few days later, Beatrice, quite hesitantly, told me that she was pregnant. The father was in jail, but she was confident that when he got out they would live together on his land. I asked why she did not go live with the relatives I had met in the bush, but she explained to me that in Acoli, a woman lives together with her husband on his land (patrilocal). So she would wait. Soon after, she explained that she had to leave Padibe for a day. I was worried that I had done something to offend her, but she said that her uncles had asked her to help cook at a sub-clan meeting. I asked what the meeting was about, and she said that she thinks it is about returning to the ancestral land (dwog ngom kwaro), but that she wasn’t so sure. While my relationships until now had mostly been with seemingly unrelated individuals (Beatrice, Augustine, people I had met in 2004 and 2005 etc.),45 I began to learn more about the multiple affiliations and attending responsibilities, based on lineage, sub-clan, and clan that existed in Padibe. It is as if webs of relations that I almost grasped over the years were coming into focus. Being introduced to people over the years that were “like a father” or “like a sister” finally began to make its way into my thick head.46 45 Later, I even learned that Beatrice’s mother was from the same clan as Augustine’s mother. 46 They used classificatory kinship terms whereby, for example, all of your father’s brothers are fathers, and all of your father’s brother’s children are your brothers and sisters. Classificatory kinship terms in Acoli are best understood in terms of the obligations and responsibilities of “amity” (Fortes 1969) implied in the relationship designated by the term in question. This will be more fully explored in Chapter 5. 97 I left to finish my MFA course work in Toronto, and then returned to Padibe IDP camp five months later in late June with Andrea McKinlay.47 Andrea and I lived next door to Augustine’s family in the camp this time, and his mother looked out for us and taught us how to live. Acan Almarina (Mama) showed us how to start a fire, prepare Acoli greens, cook on the firewood, collect water, sweep the house etc. Figure 16- Acan Almarina (Mama) shows us how to light the cooking fire. Padibe IDP camp, 2008. 47 My plane ticket was sponsored by Guluwalk this time, a Canadian non-profit. Along with one of their employees, Andrea McKinlay, I was to write a blog about living in Padibe IDP camp. The purpose was to bring attention to the plight of those still remaining in the camp, and to garner support for much needed reconstruction aid and development to the war-torn area (Rosenoff and McKinlay 2008). We hired Augustine as a fixer, and asked him to find us a place to live within the camp and to help us secure permissions from the camp and local governments. We also received permission from the RDC of Kitgum District, and requested that Ojibu, a JRP employee, and Augustine, upload our entries from Kitgum town. There were still no “internet sticks” or electricity in Padibe at that time. Every two days, Andrea and I would walk to the father’s house, about 20 minutes from the grass thatched roof house we rented in the camp center. We kept a laptop there (there was solar power) that we used to type the blog entry and we transferred it onto a usb key. Augustine or Ojibu would then travel by motorcycle to an Internet café in Kitgum to try to upload the post. 98 I also visited Beatrice a lot. She now lived with her baby’s father, Kilama Amos, and her son, Vita Kissumu, about ten minutes from the hut rented by Andrea and I. Beatrice and Kilama were still living in the camp, but they were building a house on Kilama’s family’s land about another 15-minute walk away. Although Kilama believed that it was his land to build on and cultivate, he told me that that they were having problems because his father had died, and now others in the sub-clan disagreed with his claims. There was more space in the camp as people were progressively returning home. Many of the stories people shared that summer were about the difficulties of return. Beatrice’s two brothers had already left, and Augustine’s family had begun to cultivate their fields, and planned to permanently return home at the end of the year after they could build more houses. The priests’ cook, a young woman I had met the year before, was having other kinds of problems associated with return. She explained that her family was making her move back home with them, despite the fact that the father of her baby was remaining in the center. She wanted to stay with him, but they were forcing her to return home with them because he refused to pay balo kwan “spoiled studies” (balo kwan is kind of a luk, a payment for a child born in the absence of “traditional” courtship or marriage–more in Chapter 4). A camp neighbor also spoke at length about her children’s hatred of farming. She said that the youth that grew up in the camp knew nothing of village life, and rather learned to 99 “despise” it because of their exposure to munu (foreign, white) culture in the camps. She worried for these youth, and for the future of her family that relied on the communal labour necessary in subsistence farming. Another neighbor was a widow raising three children. She did not leave the camp yet because she had not built a house back on her deceased husband’s family land. She did not have funds to hire someone, building was men’s work, and her husband’s family was having enough challenges trying to build their own houses still. Some teenage youth we encountered at the video hall and bookshop spoke about how they did not want to return to the village. They did not see the value of Acoli culture for themselves, and that it was “only good for the elders.” Besides, they did not want to be “backward farmers” (personal communications 2008). Many other things were revealed that July while living in the camp, including persistent and widespread alcohol abuse, and domestic violence, however a growing worry, from youth, adults and elders alike, was about youth who had grown up in the camps and didn’t “know” or didn’t want to “know” village life, was palpable. I also visited Beatrice daily. I played with Vita, did the dishes, and helped her plant beans and sunflowers. We also went over the pictures we had created together over the past years and discussed them. When I asked her if she wanted me to create an exhibit in Padibe 100 or Uganda, she laughed, embarrassed. She said that she did not have anything to say to people here, just that she should like to learn from her people instead (described in the Introduction). When I heard the expressions, and even read about how youth were “out of culture” (Finnström 2008:222), I began to think about Beatrice, and what she perceived that she missed during the war and displacement years. I also thought about the teenagers who didn’t want anything to do with tekwaro. I then thought of the issues I encountered that summer, and began to see many of them as a result of the war’s impact on inter-generational social relations and a resulting “gap” in knowledge transmissions. I began to wonder about what this inter-generational “gap” meant to post-conflict and post-conflict social organization and justice. So much of what the International community and scholars were debating at that time were the forms of justice necessary for the population to “move on” (i.e. “traditional” versus “international” mechanisms). But in people’s quotidian lives, most pressing concerns addressed inter-generational relations of extended kin networks, the rights and responsibilities, and morality implied therein, and their relationships to the land. After that July in Padibe IDP camp, I began to wonder how people were organizing back in their village homes, and how did they organize to get there? Through which institutions and processes was land accessed? Who decided these things? And how? How were 101 children, women, and men recognized and given rights? How were kin relations and cultural protocols continuing to affect the lives of so many people I spoke with? And, how did inter-generational gaps in knowledge transmissions affect all these things? Over the years, and with help from cultivating the doubt that I explored in the previous section, these questions eventually turned into ones that ultimately valorize indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and how communities themselves, through participatory kin-based inter-generational activities, teach and live that knowledge–and how engagement with tekwaro itself is a form of social repair because of how it elaborates and re-elaborates relatedness. At that time however, I had just decided to continue my studies in Anthropology, a discipline that I thought was appropriate to understanding lived realities of post-conflict return. I also thought that it was a discipline that more directly grappled with its role as “a child of imperialism” (Gough 1993), and would thus be a more generative place from which to continue thinking through my own role within global processes of inequality. I began my PhD in 2009 in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. After my first year of course-work in 2010, I returned to Padibe.48 I stayed with the Sisters at the Mission this time, as the trip was brief. I visited Beatrice and found her well and busy 48 I had received funding from the Liu Institute to conduct theatre workshops with Laura Lee in Rwanda and Uganda. The workshop in Uganda took place in Lacor, near Gulu town, and I went to Padibe afterwards. 102 in the gardens at their new homestead on Kilama’s land. I talked with Augustine about some of my questions, and he said that I should speak to his family about them. I was invited for lunch, and we biked to his village to meet his extended family in their “traditional” home, on their ancestral land. This meeting encouraged me to pursue the research questions detailed in the introduction. If youth did not know, or in many instances, did not want to know tekwaro, the indigenous knowledge, ways of knowing, and the ways of life that ensured not only survival (subsistence), but engagement in their moral, political, and legal communities, what were the multiple generations doing about it? How were communities actually rebuilding? What authority functioned in the villages? What did tekwaro, and the inter-generational knowledge and relationships implied therein, mean to social repair? I also decided after that visit to stay with Augustine’s family in their village of Pabwoc East for the new period of fieldwork. Although I considered staying with Beatrice, I knew that she was a young woman and mother living in her husband’s sub-clan, and her husband’s father had died a few years before. Although their experiences would certainly be significant to understanding social repair, I had learnt enough about Acoli social organization to know that I would have more experiential access to various aspects of village life, including the kin-based communal governance organizations, in a multi-generational homestead, accessed through the eldest son, with a living father and mother. Augustine was that son, Omon Justo and Acan Almarina are his parents, and that is how his family, sub-clan, and village of Pabwoc became my home for seven months in 2012. 103 I think it has been necessary to consider how my histories and relations informs the present study; the relationships it is built on, the questions being asked and how they are asked. I heed Johannes Fabian’s assertion that anthropological knowledge results from a coevalness between the researcher and her interlocutors (2002), and have tried to explore, rather than deny, my own histories of engagement with individuals and communities in Acoliland towards that end. Tacking back to my discussion of how people learn through practice (particularly referencing “Acoli indigenous education” as per Ocitti) and through interactions in the introduction (section 1.4.3), I hope that this narration, as well as the recounting of personal lessons that open Chapters 3 to 5, remind the readers of the co-created nature of knowledge. In the first section I discussed my own history and heritage that influenced my engagement in Northern Uganda over the years. Acknowledgment of these histories at the same time questioned my involvement in Northern Uganda, in terms of potentially perpetuating inequality and violence, and caused me to more consciously, and theoretically, center peoples’ and communities’ knowledge and capacities. My relationship with Beatrice then introduced me to how Acoli indigenous knowledge, tekwaro, and the responsibilities and rights of relations–relatedness–affects everyday life. My friendship with Augustine throughout those years exposed me to his multi-generational family, and enabled further discussion of the inter-generational issues first brought up by Beatrice and others as people were set to return home. Overall, I have tried to pinpoint how my 104 experiences, of engagement but also of doubt, and the relationships created and maintained led me to examine inter-generational relations, indigenous knowledge, and social repair in one specific rural village. The following section discusses my involvement with Pabwoc sub-clan and village. I then provide an overview of the methodologies used in this study, and emphasizing that research is relationship, summarize the “obligation” ethos of the study. 