Way of Life
Also known as Ulde, the Arbore tribe are the southern neighbors of the Tsemay. They live in the hot plains north of Chew Bahir and are predominantly pastoralists. Livestock has high economic and social value for the Arbore. They keep cattle, sheep and goats. Milking cows, calves, sheep and goats are held in the vicinity of the settlement. The rest of the livestock move from place to place in temporary camps. In times of drought, the Arbore temporarily move their cattle to the neighboring Tsemay and Borana where they have peaceful and cooperative relations. The Arbore tribe practices a slash and burn and shifting cultivation method of agriculture, dependent upon the flooding of the Woito River and the seasonal rains. For every harvesting season, elected elders, known as Murra, assess the suitable land for agriculture and distribute it among the people, prioritizing the poor, orphans and widows.
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A few days after he is buried a ritual called awal will follow. A goat will be slaughtered and one of the un-skinned legs is placed on the grave of the dead person. The grave will be covered with abdominal fat. The eldest son will then inherit his father’s wealth and must promise to distribute his father’s cattle to his paternal uncles and younger brothers. A feast is prepared for relatives and friends.
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Ritual for Cattle (hulko)
At the beginning of the rainy season, when new grass starts to grow, the Arbore prepare a ritual to bless the fresh grass so that it is healthy for their cattle. All the cattle are gathered in one place for the occasion. Four wooden gates will be prepared, and the cattle will be herded through. Participants then drink coffee with butter and milk. Finally, boys and girls dance and a blessing by the elders and the kawet (spiritual leader) follows.
Conflicts / Disputes
Among the many tribes, the Arbore are considered a peaceful people and, as such, live in relative harmony with the other tribes. A combination of factors has contributed to the peaceful coexistence of the community, such as the mutual sharing of their resources with other groups, intermarriage between the Arbore tribe and their neighboring tribes, their ability to speak multiple languages, and a surviving legend professing the evils of attacking the Arbore.