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The Mursi People of the Omo Valley

            The Omo Valley is one of the most extraordinary places on earth. The diverse culture and animals that reside in the renowned region are fascinating subjects to study and explore. There are over two-hundred thousand tribal people that inhabit the lower Omo Valley. Among those two-hundred thousand people, ten-thousand of them belong to the Mursi tribe. Due to the delicate balance of the lower Omo Valley, the Mursi people are able to successfully use three different cultivation methods. In the lower Omo Valley, there is a great, permanent river, outlined by a thick forest that runs vertically down the valley. The valley, which can range from a dry or moist savanna in the north to grassland in the south, offers an extensive range of subsistence in that unique region. One of the more unique techniques they use is the flood retreat cultivation. Flood retreat cultivation is when the river floods and slowly leaves behind rich silt that the Mursi tribe uses to cultivate. Also, the Mursi people use shifting cultivation. This is where after each season a new crop is planted in the now-rich soil leftover from the previous crop. Most of these crops include maize, beans, and sorghum, which is a major source of grain and food for livestock. Lastly, cattle herding is the third major method of cultivation for the Mursi people. Cattle herding involves feeding, traveling with, and taking care of the livestock. The Mursi people are often mistaken for nomads by government officials due to the fact that cattle herding plays such a significant role in their culture. Almost all the people in the lower Omo Valley region are pastoralists who depend heavily on cultivation. However, the Mursi tribe has not always lived in the lower Omo Valley. In fact, the Mursi myth of origin comes initially from five different clans, Kormorte, Garakuli, Juhai, Bumai, and Kagisi. Originally, they began to migrate counter clockwise from a southern region called Thaleb.

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