2.3 Pabwoc Sub-Clan and Villages Augustine’s family’s interest in repairing inter-generational relations, or bringing “youth into culture” (see introduction), led them to be generally interested in my research project and to extend me an invitation to live with them. Additionally though, hospitality is revered in Acoli, and guests of any kind are never turned away (Girling 1960, Oloya 2015). Because I had known them for some years, and we had close relations when I lived in Padibe IDP camp as their neighbour in July 2008, it was quite natural to continue our relationship. My host family’s matriarch, Mama, said that she was happy that she would get to show me how to live back in the village, rather than just in the camp, and other extended family members were also proud to show me the results of their ongoing rebuilding efforts: manicured homesteads, new fruit saplings, new houses, pit latrines, increasing livestock, and the producing gardens of their ancestral homes. After a decade of displacement in the squalid camp, there was great relief and pride, despite the many hardships, of living back home. 105 Figure 17- Approaching a homestead in Pabwoc, 2012. More so than my Jewishness, my munu-ness, my foreigner-ness, my white-ness, was always an important part of my interactions in Pabwoc and Padibe. Most people in the Padibe sub-counties have only encountered “whites” that work with churches, non-governmental agencies, or for very few, the British Colonial government. Although the people of Pabwoc did not, historically, have violent encounters with white Colonial officials or policies during Colonial occupation (as will be described in Chapter 3), the violent regime changes of the post-colonial Ugandan state, and its offshoot in the form of the Government-LRA war, manifest just some of the pernicious effects of Colonialism. Generally though, people’s 106 direct experiences with “whites” have been confined to encountering white priests and sisters 50 years before (Padibe Mission was built by Comboni Missionaries in 1960s), and most recently (and predominantly) from the war, many white humanitarian and NGO workers, as well as a few born-again missionaries. Many rural Acoli people’s ideas of who I am based on my skin colour, and their own histories of dealing with people of my skin colour, mainly through churches and NGOs, has made me contend with the legacy of “whites” trying to intervene and/or convert peoples to their own ways of being, acting, and knowing in the world. One elder from Oriya, Padibe West, asked one of Pabwoc’s elders if I had fallen out of an airplane on the way to Sudan–such expression belies the incredulity that a munu would actually choose to live, eat, sleep, and learn from living in a local village. Taking seriously my responsibilities as a hosted daughter of Bwoc is one way I have found to respect my relationships of engagement, conforming to some important social norms on local terms, but also in response to the doubt I carry concerning the entire research endeavour. Prioritizing felt “obligation” to the relationships cultivated through my research–to Beatrice and Augustine, but now through to Augustine’s extended family, to Pabwoc–is a way to conceptualize the sometimes conflicting methodological choices I have made. 107 When people in Padibe camp began returning home to their ancestral lands and livelihoods after a decade of displacement and two decades of war, the people I had relationships with shared with me their anxieties and concerns, as well as their joys. Beatrice worried about being disconnected from Acoli “culture” and knowing how to live well as an Acoli; Augustine’s family and extended family were worried about youth’s disconnection from kit me kwo (ways of life) Acoli. Both echoed concerns I’d heard elsewhere in Padibe about land rights, unsanctioned unions, and ways of life of the sub-clan. I thought that heeding their concerns would be important, and I sought to learn from them how people were actually social repairing–how they were working in the everyday to “move on” in post-conflict and post-displacement contexts. The next section details how exactly I went about learning these things, or the main research methodologies used in this study. 2.4 Methodologies My main methodologies in 2012, when I lived in the village of Pabwoc East, included homestead surveys within the whole village, interviews and historical song recordings with elders from Pabwoc sub-clan, and participation in a youth group’s “cultural revival” programming that included documentation of village debates, focus group interviews, and village-wide fireside chats. As will be explored, to understand what social repairing consists of in rural post-conflict contexts, I thought it imperative to live within a rural village and to take part (as much as I was able) in everyday village life. The homestead 108 survey within the same village meant to provide in-depth familial histories (including those of the recent war and displacement), general statistics relating to village residents (household compositions, lineage affiliations), and a forum for discussing tekwaro and residents’ recent experiences of war and dispalcement. As I will explain, involvement with the youth group was requested of me, and the group’s programming was a vitally rich source of public dialogue and practices regarding the effects of war and displacement on tekwaro and relatedness, beyond the boundaries of Pabwoc in the greater rural Padibe sub-counties. Additionally, one of my final activities, the requested creation of the workbook “Tekwaro Pabwoc” for village residents in 2015, drew upon elders’ interviews and song documentation, and the writing and co-editing with Pabwoc members Nyero Augustine Caesar and Binayo Okongo, along with input from Lanek Morrish, and Yoze Ogwok, enriched my understandings of tekwaro generally, and the Pabwoc community’s understandings of tekwaro specifically. As I will explore in the coming sub-sections, this range of methodologies afforded by my funding and my own history and relationships in the area (as previously explored), allowed me to correlate personal lessons regarding social relatedness in Pabwoc with everyday village life, as well as individual households’ histories during wartime and return with more public debate and discussion regarding the effects of war on community, households, and tekwaro. The methodologies employed both emerged from and served to elaborate my practice of research as relationship, 109 2.4.1 Pabwoc East village The key element of my research methodology was living in my host family’s (Acan Almarina and Omono Justo Langoya’s) homestead in the village of Pabwoc East for seven months in 2012. A second key element was the undertaking of a complete village survey of Pabwoc East in the last two months of that fieldwork. Figure 18- Acan Almarina looking at a rainbow in her homestead. Pabwoc, 2012. In terms of living with Mama and Baba and their extended family, I wanted to be with them in their home to share and learn from them after living next door to them in Padibe IDP camp. Intellectually, after having been in the camps and glimpsing how people survived there, I wanted to experience village life in order to see how differences of place affected quotidian relations. Methodologically, I felt that I could not understand people’s anxieties 110 about inter-generational relations or conceptualize indigenous social repair if I could not experience the day-to-day activities of quotidian survival in rural village life. After an invitation at a lunch in Pabwoc in 2010,49 I began making plans via email with Augustine (he had access to internet while Baba and Mama did not). Like many other young men, Augustine lives part-time in the village, and part-time in Padibe center. He rents a room in the center, and spends about 75% of his nights there. Figure 19- One of three main roads in "the center". Padibe Town Council, 2012. I began discussions then about proper relations in Pabwoc. As Augustine’s family was still rebuilding after the camp, he suggested that I build a new house (mud and grass thatched), pit latrine, and shower stall for my use. Then, when I leave, the family would benefit from the new infrastructure. I sent the funds in the fall of 2011. 49 As described in the introduction and as indicated in the timeline attached as Appendix C. 111 At the same time, I became a research affiliate with the Makerere Institute for Social Research (MISR) and The Refugee Law Project (RLP) in Uganda. Although I did not participate in many events during my fieldwork because of the distance of Padibe from their centers (MISR and RLP’s main offices in Kampala), I did review my research proposal with Professor Okello Ogwang from MISR and Stephen Oola from RLP. Additionally, RLP facilitated the obtainment of my Ugandan research permit from UNCST, and I met with Prof. Okello-Ogwang whenever I was in Kampala, on my way to and from Padibe (four times in 2012). In that preparatory stage, I also asked Augustine to converse with the necessary authorities to see if and how my presence could directly contribute to collective village efforts (I did not know at the time that the village corresponded to Kaka Pabwoc sub-clan, and that there is a sub-clan leader and various active councils and committees that I refer to throughout this thesis as kin-based communal governance organizations). Augustine came back to me, and said that the elders requested that I write down their “history” for them. Towards that goal, I conducted three group interviews, and a minimum of six individual interviews with elders of Pabwoc. I also recorded and transcribed ten historical songs that were performed at an event organized by an elder for this purpose. The resulting 65-page colour workbook was produced for village children and youth, and entitled “Tekwaro Pabwoc.” 175 copies were distributed to all of Pabwoc (Pabwoc East and West villages) in July 2015 (I have attached a copy of the workbook as Annex A). In addition to fulfilling this request or responsibility, the interviews that elucidated kin-based relations ended up providing 112 invaluable background to social organization in Pabwoc, the Padibe sub-counties, and Acoliland generally (more in Chapters 3, 4, and 5). A version of this history appears in Chapter 3. However, my insights about social relations and relatedness in rural Acoli life would not have been possible without the daily activities and instruction from Mama and the aunties, my interactions with other Pabwoc residents as they moved to and from the gardens and borehole, and the nightly fireside chats (wang oo) with all homestead residents (Augustine’s family) and occasional guests (neighbours, uncles, friends etc.). My living and learning arrangements, my “participant-learning” of Acoli indigenous knowledge or my traditional Acoli education, whereby education is meant to reinforce reciprocal kin-relationships (Ocitti 1973) by members of Pabwoc, also led to ever deepening, and widening, and more complicated relationships. As described in the introduction to this chapter, I was often reminded that I now had relationship, and thus “obligation” to all of Pabwoc. Certainly, this relationship, and my learning of the responsibilities associated with it, informs much of this dissertation’s exploration of local idioms of relatedness and indigenous modes of knowing and knowledge. Like Carsten’s research on the island of Langwaki, processes involved in her own incorporation in community informed much of her study on the substances of kinship (1997).50 This kind of “participant-learning”, in 50 There is a difference of note however, as the residents of Langwaki did not at all claim common decent. In that situation, processes of incorporation were precisely the main practices that created relatedness. In Pabwoc however, the processes of incorporation that I experienced provided insight into the ways and practices in which one engages with tekwaro and creates relatedness, which also 113 being taught how to live by Mama and the Aunties, and in learning the Acoli ways of life (kit me kwo), comprised many embodied lessons of learning responsibilities, or of “obligation.” My willingness to be a student of tekwaro pa Acoli coupled with my vulnerability and lack of knowledge regarding how to survive in the village, allowed me to learn through participation my interdependence on others for survival, the very embodied importance of the land, as well as respect, and kaka, to notions of relatedness and responsibilities that I explore in the proceeding chapters. Jennifer Cole’s remarks about her own “redefinition” by Betsimisaraka where she conducts research in Madagascar, because of her dependency, shows how people she encountered redefined her in their own terms and co-created the grounds for their shared interaction: I was an outsider, privileged in terms of race and class inscribed willy-nilly in the wider history of colonial contact, and these associations could never be totally forgotten. Yet in the context of daily village life, which assumed intimate knowledge of the local scene, ways of making a living, and particular human relations, I was an incompetent child, as yet unversed in local ways and entirely dependent. (2001:33) In addition to living in Pabwoc, learning kit me kwo Acoli, and specifically compiling Pabwoc’s “history”, in those first few weeks I would often invite women villagers passing by–after the requisite exchange of greetings–for tea, coffee, or cocoa. While not specifically partially relied on an underlying framework of descent. As will be explored however, descent in itself–without participation– was not enough. Whereby participation, without descent, often was. 114 a methodology, this coffee house hospitality allowed me to get to know village members informally, and mostly created a space for people to ask me questions that they were curious about. Although I got to know many residents of Pabwoc in this way, and they me, I could only imagine the village as a whole, spatially or in terms of the population composition when I undertook the task of homestead surveys. I waited until the final two months of my fieldwork to conduct these surveys so that months of relationship building and experience, in addition to the outlined questions, would inform the survey conversations. Figure 20- Augustine and author conducting the village survey. Pabwoc, 2012. Photo by Oguti Yolanda, reproduced here with her permission. I reviewed the two-page questionnaire, and aimed at generally recording homesteads’ and households’ recent histories of displacement, their composition, and people’s thoughts on 115 tekwaro pa Acoli.51 The survey questionnaire ended up serving as the basis for conversations with a representative of each of the 48 extended homesteads in the village at that time. They lasted anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. These conversations usually took place in the late afternoon, after