Iteso - Settlements

The culture and social organization of the Northern Iteso has been sparsely studied. The material that follows refers primarily to the Southern Iteso. Settlements are dispersed: each household is usually situated at the edge of its own land but is frequently adjacent to other households. In the immediate precolonial period, Iteso households were combined into larger settlements centered around an important person called the lok'auriaart, "man of the cattle-resting place." For a considerable period of time after the establishment of colonial rule, these important men dominated decisions to settle, but households were increasingly dispersed. The primary organization in terms of which households currently cooperate and interact is the adukete, "those who have built together." This is a loosely defined territorial unit whose members do not always agree about its membership, not unlike an urban neighborhood. It is a network rather than a corporate group. Members of the adukete feel an obligation to help one another and settle disputes among themselves. Because people no longer move their households at will, there is a greater tendency for members of the same lineage to live near one another in settlements.

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