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the nuer


             The Nuer, are a Nilotic group of people that live in a secluded area of the world. Their region is on the upper White Nile in southern Sudan. The Nuer were very much an egalitarian community. Traditionally, they are cattle herders whose whole way of life revolves around their livestock. Cattle are used for payment of almost any debt or to purchase anything, even a bride. Although they are for the most part cattle herders, some Nuer also engage in agriculture. The Nuer base their calendar on the environment and weather conditions. Nuer society is patrilineal, which means all rights; responsibilities and relationships are maintained through kinsmen. Marriage is one of the most important Nuer traditions, and is arranged by the families of the bride and groom. The Nuer had no laws or leaders. Social order was maintained by community values and a segmentary tribal and lineage system.
             No one person in the society considers themselves to be better than another, however some forms of power are obvious. For example, The Leopard skin chiefs, are spiritual leaders, whose job is to mediate disputes. In some sense this person maintains most of the power. They are the only people who have any political importance.
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             Another situation that may involve some power are the age sets. Age sets give a social role based on age. Age sets are a type of union of young men who usually participate in ritual or craft performances together. These young men usually remain close with their age set throughout their life. They are initiated into maturity and pass through age grades, the more general term representing familiar stages of maturity that involve certain rights and duties. Age grades can be marked by changes such as puberty, or by socially recognized status changes such as marriage and the birth of a child.
             The lineage system also describes something about the social power of The Nuer.


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