people had returned from the gardens. There are sometimes several households in a homesteads (like ours) that are intimately related, and because of the close relationship, I decided to conduct the interview at the homestead level. People’s relations in a homestead, and not solely within a household (house with cooking fire) were important to understanding inter-generational relations as well, and the “survey” was very useful in identifying patterns of residence. I also asked each representative their dog-ot (lineage) affiliation, and learned that every single person within Pabwoc were Bwoc’s direct descendants or had married one of them, mostly through patrilineal affiliation, but sometimes through the maternal line as well (this will be further discussed in Chapter 3 through 5). In addition to the useful information regarding histories of displacement, residence, and kinship, the surveys gave me the excuse (and discipline needed) to travel to and visit with each and every person’s home within the village. This was important for several reasons, including seeing who lived with whom and the range of standard of living within the village, but primarily, sitting and spending time with people in their homes is an effective way to communicate respect. Before I had arrived in 2012, Augustine had also pre-arranged my intensive language classes. I had picked up a fair amount of Acoli on my previous visits and had taken private 51 The original is included here as Appendix B. 116 lessons in Vancouver in 2011, but I wanted to be conversant. Most women in Pabwoc did not speak English, and I also knew that being able to understand people directly would greatly aid my work (and relationships). I wanted to learn while in Pabwoc, and Augustine arranged for a teacher from Kitgum to travel the 30 minutes by motorcycle. My teacher Ojera John Okello was a high school teacher, who also recorded two radio-shows per week about the Acoli language and Acoli traditions. The lessons were five days a week over five weeks, and although I could communicate quite well by the end, I still continued to conduct the formal individual and group interviews with Augustine. Although Augustine was not trained as a translator or transcriber, and had no previous experience as a research assistant, I thought it was important that a “son of Bwoc” be present at all the more formal interviews. I felt that whatever the outcomes of this research project, whether in a cultural workbook for popular distribution or as academic papers or a dissertation, possibly the most important part was having a youth of Pabwoc present to share in the reception of the requested indigenous sub-clan-based knowledge.52 In addition to participating in whatever parts of rural daily life I could join in (attending funerals and sub-clan gatherings in addition to everyday survival), group and individual interviews with elders about tekwaro Pabwoc, and the homestead survey conversations, other miscellaneous activities I engaged in in Pabwoc included a focus group interview 52 Similarly, I engaged Augustine’s brother, Oyo, to record genealogies of the three lineages of Pabwoc. 117 with 10 male youth (I had invited all the surrounding male youth, about 15) and the recording of the three lineage genealogies, what people described as yenyo kwaro “looking for the grandfathers/ancestors” (there were three lineages–Abonga, Otuna, and Ocuga–within Pabwoc). Most interviews were digitally recorded, and interview notes, as well as journal entries were handwritten in journals. Augustine transcribed most of the interviews and historical songs that were used in Chapter 3. I typed up the five journals used to record these many elements of fieldwork when I returned to the University of British Columbia throughout 2013.53 Outside of Pabwoc, I interviewed Rwot Odoki of Padibe, the Kitgum Land officer, the Padibe IDP camp commander, Enoji (the oldest man in Padibe), and Pacoto (Augustine’s uncle from Pamot sub-clan, a frequent visitor). I also enlisted Francis Oyil to create a rough map showing all the villages and kaka (clans, sub-clans, lineages) in Padibe sub-counties, to inquire from Kal Kwaro Padibe about abila and ayweya (ancestral and spirit shrines) that had been “raised” in the villages since return throughout Padibe, and to collect and translate songs composed about the war and camp years. Many casual conversations, including with Beatrice and Kilama, as well as the Sisters, complemented what I learned through my relations with members of Pabwoc. 53 I did not have access to electricity while in Pabwoc; though Padibe Town Center had newly-installed power for the first two weeks of my stay. The power was then taken out by a storm mid-March 2012, and only returned in late October. Generators were ubiquitous in the Town Center, though were rarely seen in the village, except on occasions such as weddings or funerals. 118 The other major activity that I engaged in outside of Pabwoc was participation in, and support for, a youth group’s “cultural revival” programming. 2.4.2 The youth group When I received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council scholarship, and later a Trudeau scholarship to support my PhD studies in 2011, I felt that I also wanted to help Augustine in his own endeavours. Since I had received scholarships for my work that supported me in pursuing the current project, I felt it only fair that he should also reap the rewards from work I could not have done without his help.54 Over the years, Augustine had introduced me to a youth group he was a part of that formed while they were in Padibe IDP camp. They used traditional music, dance and drama (MDD) to bring youth together in the camp. He wanted to reactivate the group now that people had returned home and sought funding to create a program in Padibe West and East sub-counties on cultural revival using MDD.55 I was unsure if I should help fund the project. On the one hand, formal employment for a university graduate in Northern Uganda is very low, especially in rural areas, with most job 54 I felt the same about Beatrice, and she and Kilama had asked for, and received, support in opening a small store in Padibe center. These contributions came from my stipend and not my research expenses. 55 I imagine that my own interest in tekwaro, contributed to Augustine’s proposal. And in retrospect, his interest in tekwaro likewise peaked my own. It is hard to say which was the chicken and which was the egg. 119 prospects coming from NGOs. Pursuing this program would help Augustine gain valuable experience in his desired line of work. Also, I was admittedly interested in how a youth group would go about “reviving” culture, and how they would reconcile the apparent contradiction between valorizing indigenous cultural knowledge and using non-indigenous teaching (though not necessarily knowing) means to do so. On the other hand, I had wanted to distinguish myself from other munus that residents had met in the past, who were mainly associated with churches and NGOs, that wanted to “teach” the community something. A deep epistemological concern about how knowledge can be known, and whose knowledge is valued is what anchors much of my practice. Responding to the violent histories of research discussed above, centering community knowledge and capacity–rather than trying to change it–is an important impetus, and ethos, to the project itself.56 Yet here was an initiative by a community member, a youth community member, which was about intervention and change. I was, and still am, deeply conflicted about my involvement with the youth group. Theoretical ideals and real life relationships and responsibilities are not always easy to reconcile. Time and experience has only textured that experience, not effaced it. I was conflicted about being a “funder” because of the unequal power relations that that would entail, but I also felt that our differential access to resources existed in any case (whether I 56 I acknowledge however that I am overgeneralizing NGOs, and that there are many different kinds of NGOs that both challenge and reinforce these violences (Choudry 2013). 120 funded the project or not), and not honouring Augustine’s request would definitely not change that. There was also a part of me that believed that contributing to a youth-led cultural program might truly benefit various communities by itself instigating inter-generational interactions. And because it was a youth-led participatory initiative by a founding member of the group, who was I to condemn it? But for that matter, who was I to condone it through funding either? There are more pros and cons, and even today I can argue both sides until my head spins. Ultimately, I decided to fund the project, partially from my subsistence scholarship and partially from my research expenses, where they could be applicable. Would I make the same decision on a new project today? No. But being able to say this has only come with learning much about local kin-based communal governance organizations, and the local politics and power-plays of employees of NGOs, as well as my newer, expanded relationships to Pabwoc village. But I explicitly write about this dilemma here, with no resolution, because it crystallizes some of my enduring doubt about the research process itself. What does it mean to your engagement, and to your relationships, to come to a particular place and community with institutional backing and support? What networks of prestige and power do you carry, and how do they affect the people that you encounter and befriend? How are responsibilities, accountabilities, and “obligation” more generally interpreted, and what does it mean, both personally and professionally, in these contexts? 121 The group, it turns out had a board of directors in Kitgum town, and the revival program, as designed, employed six local youth between the ages of 20 and 33. The youth group rented an office room in Padibe Town Center, the center. The proposal included identifying “cultural” groups in the villages within Padibe sub-counties, and to choose 4-6 to work with for six months. A cultural competition in the center, sensitization for religious leaders and traditional leaders, and trainings for the cultural groups were all planned and budgeted. Although I mostly stayed within Pabwoc, pursuing language courses and learning how to be kweri (culturally knowledgeable, as Mama and the Aunties told me), I participated in youth group activities about once a week. Participating and observing two meetings with Rwodi (traditional chiefs) and their executive councils, one training session on “traditional culture” by a man from Kitgum town, a “sensitization” meeting to bring together traditional and religious leaders,57 four village debates, three village-wide fireside chats, and a cultural competition over the seven months, all informed me of community members’ (both staff and participants) thoughts and beliefs about tekwaro pa Acoli, the fissures and struggles that have resulted from the war, and further back from Colonial encounters (mostly talked about through Christianity and English education), and about the generational knowledge and participation in these processes of change. 57 The group hired a local Acoli high school teacher who had a MA in religious studies to facilitate a daylong workshop between religious leaders (Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Pentecostal) and cultural leaders (some representatives of the kin-based communal governance organizations–mostly from Kal Kwaro Padibe, the chiefdom level one). 122 The dilemmas that funding the youth group brought to the fore have been very important in thinking through my research practice, and some of the consequences of my responsibilities to the relationships (in this case Augustine) that I have made over the past 12 years. And although my relationships with people in Padibe are the source of an enduring respect and obligation ethos, what Tillmann-Healy calls “friendship as method” (2003), this at the same time gathers the paradoxical dilemma of accountability and power inherent in the research process itself. Thinking through my research practice as relationship allows for consideration of the messy histories and entanglements that are always present in the scholarly co-creation of new knowledge, and of the anthropologist’s coeval existence with a group of individuals in space and time. 2.5 Analysis Participant-learning in the village of Pabwoc East, a homestead survey within the same village, the creation of the workbook Tekwaro Pabwoc, and participation in some of the youth group’s “cultural revival” programming served as my main research methodologies. Upon return to Vancouver, I typed up my five journals that contained all my handwritten field notes and interviews, as well as the village survey results. The village survey results were calculated by hand, and facts per extended homestead were compiled, such as: 1) kinds of marriage (polygamous or monogamous), 2) homestead composition (multi-generational? Daughters or sons of Bwoc? etc.), 3) times and details of displacements from the war, 4) procedures enacted to return after displacement, 5) practice of wang oo, 6) 123 ideas about tekwaro. I also reviewed the interview transcriptions and organized the data into a timeline of my experiences in the Padibe sub-counties. Consulting these various forms of documented knowledge, I cross-referenced the sources to understand how general trends in peoples’ understandings of tekwaro, daily practices in village life, survey results, and public dialogue and debate regarding the effects of war converged around certain key issues. I mostly identified these issues or themes by their frequency–and the time given to their explanation and practice–in conversation, interviews, debates and everyday life. For example, the subject of Chapter 4, cuna (courtship) was much discussed within the village survey, amongst focus group interviews, in the youth group’s debate programs, and also deeply affected the everyday lives of four youth within my host family’s compound, not to mention most youth over the age of 16 that I encountered. This recurrence and prevalence of cuna–in conversation, interviews, surveys, debates, and in daily village life–identified it as a key site of interest to a large majority of people in post-conflict Padibe. Tic Acoli (“village work”) and Kaka (“the clan”), the subjects of the other substantive chapters of this thesis, emerged in the same way–through a cross referencing of the various sources of knowledge that I engaged in as my main research methodologies. Throughout my writing process, I have been in touch with Nyero Augustine Caesar by email and have discussed these emergent themes and practices. Additionally, as previously indicated, I traveled to Pabwoc in April 2015 to discuss these themes and practices, what I 124 have identified as frameworks for inter-generational engagement with tekwaro that serves to elaborate relatedness (performing social repair) with the community at large. At a party gathering, I discussed what I had begun to write about, and asked for input and guidance in these matters. 