Maasai - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. The Maasai are a patrilineal people, with shallow dispersed lineages that extend for only one or two generations beyond the oldest living elders. These lineages are identified with the membership of a clan. Today the bonds and restrictions of clanship are weak, and clan membership tends to acquire significance only by default, as, for example, when the members of a migrant family find themselves isolated from close friends or kin.

Kinship Terminology. Although kinship terminology is broadly of the Omaha type, there is a general preference to address others by the use of teknonyms or, among close kin and affines, to establish gift terms that emphasize mutual respect.

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