The Nyangatom tribe are predominantly pastorals but they also practice dry farming during the wet season and flood cultivation along the west bank of the Lower Omo and at Kibish Rivers during the dry season. Within the territory of the Nyangatom tribe two different types of settlement and lifestyle have evolved.
Along the west bank of the southern Omo River the Nyangatom practice agriculture, growing sorghum, maize, beans and tobacco. They also fish in the Omo River. It’s likely that these tribes-people live here because at some point they lost their cattle. It is impossible to raise livestock along this section of the Omo River because of the Tsetse fly. The rest of the Nyangatom live a more semi-nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, moving with their herds throughout south-western Ethiopia, the Ilemi Triangle and the Toposa lands of neighboring Sudan.
The Nyangatom tribe are divided into about seven main- and 20 sub clans. Membership is via the paternal line – you belong to the clan your father belongs to. These clans vary in size from a few members to several hundred. The Nyangatom – are also divided into territorial sections. These might be named after migratory birds (Storks, Flamingos, Ibis) or have ethnic names (Kumam, Ngaric), or other names taken from nature (Castor Tree). Social organization is by – generation-set. Each generation is given a name. The earliest ancestors are called the Founders. Their sons were the Wild Dogs. Then the Zebras, the Tortoises, and the Mountains follow and so on. The oldest generation-set still living is called the Elephants; then the Ostriches and the Antelopes. The youngest generations are known as the Buffaloes Fathers and sons always socialize separately. The Elders remain in the village while the boys herd the goats that graze on bushes around the village. The women milk the livestock. The traditional leader of the Nyangatom is the akatuken.