2.6 Conclusion: Research As Relationship As explored in the preceding sections, my methodologies and analysis were informed by my own histories, positioning, and relations, from the relationships I subsequently sought in Northern Uganda, from the questions that emerged from those relationships, and from my attempts to create, sustain, and reflect on the ideals of reciprocity, trust, and respect in those relationships. Privileging the importance of relationships, as part of methodology, theory and analysis, also resonates with some aspects of what are described as Indigenous research paradigms (Chilisa 2012, Kovach 2009, Smith 1999, Wilson 2008). Although I do not wish to appropriate Indigenous scholar’s insights, I use them as guides in grappling with my own engagement in research processes. Margaret Kovach’s exploration of responsibilities and commitment to the collective, or to the peoples with whom you are researching, is fundamental, as is Shawn Wilson’s expression of “relational accountability” that, similarly, requires you to be accountable, or responsible, to the people and the whole environment that you are engaging in your research process. These requisite responsibilities mirror what I learned about being a hosted daughter of Bwoc–through my continuing 125 participating in my host family’s endeavours, my participation in ribbe kaka (clan unity) through the production of the workbook, my commitment to participation in matters that concern Kaka Pabwoc, including land rights–and of what I learned about local ideas of relatedness in general. It is from my sense of responsibilities to the collective, to the people and environment in Pabwoc and Padibe, to my sense of responsibilities and “obligation”, that I write up the current study. I have tried my best to present the nature of my research relationships and how they emerged in this chapter. How I came to be “obligated” to Kaka Pabwoc not only speaks to these relationships and the research methodologies they created, but it also provided the experiential basis for me to understand contemporary notions of relatedness in rural Acoliland, indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and thus localized processes of social repair. My responsibilities as a hosted daughter of Bwoc extends to the writing of this dissertation itself, and it is partially because of this relationship that I unabashedly privilege local processes of kin-based inter-generational engagement and participation in sub-clan “ways”, and through it tekwaro, in various forms. Perhaps it is also the impetus behind my assertion about the importance of the land, and of the vital promotion of the protection of communal rights to the land. Finally, conceptualizing and performing research as relationship allows for a reflexive approach, which utilizes generative doubt concerning the appropriation of people’s experiences and life-worlds in research endeavours, and prioritizes “obligation” to 126 research relationships and the privileging of local forms of knowing, teaching, and learning. It also acknowledges that social science research, and learning and knowledge production in general, is always the result of some kinds of relationships and interactions, as explored in the introduction, and that conscious attention, and disclosure, should be paid to the sources of the newly created knowledge. I’ll conclude by turning again to the last paragraph of Things Fall Apart to reflect on the alienating act of writing itself. The stories told and the analysis employed in this dissertation is just one aspect of multi-dimensional, enduring, and transformative relationships I valorize. The responsibilities I carry to the academic world, to my committee members, to the University, and to my funders (in the paragraphs and chapters here) is indeed one aspect of these relationships, but it is just one aspect. My humanity, or what my own historied sense of humanity means in encountering intimate war and now post-war experiences through relationships, and my responsibilities to those relationships, has been and will continue to be, far more pressing. It is precisely in moments like the changing of my shoes to “honour” Pabwoc that I try to consciously practice research that valorizes relationship, responsibilities, and “obligation”, and that thus centers and valorizes tekwaro, indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing. 127 Chapter 3: Ngom Kwaro (Ancestral Land): “We Are Sons and Daughters of Bwoc” 3.1 Introduction–Home Fires Finally Burning Again It was June of 2010. I was traveling to Padibe late at night, when it was already dark and chilly. Friends at JRP in Gulu were traveling to Kitgum for work, and graciously offered to take me with them, and then drive me the extra hour up to Padibe. I had never traveled the roads at night before, but security had been increasing ever since a ceasefire in late 2006, and curfews on road travel during the dark hours were slowly lifted. I also heard that most people had left the camp and returned to their home villages. The night was thick, not uncommon in the wet season, and the moon and stars were hiding behind the clouds. The air smelled of roasted groundnuts and damp grass. I was a little scared because of my memories of traveling on this same road in 2004. At that time, in broad daylight, I was traveling with a government military convoy that came upon an ambush by a small group of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels that left one man dead and one seriously injured. But that was six years previous to this memory, and a lot had changed in that time. Home was dead then. As I squeezed those memories back in place, I noticed little specks of red-orange fire all over the darkened countryside. My voice wavering a little, I asked the driver, what that 128 was, he replied–“Oh, do not worry Lara, there is peace here now”, and he went on to explain that it was people’s home fires, “back in the village”, and that as some of the fire specks were moving, people must also be out collecting ngwen (white ants, a delicacy) with fire torches. This struck me as so very strange, and then I realized that I had never seen signs of life in the countryside/bush before. As recounted, I had previously visited Padibe Internally Displaced Person’s Camp in 2004 and 2005 (as a photographer), and then began staying for longer periods after the ceasefire (3-6 weeks depending), in 2006, 2007, and 2008 (as a photographer/researcher during my MFA). During all those previous times, the countryside and roadsides were empty, with no signs of life other than the occasional military checkpoint. In fact, the drive up from Kitgum town felt like you were driving through a no-man’s-land (and you technically were, as the entire rural population was finally displaced to the camps in 2003 and only began to leave in late 2007; it thus served as a no-man’s-land, a militarized, “empty” space between two opponents) until you happened upon the overcrowded camp that at its peak housed about 42 000 people (camp commander interview 2012). But that was then. Now, people had mostly left the camp for their home villages, and those that remained in what was previously the camp, lived in what residents call the center.58 58 The center actually refers to the trading center in Padibe, which the camp was organized around in 1997. Padibe officially became a “town council” in 2012. For more on the urbanization of former IDP camp sites, please see Whyte et al. (2014). 129 Now I had returned to visit with my host family and finally visit them back in their home village of Pabwoc East! It was a dream to be able to visit them at home after only knowing their life in the IDP camp, circumstances that claimed more lives than the direct violence from the LRA or UPDF violence (Finnström 2008:133). The fires in the countryside that night filled me with great warmth and wonder. As I sat in the dark car smiling rather stupidly, I felt the profound change–yet didn’t fully comprehend it–the people I had met in Padib IDP camp, including my host family and Beatrice’s family, were finally…really…home. There is a large body of literature spanning decades that addresses the effects of displacement from “traditional” homes (and/or changes in land tenure) on identity and social organization (for example Colson 1971, Galaty 1980, Gulliver 1958, Holtzman 2000, Malkki 1995, Thiranagama 2007). The case in rural Northern Uganda, however, is quite unique because after the decade (or so59) of forced displacement, the majority of those displaced (which was 90% of the population, and 100% of the rural population at the height of the war) returned to their ancestral villages or previously occupied lands by 2009. While many of these studies address how individual and communal identity and relationships have been transformed by displacement, or changes in land tenure, very few address what transformations occur as a return to people’s “original” ancestral homes, and 59 Depending on the location in Acoliland, some areas were displaced at different times see Branch’s reference to displacement by the Government as early as 1988 (2011:69). 130 system of land tenure, proceeds. It is important to note that I use the term “original” home cautiously here to reference predominant pre-displacement residence patterns. For many people, women “married” in the camps, children born in the camps, those that were denied residence upon return for various reasons,60 as well as those that chose to live elsewhere (migrated to urban centers, emigrated etc.), a return to their “original” pre-displacement homes was either not possible or not desirable. This “return” of the majority of the population however, presents opportunity for elaborating the importance of the land to Acoli social, political, and moral community, to relatedness itself. It is thus the connections between the land and Acoli relatedness that I wish to center in this Chapter. As Jomo Kenyatta asserted in Facing Mount Kenya, when a European robs people of their land, he is taking away not only their livelihood, but also the material symbol that holds family and tribe together (1938:317). Examining what happens when the material symbol is returned, or when people return to it, is the focus of this chapter and lays the foundation for practices relating to the regulation of social unions and kin-based communal governance that I explore in the next two chapters. Understanding the centrality of land to Acoli relatedness, or as the idiom of relatedness, utilizes Carsten’s insights about transcending western constructs of the social/biological binary to examine how human relations, and human engagements and relations to and with the land create relatedness. Thinking about the land, and land-human relations in this way establishes how practices 60 Some of these denials hinged upon increasingly strict rules regarding kin access to land whereas guests are no longer welcome and “missing links” as described by Whyte et al. (2012) whereby a woman’s husband was killed, divorcees etc. Accessing and denying access to land will be more fully explored throughout Chapters 3 to 5. 131 activated by a return to the land, to “home”, work at re-elaborating relatedness, at making home living again, or re-engaging with indigenous knowledge that creates social, political, and moral communities. I recognize these re-elaborations, life creations, and re-engagements as social repair in contemporary contexts, and thus explore here the importance of land to rural Acoli, not only as essential livelihood in subsistence farming communities, but in terms of a “material symbol” that indeed holds family and community together, as the idiom of Acoli relatedness itself. As briefly referred to in the introduction, there is the Acoli saying, “ngom pito dano”, the land grows, and feeds, and plants, people. The word ngom translates to English as earth or soil, but in Acoli it refers to more than the materiality of the land. According to Oloya, ngom refers to the soil, but also to settlements, tenure regimes, and social relations and organization of the Acoli: Ngom descriptively, was more about practices and uses of the soil. As such, it delineated a tenure regime – a social relation that proclaimed “original” link between the individuals, territory and the agnates – which were seen as self-evident, primordial and/or natural. (2015:233) Although the people now known as Acoli mostly moved onto the specific territories associated with contemporary villages in Northern Uganda within the last 300-100 years, as will be recounted in the next section, their migrations were confined to the area of South Sudan and Northern Uganda. Although speaking of primordial relations between people 132 and more recently settled land, as particular physical sites, may seem questionable, it is the general human-land relations within that region that Oloya refers to as primordial. Residents’ relationships with the land for their ways of life, foodstuffs, subsistence etc. remain important even though the exact territories in which they live (within an approximate 600 kilometer distance from the first migration detailed in their oral histories), and local and global realities, have changed. As discussed in the introduction, many of the current peoples who made up Acoliland are descendants of groups who were known as Luo Gangi- Luo of the home or village, because of their more sedentary, subsistence agricultural lifestyle. Therefore, their tekwaro, or indigenous knowledge associated with ways of life (kit me kwo), as well as the organization of social relations, will remain “primordial” or “natural” because of its rootedness to the land, to village life, and to an essentially subsistence farming lifestyle. The ordering of social relations, or social institutions as p’Bitek asserts, is based on engagement with the indigenous knowledge that is both shaped by and shapes the land. Ngom in Acoli then, is articulated conceptually in language as a material symbol, or idiom of relatedness itself. Attending to the land as an idiom of relatedness also acknowledges that land in Acoli is also not, or not ever, only about common ground and social relations in the present. Land anchors the present to the past through the ancestors, and connects contemporary circumstance and relations to the future through the children. The land officer in Kitgum district, Matthew Otto, once told me: “…for Acoli, the ancestors actually own the land. We occupy it in the present, but it is really for future generations” (personal interview, July 9th, 133 2012). Oloya (2015:234 fn1013) also emphasizes that in Acoli, land is entrusted by the dead to the living, and that the living must safeguard the land for the unborn. Ngom Pito Dano, as Acoli acknowledgement of vital human-land relations, specifically those of the home and village, can also be understood as an expression of an indigenous legal order. Cree legal scholar Val Napoleon uses the term indigenous legal orders to refer to knowledge that is simultaneously legal, religious, philosophical, social, and scientific (2007). Zoe Todd, a Red-River Metis scholar working in Paulutuuq, Arctic Canada, utilizes these insights to explore human-fish relations, and the ways in which they “share complex and nuanced political and social landscapes that shape life in the community” (2014:218). Julie Cruikshank explores glaciers in the Yukon territory as sentient and knowing landscapes (2005) that assert mutual relationships of entanglements of “nature” and “culture”, as she terms it. Vanessa Watts, an Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee scholar , emphasizes as she details an indigenous conception of Place-Thought, “as Indigenous peoples, we are extensions of the very land we walk upon” (2013:23). Similarly, what has been called the post-humanist or ontological turn in the social sciences and anthropology utilizes these indigenous knowledge insights, sometimes disturbingly unacknowledged as such (as pointed out by Todd 2016, Watts 2013). Eduardo Kohn (2013), Donna Haraway (1989), and Eduardo Viveiros De Castro (2004) as a few examples, all advocate for scholarship that moves beyond strictly human relations, and that acknowledges a western academic bias or limitation by centering human-human relations 134 (Todd 2016). Importantly, the primacy of the “human” or “culture” or “social” supported human mastery and subjugation of that which was deemed non-human, biological or natural, as seen in the histories of centuries of violent Colonial and Imperial interventions in indigenous cultures (racialized as “primitive” and therefore closer to nature) and their environments (Watts 2013). Learning about the land in Acoli as the main idiom of relatedness, as the material symbol, yet also more than just the symbol, corroborates and supports the ideas recounted above that have been expressed in the indigenous knowledge systems of many peoples throughout the world since long ago. The land in Acoli, both philosophically and practically, is therefore an important material symbol, anchor, and participant that guides and creates normative and ethical multi-temporal interpersonal, human-land, and inter-generational relations and processes. Due to its enduring necessity to survival, and the customary communal tenure system in place, it also has the capacity to re-gather community together and work towards re-elaborating relatedness, grounded in the land. If village ancestral lands are an essential part of an Acoli legal order, and act as a material anchor and metaphor for relatedness, for sociality itself and social practices, considering social repair and how people “move on” and re-organize after war must also look to that same “symbol” for practices that re-make relatedness. The ways of life in the IDP camps, the practices and habitus, the human-land relations, and the taskscape (Ingold 2000) differed greatly from life in the villages. At home, children learned the daily and annual cycle of work connected to the land. They learned how to 135 farm, collect firewood, rear animals etc., all the while receiving important inter-generational instruction, provoked by the landscape. At home they also visibly and spatially learned about their extended families as they corresponded to land boundaries (villages), and how the extended lineage and sub-clan functions as a unit through communal labour practices, land allocation, ritual, dispute resolution mechanisms, and respectful prohibitions of non-human elements (kwer). In contrast, within the camp, there was a stark disconnection from the land. Reliance on others for food (from the World Food Program) distributed to individual households produced a general level of societal dependency never experienced before. According to many residents, this dependency promoted, and its legacy continues to promote, individualism (ki langat acel-acel), a most undesirable trait in Acoli subsistence village life reliant on interdependence. Curfews and scarce firewood abolished the practice of wang oo (nightly fireside chats), while overcrowding, and a kind of forced urbanization seen in increased access to discos, videos, and gambling halls in the camp added to a general decrease in parental and elder interactions with youth, and decreased authority, that the move away from the spatial structure of the village already engendered. This chapter considers these profound differences between camp and village life, and thus explores Acoli relatedness as grounded in home (gang, paco) and ngom kwaro, people’s “ancestral” or “traditional” lands (literally, land of the grandfathers/ancestors). Learning from one village/sub-clan, that of Pabwoc in Padibe West sub-county, Lagwel parish, Lamwo district, I will first recount a history of Kaka Pabwoc (sub-clan). This narrated history of Pabwoc will situate individuals within the village to each other, to the landscape, 136 and will further situate the village of Pabwoc within the Padibe sub-counties and the rest of Acoliland by discussing the clan origins of the current villages, and the historical kin-based communal governance organizations present in the area. I will then discuss the village’s recent history during the LRA-Government war, tracking the war’s effects on one village’s residents, and one family (my host family) in particular. Turning to a description of Pabwoc East village as it was in 2012 (during my main period of fieldwork, 2-3 years after return from Padibe IDP camp) and detailing quotidian activities and relations on one homestead will consider how a return to traditional or ancestral land itself works to roco wat (restore relations), to literally repair, re-create, and learn through everyday practices and relationships with the land. Emphasizing tic Acoli, or Acoli work relating to subsistence, as key organizing and relationship building practices, I show how survival and the ways of life in the village engenders a re-engagement with tekwaro pa Acoli, and thus a re-elaboration of relatedness. Acoli work is therefore recognized as a boundary process (objects; Star 2010, Star and Griesemer 1989, process; McKellin 2016) that can re-gather community members to re-elaborate relatedness, and as such is a key site of social repairing in post-conflict and post-displacement rural Padibe sub-counties. 3.2 History of Pabwoc (Tekwaro Pabwoc) 3.2.1 Looking for the ancestors As detailed in Chapter 2, I came to Pabwoc through my friendship with “a son of Bwoc”, Nyero Augustine Caesar (Augustine), and my relationship with his parents whom I lived 137 near during my stay in Padibe IDP camp in 2008.61 Augustine is the eldest son of Omono Justo Langoya (Baba) and Alamarina Acan (Mama). They have nine children in total, although their eldest daughter died in 2013. Omono Justo Langoya is son to Oyo Batholomeo, who was son to Gabriel Omal, who was son to Ocitti, who was son to Ocuga, who was son to Bwoc, who was the first-born son of Bobi. Augustine’s kaka (clan) name is Bobi, after this apical ancestor. Their dog-gang’s (mostly referred to as clan as well, but I have used the term sub-clan throughout to acknowledge Bobi as the father and apical ancestor) name is Pabwoc (pa-Bwoc, literally, of Bwoc),62 after his son. Their dog-ot (mostly referred to as sub-clan, but I use the term lineage throughout to acknowledge Bwoc and Bobi levels of kin-based communal governance) name is Ocuga, after his son.63 The Kaka Pabwoc also corresponds to the physical village of Pabwoc, although the village was administratively divided into Pabwoc East and West in 2002 during the camp years, partially to facilitate ease and increased access to aid resources while displaced to Padibe IDP camp.64 Although Bwoc had two sons, Ocuga and Otuna, there are three dog ot (so- 61 The history presented here is an androcentric one, and represents a male perspective. While fluid, the organization of Acoli social relations has been predominantly patriarchal–both patrilineal and patrilocal. It was recounted to me in various parts, by four male elders, two male adults, and two female adults (who were born in, not married into, Pabwoc). 62 The Pabwoc lineage mentioned in Girling (1960:78) and cited in Dolan (2009:104 fn34) does not seem to be the same as the one who hosted me. The difference in kwer (a non-human entity that has prohibitions attached to it (stone, frog etc.) between the one cited and my host village indicates that any common kin or descent affiliation between the two is highly unlikely. See p’Bitek (1971:89) for how clans that had split recognize their common origins by common kwer. 63 Translated terminologies are difficult here. Oloya (2015) gives a different description of Acoli governance units than cited here. As previously indicated, I relied on how the community itself expressed its own components and the best way to indicate relationship between Bobi, Pabwoc, and Ocuga, Otuna, Abonga. 64 According to the LC1 of Pabwoc East in 2012 (Kitara Kramer), as the village population grows it is necessary to split to be able to organize effectively. For example, at the end of 2012, there became a Pabwoc Central, and today in 2016, there is a Pabwoc North as well. In the long term, these will 138 called lineages) in Pabwoc today because Ocuga split, producing a third named Abonga, around the 1940s. Each and every resident of Pabwoc East and West villages in 2012 could trace themselves through birth or marriage to Ocuga, Otuna, or Abonga lineages.65 Their apical ancestor, Bobi, had three sons- Bwoc, Dera and Oyo (laite pe). Their Rwot (leader–hereditary “chief”66) came from the youngest son’s line (Kaka Oyo sub-clan). At some point, two more kaka came in and joined Bobi: Bobi Agoro67 and Bobi Pawor. It was recalled that these five sub-clans of Bobi–Bwoc, Dera, Oyo, Bobi Agoro and Bobi Pawor–joined the Padibe Chiefdom around the time of Rwot Ogwok’s rule towards the end of the 1800s. Rwot Ogwok of Kaka Padibe came from Pamot Kal sub-clan.68 affect the “promotion” of Pabwoc villages as a Parish (requiring 7 villages), and possibly eventually as its own sub-county. It may not affect kin-based communal governance organizations however (lineages, sub-clan, clan). 65 The nature of village membership and of rights to land in the village have changed over the years, to include or exclude non-kin members. A full explanation will follow. 66 Sometimes called Rwot moo, “chief from oil”, referring to anointed traditional leader as opposed to rwot kalam, “chief from pen”–those assigned by the British in colonization efforts (Oloya 2015:138). 67 It is said that Bobi Agoro joined because the man (who became head of Bobi Agoro) had a falling out with the Rwot of where he had lived over the illegal harvest of the Rwot’s beehives. He was shunned and lived in the bush until one day Otuna (a son of Bwoc) came upon this man as he went to draw water. Agoro moved with Otuna back home, and after a private conversation, told him of his troubles. Otuna agreed to look after Agoro, and he, and his descendants, joined the kaka thereafter. Evidencing the kin-like relationship is contemporary practice that prohibits marriages between Bobi Pabwoc (because Otuna was a son of Bwoc) and Bobi Agoro. 68 Augustine’s grandmother, and his eldest living uncles (his grandmother’s brothers) are of Pamot. 139 Figure 21- Diagram of Kaka Bobi Clan. Available texts do not exactly corroborate the preceding details, nor do they account for the nature of relations of the clans and sub-clans that made/make up Kaka Padibe. According to Owot (1976:190), Bobi technically joined “Padibe” when they joined Pamot (Rwot Ogwok’s sub-clan) at Atango, sometime between 1769-1796. As Atkinson writes regarding Kaka Padibe and its composite “lineages”, “conflicting views on the relationship among these lineages abound” (2010:249 fn47).69 Although Atkinson attempts to synthesize information about the Padibe Chiefdom, he mostly focuses on the transfer of Rwotship from Potini to Pamot (1994:248-250).70 John Jaramogi Oloya’s (2015) excellent thesis on Acoli communal government, however, better describes these “chiefdom” affiliations, that correspond to both Bobi and Padibe’s histories. Refuting the term chiefdom, Oloya uses the term kaka. A kaka, according to him, 69 Atkinson uses lineage in the classic anthropological sense, to denote shared descent in a group, as opposed to fictive kin ties in associations such as clans and chiefdoms. 70 The transfer itself is still quite controversial, as contemporary Rwot of Potini claims that Pamot claimed Rwotship unlawfully from them. Potini had petitioned Ker Kal Kwaro to get re-instated but was formally denied in 2012. Potini has been trying for three generations to be re-instated. As was explained to me by Rwot Potini himself, their royal regalia were stolen as they fled southwards from Sudan. He proceeded to show me the special white rain stones that they still did have. As part of contemporary Kal Kwaro Padibe, Potini is still responsible for rain rituals, historically the most important rituals conducted by the Rwot (Atkinson 2010). 140 was/is an association of agnates, or clans or sub-clans or lineages (which he notes are also called kaka), based on facultative mutualism, a relationship he describes as “empowering, but not compelling” (2015:204). Facultative mutualism is a biological term for organisms who interact and derive benefit from each other, but whom are not fully dependent on each other for survival (Biology-Online N.d.). Oloya asserts that kaka was therefore more of a brotherhood, a collection of possibly unrelated different agnates that came together for mutual interest.71 Kaka as a relationship of facultative mutualism is very useful as it explains both the incorporation of two non-kin agnatic groups into Bobi, and Kaka Bobi’s later, and enduring affiliation with Kaka Padibe.72 As Branch corroborates, many of the so-called chiefdoms incorporated other chiefdoms, each with their own, still-functioning chief and attending councils (2011:47). Pabwoc elders also emphasized this facultative mutualism, or non-hierarchical sense of brotherhood as they described why the united Kaka Bobi (the three original kin sub-clans plus the two incorporated others) eventually joined Kaka Padibe. They spoke of how Kaka Padibe was very powerful at that time due to trade networks, and 71 Pabwoc community members themselves use the word kaka generally as well to refer to various kin-based communal governance organizations. When asked to clarify however, they used the following terms: Dog Ot (lineage, e.g. Ocuga), Dog Gang (sub-clan, e.g. Pabwoc), Kaka (clan, e.g. Bobi). As stated earlier, I use kaka to generally refer to these organizations, and sub-clan for Pabwoc, throughout this work. 72 Before reading Oloya’s work, I was always quite confused by scholars’ descriptions of Acoli chiefdoms that did not seem to explain or account for the associations that community members described. 141 that Rwot Padibe offered Kaka Bobi the most security.73 They particularly recounted how their own Rwot of Bobi at that time, Rwot Okello Mwaka, was a contemporary of Rwot Ogwok, not a subordinate, and as proof, offered stories about how they learned Arabic and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro together.74 In addition to the importance of understanding the nature of both Bobi and Padibe affiliations, the brotherhood character of Kaka, as Oloya writes, is important in understanding the general growth of Acoli agnatic identity (2015:18). Both Atkinson (2010) and Oloya (2015) insist that the formation of Acoli identity was not only a Colonial invention imposed from above (as asserted by some scholars, see for example Behrend 1999:14, who asserted that “the Acholi did not exist in pre-colonial times”),75 and they meticulously describe the gradual process of alliances, fusion, and fission, as well as the natural disasters that spurred and led to gradual formation of Acoli identity. 73 Security was spoken about in terms of both food security and physical security for livestock and people. 74 I have found references that say that i) Okello Mwaka was a translator for Major Delme Radcliffe (Bere 1947:6), and that ii) he eventually played the role of chief executive Prime Minister of Puranga chiefdom (Acholi Times 2014), which indicates the further “scattering” of Bobi beyond Padibe after the early 1920s, a “scattering” referenced by the elders recounted in this narrative. 75 Most of the scholars that take this perspective explore how colonial categories of ethnic identifications reified more nuanced and complex alliances into a more identifiable subject of governance in relation to the Colonial Protectorate of Uganda. Importantly, as p’Bitek notes, at the turn of the 20th century, Acoliland was made up of 30 independent political units, of which Kaka Padibe Chiefdom was one (1971:12). Essentially, both camps are right, however as Oloya (2015) explains, it is important to recognize the nature of the kaka, which was common to the independent political units, and the alliances therein to better understand these units’ histories, relations to each other, as well as their relations to British Colonial Government and the contemporary Ugandan Sate. 142 Atkinson (1994) concludes that the Acoli are a combination of what he terms Luo, Central Sudanic, and Eastern Nilotic acephalous lineages, sub-clans, and clans, that due to drought, and political influence from Bunyoro-Kitara to the south, and through the mediation of Luo speaking Palwo in the borderlands, became Acoli by the eighteenth century. Oloya corroborates this idea, and specifically highlight the droughts as change agents, stating, “the formation of kaka as governing organizations became a grand attempt to form collective efforts to address these forms of extremities” (2015:146-7). Members of Pabwoc, elders and youth alike, believe that they are descendants of Shilluk, a Luo people, who originated in Rumbek, Sudan.76 The Luo are a group of linguistically linked peoples (what is called by some the Nilotic language group) who now live in Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Northern Uganda, the Mara region of Tanzania, and Western Kenya.77 As Sverker Finnström wrote, most Acoli people today identify as Luo (2008:36).78 The “Shilluk migration” (Girling 1960), which probably brought Pabwoc’s ancestors closer to present day Uganda, began around 1700, and as 76 Paul M.L. Owot supports this assertion, saying that Bobi joined the Pamot dynasty at Atango, and that the Bobi came from Shilluk, and were part of the Luo groups of the Padibe (1976:190). Pelligrini agrees (1963:9). Other historical textual references, however, are unclear and contradictory on this matter. Atkinson refers to a Pabwoc lineage who was Central Sudanic (Madi) speaking, possibly joining Pabo Chiefdom (2010 215 fn42). Crazzolara describes Luo origins of Bobi as “additional modern fabrications” (1954:500), and like Atkinson, concludes probable Central Sudanic (Madi) origins for Bobi. 77 See Cooper 2011 for a detailed description of Luo historiography, particularly in reference to Luoland in Western Kenya. 78 This may be in part attributed to primary school teachings that recount that the Acoli are a Luo Nilotic group that originated in Rumbek, Bar-El-Ghazel. They are also taught in school that they split into two groups, the Acoli and Alur, through the story of Labongo and Gipir. The famed story of Labongo and Gipir, though known to residents of Pabwoc, was learned in Primary school, and not from within their own families. 143 explored by Martiniello (2015) was possibly exacerbated by profound changes in the systems of land tenure in Sudan at that time. Pabwoc elders recount that Bobi first left his original area and settled at Kiyugi at Mount Okol, which is in Wanglengo.79 Generally, his descendants moved to the mountain of Lamwo, from Lamwo they moved to Ogul, and from Ogul they moved to Lalak Hill in a place called Piringali. They then moved to Lacic hill, and then settled around Lacic at Lujaro. According to Atkinson’s work, from the time that Bobi reached the mountain of Lamwo, his descendants would have encountered and had alliances with either Kaka Pocu–which demised in the mid-eighteenth century, and Kaka Paloga, which gained prominence thereafter (Atkinson 1994:247). These kaka were never mentioned in the oral histories however, which might support Owot’s report that Bobi actually joined Padibe in the middle of the 1700s, much earlier than Ogwok’s time. Despite these discrepancies of the timeline, the affiliation that is recounted and that bears upon contemporary dispute resolution and social organization (see Chapter 5), is Bobi’s alliance with Kaka Padibe, said by the elders to have happened under Rwot Ogwok (but as already stated may have occurred much earlier), whose settlements at the end of the nineteenth century were known to be at Lalak and Lacic.80 79 The only reference I have found is to a stream named Wanglengo in Sudan almost at the border with Uganda (Google Earth Pro). 80 Although not mentioned by Pabwoc elders when speaking of this history, it was also in Rwot Ogwok’s reign, around 1898, that Major MacDonald of the Imperial British Corporation signed “treaties” with a number of Rwodi, including Rwot Ogwok of Padibe (Oloya 2015:11). 144 3.2.2 The scattering of Bobi The elders of Pabwoc agree that it was in Lujaro near Lacic hill, under Rwot Ogwok, that the biggest scattering of Bobi finally occurred.81 Some recall an argument whereby a member of Pabwoc (Bobi clan) was arrested by a member of Oyo (also of the Bobi clan).82 I also encountered memories of a measles and smallpox outbreak at that time which generally dispersed the united clans of Kaka Padibe from the hilly area. The People of Bwoc started moving away from Lujaro and they came to Ngom Otyer. From Ngom Otyer they moved to Te Poyo (a big tree) and settled briefly at Lapyang, the site of a borehole in neigbouring Lumura Village. After that brief moment they finally moved to Agolo, present day Pabwoc. They were led by Lodwaramoi, who received permission to move to these lands from Rwot Madikiloc, but who also warned of possible old shrines of a Lamwo clan in the area. Present day Pabwoc was part of a vast hunting ground, under the authority of Rwot Madikiloc before settlement in the 1900s. Around the time of the arrest incident at Lujaro, Bobi’s sub-clans began to scatter over Acoliland, and today, Bobi’s five kaka/sub-clans and their descendants are found in various areas around Acoliland and beyond, including Lamola/Akwang, Lamit, Akwang, Kitgum 81 Owot recounts that Bobi first split up quite a bit earlier when some first joined Pamot, while others continue moving southwards (1976:190). 82 But as assured by elders, and by texts alike, it was quite normal for clans to split into sub-clans, and sub-clans into lineages. It was also normal that as a result of, and to avoid conflict, groups separated and “scattered” to different areas (Oloya 2015:164). This idea of “fission” is also discussed in classic ethnographic accounts such as Evans-Pritchard’s Nuer (1965) and in Girling (1960:56). 145 Matidi, Tegot Akara, Ataga/Lacek-ocot, Puranga, Awac, Pabo, Awere, Omoro and Pajok (South Sudan) (Bobi-Pabwoc Foundation 2014, O’Byrne 2015). As I will explore in Chapter 5, strong identification with Kaka Bobi continues to have significant impact on contemporary social organization in Pabwoc. Aside from historical connections between various kin-based communal governance organizations, and the nature of political affiliation in Acoliland, it is most important to note that since the “scattering”, estimated to have occurred gradually throughout the late 1910s and early 1920s,83 and the subsequent settlement at Agolo (present day Pabwoc), the people of Pabwoc have remained, notably through Colonial rule and subsequent post-colonial governmental violences and upheaval, on the same land. Although there are references to earlier historical displacement of the general Acoli population by Arab slave traders between 1823 and 1899 (Oloya 2015:133), and by British Colonial authorities between 1894 and 1962, specifically in Western Acoliland (Branch 2011:48, Girling 1960:175), this was not the case in Pabwoc, part of Padibe. Partially, this can be attributed to the Kaka Padibe, under Rwot Ogwok, allying itself early on for survival (he was outmatched by their guns) with the kuturia, the trading, including slave-trading Arabs, as they were called (see Baker 1886 for an early written mention). As p’Bitek and Bere both write however, the Arabs exploited existing animosity between the kaka (p’Bitek 83 I was able to estimate the date because Enoji, the oldest man in the Padibe sub-counties, was born in 1917 at Lujaro, and Owot (1976:207) speaks of how Ogwok and “Padibe” moved to their present day location around 1917. This would indicate earliest movement beginning after Enoji’s birth, in the latter part of 1917. 146 1971:135), and developed kaka antagonisms where none existed before (Bere 1947:6).84 The British had similar tactics, as Owot notes, and now that Padibe was surrounded by enemies, “Ogwok was anxious to ally with the Europeans before his enemies did so” (1976:207). These alliances also explain the growth and power of Ogwok’s Kaka Padibe, as many of the surrounding clans and sub-clans sought the protection that the Kaka Padibe’s alliances (first with the Arabs, then with the British) offered. The very low population density in Padibe, its extreme hot and dry climate compared with Western and Southern Uganda, and its distance from the Colonial capital, also likely played into its continuing relative autonomy. Girling attributes the limited impact of Colonial “measures” (hut tax, implementations of cash crops, missions, and Acoli councils) on social and economic change in Acoliland due to the low population density (1960:183). All to emphasize that, unlike the effects of the Arabs, British Colonialism, and post-independence violences of the past century–which were profound in different ways85–the displacement of Pabwoc’s people into IDP camps from the most recent LRA-Government war deeply 84 According to the Rwot of Padibe in 2012, John Odoki, Rwot Ogwok (his great grandfather) and the people of Padibe soon saw that the Arabs treated people very badly, through the slave trade. Yet they were already bound to the traders. 85 The effects of armament from the slave traders, Western English education and the church from Colonial intervention, as well as diseases (measles and smallpox), indeed had significant immediate and long-term consequences to the people of Pabwoc and Padibe generally. Most people in Pabwoc that did speak of these consequences (during the village survey or at the village debates) noted that the effects of early church practices, though powerful, did not completely interfere with indigenous social organization and indigenous knowledge that could be considered “religious.” However, the church’s schooling in English, education of their children by others, and having children occupied throughout the days away from the homesteads was still generally reflected upon as more detrimental to an Acoli way of life. More commonly, some elders trace what they refer to in a proverb as “copying brought death to the hare” (apora bot oneko apwoyo)–the phenomena of copying other ways of life and how it brings misery, what p’Bitek calls “aping” (2011) to these interventions of the church and the church’s bringing of “foreign” education. 147 affected sociality and social organization rooted in the ways of life specifically connected with the land in primarily subsistence farming-based communities. 3.2.3 Pabwoc in contemporary times The first forced displacement of sons and daughters of Bwoc from their “ngom kwaro” or ancestral land began after LRA massacres in the area killed an estimated 450 people in early 1997 (JRP 2012, camp commander interview 2012). People mostly fled to Kitgum town, about 26 kilometres to the south. Although some residents returned to Pabwoc village in 1999, by 2003, all were forced by the UPDF into Padibe IDP camp, built around Padibe trading center, about eight kilometres north of Pabwoc. Although a more detailed history of Pabwoc’s experiences during the LRA-UPDF war will follow, I emphasize here Pabwoc residents’ uninterrupted settlement in their current location over roughly the past century. Despite the turmoil of Colonial rule which introduced new land holding systems, The Land Act of 1962 which gave government the right to alienate land, and the outlaw of customary tenure during Idi Amin’s reign, Pabwoc residents have continued to live on, and from, the land around the original settlement of Agolo since the 1920s. This continuous settlement, despite the many changes to national landholding laws, and the many violences associated with regime changes,86 is significant to the functioning and relevance of aspects of relatedness and tekwaro through these major historical and political-economic changes. 86 The only violence spontaneously discussed from post-colonial Governments (other than the recent war) that affected Pabwoc was that Idi Amin forced adult males to perform “voluntary” labour. This does not necessarily mean, however, that the population did not suffer. 148 Pabwoc village (East and West) is bordered, approximately,87 on the northwest by the Nyuka Tobi River, on the northeast by the Lagwel River, and extending beyond the Okwelle and Ayago rivers to the south west and east respectively. The size of Pabwoc is an estimated eight square kilometers.88 The northern part of the village, especially the area closest to the Lagwel River is generally used for olet, communal cattle grazing. Homesteads and small gardens comprise the center of the village, and large tracts of farmlands, the gardens, lie to the south.89 Historically, and in present day, Kaka Bobi and other peoples in the area were agriculturalists, relying mostly on farming for subsistence. In addition, livestock, mostly goats and sheep but also cattle, were kept. Cattle became more important during Rwot Ogwok’s time due to trade and alliances with the Arabs (mid-late 1800’s), although their retreat, disease, occasional raids from Karamoja to the east, and the recent war has periodically wiped out the cattle population (Finnström 2008:192, Owot 1976:213). People of Pabwoc, and of the Padibe sub-counties, live year round, through both the dry and wet seasons, within their villages. 87 I hesitate to determine the exact boundaries here for many reasons. First, the rivers to the north are not exact boundaries. For example, there is a homestead that comprises over five households on the other side of the Lagwel River, and there are gravestones of Pabwoc members beyond the Nyuka Tobi. To the south, landmarks marking the boundaries include rocky outcroppings and swamps. As will be discussed later, the Rwot Kweri is responsible for knowledge about land boundaries, and in 2013, the entire community was invited to walk the village limits so that the knowledge could be passed down. 88 I calculated this for descriptive purposes only by using the boundaries described to me (by Morish Lanek, who was shown by Rwot Kweri) on Goggle Earth Pro. 89 There are three different communal gardens on the south side of Pabwoc: lugoyo, turwenya and otwoo (sometimes called ludongo otum). 149 Today, Pabwoc East and West villages are part of Lagwel parish, in Padibe West sub-county, Lamwo District, Northern Region of Uganda. They are also practically part of Kaka Bobi, Kal Kwaro Padibe, the Bobi-Pabwoc Foundation (more in Chapter 5), and Ker Kal Kwaro Acholi. Each of these levels of governance comprises institutions, councils, committees, leaders, and procedures, with overlapping jurisdictions (which will explored in terms of land rights and conflict resolution specifically in this dissertation). In addition, Pabwoc and Padibe are in what many consider eastern Acoli, or Acoli lumalo90 (Oloya 2015:369, Finnström 2008:33). As Finnström explores, compared to western Acoli (Acoli lupiny), many Acoli popularly believe that Acoli lumalo are “more traditional.” Oloya traces these attitudes to the fact that the British Colonial administrative center was established at Gulu, in Western Acoli. More development projects were pursued, as well as more control exerted in the form of tax collection and work programs with the nearer population in Western Acholi. Acoli lumalo (west) and lupiny (east) also reference internal differentiations that have historically caused conflict in Acoli, specifically the rivalry between the Payira and Padibe Chiefdoms (Oloya 2015:336, Owot 1976). These differentiations between lumalo and lupiny may or may not hint at why I found kin-based communal governance still very much alive in Pabwoc, despite how British Colonialism, successive post-Colonial governments, and the LRA war has transformed traditional kin-based community governance (Branch 2010, Dolan 2009, Oloya 2015). 90 Acoli lumalo and lupiny are split by the Acuwa river (see Figure 8, pp.12). 150 Lumalo has historically been more distant to both British and post-colonial Governments, and is therefore arguably less affected by their various interventions described above. In regards kin-based communal governance organizations during the LRA-Gov’t war, Pabwoc elders, as well as Rwot Padibe, recounted that within the camps several levels of kin based communal governance were called upon to address various kiir (the intentional and unintentional breaking of social norms), as much as they were constrained by the confines of camp life. However, practices that fostered sub-clan unity, like the practices associated with abila (ancestral shrines) and ayweya (sub-clans’ “spirits”), were mostly impossible within the camp (depending on their location relative to the camp perimeter). Additionally, the spatial dimensions of IDP camp life hindered recognition of the sub-clan as a unit, distinctly manifest and prominent in the spatial dimensions of the village (this will be further explored in Chapter 4). Yet, although contemporary kin-based communal governance has undoubtedly been transformed over the years due to historical events and calamities, including the recent war, as all living cultural practices are transformed through time, I learned much about its persistent relevance to everyday life, social organization, and relatedness as a whole (particularly regarding land rights, conflict resolution, marriage practices, and personhood) despite these transformations. I include this discussion of the historical differences between lumalo and lupiny to draw further attention to the specifics of locality explored in this study. The next section narrates the experiences of Pabwoc sub-clan/village, and my host family, through the recent LRA-Government war. A description of daily life in 2012, two to three 151 years after return from displacement follows. Exploring the inseparability of land from Acoli notions of relatedness, I consider how work on the land, specifically inter-generational participation and engagement in the work, imagines, forges, regulates, and I assert, also repairs relations in contemporary post-conflict and post-displacement contexts. 3.3 “Moving Up and Down Unsettles the Mind” I was often told that the land is pire tek (very important) to all aspects of tekwaro pa Acoli, and learned how this ideal is both realized spatially and is practiced in daily life through Acoli kit me kwo (ways of life) and tic Acoli (Acoli work) connected to the land. As explored further in Chapter 4, displacement to the camps fundamentally undermined parental and elder authority and strengthened NGO and Government influence and power (Branch 2011, Dolan 2009, Oloya 2015). But displacement from the land, from the village, and from Acoli kit me kwo and tic Acoli, from the subsistence farming way of life, had other more subtle, and devastating consequences connected with how a loss of land destabilizes social philosophy or indigenous legal orders (Turner 2014, Niezen 2009). This section describes Pabwoc residents’ displacements, and their move to Padibe IDP camp. We went to the camp in Kitgum, then came home, then soon went to the camp in the center. It has made people’s minds to be up and down. And moving up and down unsettles the mind. It has been difficult to learn tekwaro, and it has changed us all. It was difficult because the time where we should be learning tekwaro, there was just no time. Because the LRA were disturbing. We were moving all the time, and even 152 sleeping in the bush. We would come back home for just a minute, but then we would have to leave and take refuge again. We did not know what home was anymore. (Reagan, a son of Bwoc. 18 years old) As introduced in the previous section, in early 1997, after a series of massacres in Lamwo county (Lamwo District today) claimed 450 lives,91 about 95% of the residents of Pabwoc East first fled their village lands.92 Of that total, about 60% fled to Kitgum town 20 kilometers to the south, and mostly sought refuge in Public Primary school there (it was offered by Government as a place of refuge). 30% sought refuge in nearby (8 km away) Padibe trading center. My host family had the means to rent a room in Kitgum town (Baba is a teacher), and did not stay in Public Primary School. Villages in Padibe sub-county that were closer to Padibe trading center mostly sought refuge at the two primary schools there, and according to Nokrac Fidensio (the Padibe IDP camp commander from 1997 through to its closing in 2008), Padibe IDP camp started on January 25th, 1997.93 As more people throughout Lamwo County (including the sub-counties of Padibe, Palabek, Lokung, Agaro, Madi-opei, and Paluga) and elsewhere in the district sought refuge in Kitgum town, the government transferred the ever-growing 91 According to a JRP report (2012) on the massacre in Palabek, part of Lamwo County, the LRA were killing people in the area as revenge for hunters’ collaboration with the UPDF. The hunters looked into caves for LRA activity, and reported any ammunition or activity seen. Although no one from Pabwoc was killed, residents of the whole area fled in fear of the increased activity. 92 Of the two homesteads that remained in Pabwoc East, one lived on the other side of the river, by the military detach and felt secure enough to remain. The other said that he alone from his homestead remained back to take care of the livestock. 93 I interviewed Nokrac Fidensio, IDP camp commander, on Sept.13th, 2012. 153 displaced population, including most sons and daughters of Bwoc, to gang dyang (literally, house of the cows, still in Kitgum town), where tents were provided by UNHCR. According to the village survey conversations, as many as six households lived together in one large tent at Gang Dyang in early 1997, and due to the severe overcrowding and insufficient hygienic facilities, cholera soon broke out. No one from Pabwoc, however, died from cholera. The government then instituted the policy that “protected villages” (internally displaced people’s (IDP) camps) would be set-up outside of the main towns, closer to the countryside, and Padibe IDP camp was fully established in 1998.94 Most residents of Pabwoc moved directly to Padibe IDP camp at that time, while some remained in Kitgum town. There was a lull in LRA activity in the area from 1999 to 2002, and about 30% of the Pabwoc population returned to their village at this time before a second, more prolonged displacement. My host family also moved back to Pabwoc at this time, before the longer move to Padibe IDP camp, 3 years later. Many people in Pabwoc recounted that life was very difficult as the fields had been left for a few years while away, animals had been looted, and houses needed to be repaired and rebuilt. However, they say that in retrospect rebuilding after that first displacement was relatively easy compared to returning after the second, more prolonged absence from 2003 to 2008-9 (depending on individual families’ circumstances).95 94 At that time, there was only one other camp in Lamwo County–in Palabek. Lukung IDP camp was later established in 1999, and Paluga in 2004, and there were subsequent reductions in the camp population at Padibe. 95 These displacements are noted in the timeline, attached as Appendix C. 154 LRA activity in Padibe sub-county, especially abductions and killings, increased in 2002-3, and according to the village survey, over 1/3 of Pabwoc households’ experienced abductions of one or more members at this time.96 One of Baba’s sisters was also killed in an LRA attack at that time. After a particularly close call in 2003 during heavy rains that had my host family on the run from an LRA attack, on the dangerously full and raging Lagwel river–Mama with a baby on her back and Baba with children in his arms–they finally moved to Padibe IDP camp. For this second displacement, Baba still remained at home with a few animals, however a couple of months later, the government–through the military–declared that everyone found outside the camp would be considered a rebel or a rebel collaborator.97 At this point, everyone who had remained or resettled in Pabwoc after the first displacement, Baba included, and from everywhere in the countryside, was forced to move to the camp. Any food stores and animals that hadn’t been looted by the UPDF or 96 It was impossible for me to ascertain exactly how many people from Pabwoc East were abducted or killed without asking for their names because of the close relations of everyone in the village (people say their sister or brother, which refers to cousins as well). Meaning, everyone had a family member who had been abducted or killed because everyone within Pabwoc is “family.” Apparently The International Committee of the Red Cross had some information from a survey while they were still displaced in Padibe IDP camp, but the village itself had not undertaken such an endeavour. I, personally, did not want to make this “list”, if it had not been initiated by Pabwoc residents’ themselves. I am wary of the possible conflicts that can result from lists, as well as from precise maps for example. Additionally, I am sensitive to the possibilities that specifically asking people to recount experiences of violence may cause further violence. Neither the village survey, nor my personal conversations ever asked about the specific forms of violence that people individually experienced, particularly to avoid potentially reproducing effects of the violence experienced through testimonial types of narration (as explored extensively by Krog et al. 2009, Ross 2010, and Shaw 2007, as examples). 97 Branch and others point to displacement as a military strategy by the Government to quell popular LRA support (Branch 2011, Dolan 2009). 155 LRA were brought, but were soon used up or raided.98 And although Padibe camp was originally planned in 1997 with living space allocated by parish and village in the sub-county, people from neighbouring sub-counties also moved in. A severe lack of space at this point had people squeezing within the camp perimeter wherever they could. Figure 22- Aceng Beatrice squeezes between huts in Padibe IDP Camp, 2006. A fire earlier in the year had torn through the camp, burning most residents’ possessions and the straw-thatched roofs of the huts. For long periods of time, sons and daughters of Bwoc, like other camp residents, were unable to access their land for any kind of activities. Pabwoc was also one of the villages that were quite far, relatively, from the camp, and from any main road (It takes about 1 98 Baba brought the goats to the camp outskirts, but they were quickly looted by UPDF. In sympathy, some people point out that soldiers were paid next to nothing and often suffered malnutrition along with camp residents. 156 hour to walk to Pabwoc from Padibe IDP camp, about 30 minutes of it through bush).99 In addition to the existing security threat by the LRA, at some times, if anyone was caught outside the camp perimeter, they would be identified as a rebel, and would be beaten, or shot and killed by Government forces (UPDF). In other periods, the restrictions would be lessened by the UPDF, however the danger of being abducted, beaten, or killed by the LRA still served to reduce people’s travels far from the camp, and obviously reduced/extinguished people’s work of the land. As one man I first met in 2004 exclaimed to me, “the LRA and the UPDF are just squeezing us until we all die” (personal communication in Palaro IDP camp 2004). Security in the camp was, according to the Padibe camp commander, “not all that good”, however, he says that it was much better than having no camp at all.100 While most people in Pabwoc agreed that the camp was needed, they also lamented that more, and better, security and services were not provided. I was told of the laziness of the UPDF on many occasions, particularly in relation to a large attack on the camp by the LRA in 2003 with looting and abductions, which left 15 dead. After that, people recounted that they were encouraged to volunteer for, or were forced by UPDF into, what were called LDUs (Local Defense Units). Those who joined (youth, adults and even the elderly) were given guns and for some, a place to stay in the barracks. Many people in the Padibe sub-counties blame the 99 The one main road that now cuts the village in two was only made large (larger than a footpath) and maintained starting in 2011 100 At the beginning, there was one UPDF detach in the camp, then the Government opened four other detaches in the sub-county (at Abakadyak, Lumurra, Katum, and Tuluka), which he says helped matters. 157 LDUs for the death of a significant number of civilian adults and elders–as LC1s101 were also required to join (kabake Katum 2012). In Pabwoc, approximately 15 men (including male youth) served in the LDUs, with two of them eventually joining the UPDF. The World Food Program supplied Padibe IDP camp, and all the camps in the north, and other INGOs attempted to meet (but failed to meet) the burgeoning clean water and sanitation needs of the Padibe camp population that had swelled to 42 000 by 2003 (camp commander interview).102 The approximate size of Padibe IDP camp was .6 square kilometers103 (a population density of 70 000 people per square km, contrasted with Pabwoc’s population density in 2012 of 150 people per square kilometer). Although the Ugandan Government was technically responsible for the welfare of its citizens during displacement, it was the international humanitarian organizations that struggled to keep residents alive.104 For these reasons, as described in the introduction, many academics and policy makers call the forced displacement of the entire rural population and the resulting human rights abuses (lack of access to food, clean water, sanitation, medical supplies) in Northern Uganda a violation of international humanitarian law (Okello and Hovil 2007:437), social torture (Dolan 2009), egregious harm (Branch 2011), and genocide (Otunnu 2006) perpetrated by the Ugandan State. 101 LC1 refers to Local Councilor 1, and is the first point of contact between Government and communities. Each village in Uganda has an elected LC1. In Pabwoc East Village, the LC1 is a respected member of the community, elected based on attributes of leadership and fairness, not unlike Ladit Kaka (the sub-clan leader). The LC1 in Pabwoc East is currently male. 102 A UN-OCHA published map from February 2006 puts the camp population at 35 006. 103 I estimate the size from a 2007 satellite image obtained from Google Earth Pro. 104 Dolan (2009) claims that the INGOS were like doctors in a torture situation–keeping the tortured just alive enough to endure the suffering. 158 A young boy I lived near in Padibe IDP camp (in 2008) once complained to me that there was no shade in the IDP camp. He said it was the worst part of living there. I have often thought about this, and what shade, or the presence of a tree to sit under, to talk under, to work under, and to learn under means. As I will explore in the next section, a return to village lands necessitated the tic Acoli (Acoli work) that could make home a sustainable place once again. I discuss how the organizing principles of (survival in) home life enact inter-generational activities that themselves work to re-activate kin-based social relations and social organization, and multi-generational engagement in tekwaro. And that this return to the land therefore re-elaborates relatedness, and thus performs social repair. As emphasized by Bodenhorn (1990, 2000), Brightman (1993), Nadasdy 2002, Tanner (1979), Todd (2014), Turner and Turner (2008), and others, food production is integral to both the transmission of indigenous knowledge, and in continuously creating and re-creating social relations, organization, and community. The socio-spatial configurations of the camp, including residents’ dependence on the WFP, affecting not only daily survival, but also relatedness, and engagements with tekwaro itself. In the same way, a return to the socio-spatial conditions of the village lands, of home, had its own effects on relatedness and engagements with tekwaro. 159 3.4 Gang–Village, Home The most recent peace talks began in Juba, South Sudan in July of 2006 and broke off in the first half of 2008. A ceasefire was negotiated by September of 2006, and Government and the international NGOs that serviced the IDP camps began encouraging people to re-settle in their “original” or traditional villages, or as some authorities stated, “return to where the war found you” (Whyte et al. 2014:605). When I visited Padibe IDP camp that December 2006, everyone still lived in the camp. And in my village survey of Pabwoc East in 2012, I found that no one actually moved back to the village permanently until late 2008 due to: fear, land claims, and the hard work necessary to make home sustainable again.105 Primarily, people seriously doubted that the ceasefire would hold. As evidenced by their history, many had moved back to Pabwoc before during a lull in the violence (around 1999), only to suffer much loss, terror, abduction, death, and forced displacement back to the camp again some few years later. Also, what people found back in their homes when they were able to visit contributed to the general fear. Land mines and unexploded ordinances posed grave threats, and unburied bones left some sites haunted by cen, spirits of those who had been killed or died without proper burial.106 These cen, as I will further explore in Chapter 5, haunt the person who has killed, the killer’s sub-clan members (even generations to come), as well as anyone who may happen to come upon, unknowingly or 105 Many began cultivation or fetching firewood, however, as soon as they were willing to risk it. Also, I detail later, some moved to smaller “satellite” camps within their parishes, in the case of Lagwel Parish, near Lagwel Primary school in Lumura village. 106 For detailed discussions of cen, please see Finnström 2008, p’Bitek 1971, Allen 2010, Harlacher et al. 2006, and Harlacher 2009. 160 knowingly, the disrespected body. One can only be cleansed of cen by following specific cik Acoli (laws and rituals), organized by elders of the sub-clan. Significantly, when I asked Beatrice if she was anxious to leave the camp with her husband in the summer of 2008 for example, she replied that she actually feared leaving, and that she doubted that there would really be peace, because she had never known it in all her life. Second, many people’s rights to the land were in question. As will be further discussed in Chapter 4, women’s and children land rights were jeopardized by the disruption to traditional courtship practices, and the resulting failure to activate the network of social relations which sanctioned land rights, during displacement. Other people found their rights to access land cut off due to “missing links” (Whyte et al. 2012) as a result of the deaths of the people through whom they accessed their rights under customary land tenure (husband, parent, etc.). Also, youth who had grown up during the displacement (in camps or in towns), perhaps without their parents, did not know the boundaries of their land or the bundle of responsibilities and obligations entailed. In other instances, people had lived and farmed on another sub-clan’s land before displacement. Historically, Acoli customary land tenure accounted for many “guests” rights to land (Girling 1960, Hopwood 2015), including friends, business partners, or maternal relations. After displacement however, peoples’ rights to access land became stricter or narrower. As Peters (2009:1321) describes in general regarding land conflict: 161 Much research has documented that a key socio-cultural dynamic driving the differentiation over land turns on a narrowing in the definition of belonging. Social conflict over land produces stricter definitions of those with legitimate claims to resources, i.e., group boundaries become more exclusively defined. In Pabwoc, there was one case where a man’s son wanted to access land where his deceased father had lived before the war. Although the father (and son) was not of Pabwoc (not a descendant of Bwoc, nor having married into the sub-clan), before the war his family had enjoyed rights to live there. Upon return, however, he was referred back to his own sub-clan to access his “rightful” land, by the sub-clan leader (Ladit Kaka) and executive council of Pabwoc. The son took the matter to the LCII courts (Parish), which settled in favour of Pabwoc. In addition, I found in the village survey that about 10% of current Pabwoc residents had actually lived outside of Pabwoc before the war, like this man. Since the disbandment of the camps however, they moved back to Pabwoc, where they had “rightful” access through customary land tenure because, as one woman said, “these things are more strict now–the people from there told us to go home.” This “narrowing in the definition of belonging” has several explanations. Some residents say that the population increase while in the camp contributes to these factors. However, Lamwo district still has one of the lowest population density rates in the country (Lamwo 30.6/km2 vs. Uganda 188/km2; Human Rights Focus 2013). Others attribute it to peoples’ exposure to Western 162 capitalist ideals of land ownership in the camps, and awareness of the monetary value of land.107 While monetization factors undoubtedly contribute, I believe it is important to acknowledge these processes of “strictness” as part of the processes of organizing people into groups with a strong material symbol to ground re-ordering or re-engagement with tekwaro, with human-land relations, with relatedness itself. These relations were severely damaged by the violences of the war and displacement to the IDP
UBC Theses and Dissertations
"The land grows people" : indigenous knowledge and social repairing in rural post-conflict Northern Uganda Gauvin, Lara Rosenoff 2016
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