Well it has been interesting learning this website creation based on Weebly's app. Not difficult to do compared to others I have tried for other websites.
The header image above is our camp in 1969 on the Narok River (actually just a 20 foot wide stream) south of the town of Narok (and north of a couple rhinos and night incursions by elephant. The first night I was away in the forest a lion came sniffing around the tent making our new puppy (a rescue of course, what else lives out here?) very nervous - but that is another story for later.
Above is Joseph Mapelu (on the left), my Okiek field assistant, in the middle (over the Land Rover bonnet and sitting on the red chicken coop) is Dickson Odera who took care of the camp. On the right, holding the tent pole is DeGuerre, my delightful, wife who came to love her adventures in Kenya. She adapted Julia Child's cookbook to local fair (zebra bourguignon was really tasty).
Later in the year the Catholic mission took pity on us and let us use a small house - a real kitchen and bedrooms (one got stuffed eventually with hundreds of Okiek artifacts, poison arrows and all).
I am Rod Blackburn and have decided it would be helpful to the Okiek if this website about themselves, their history, and present life and issues was created to give wide exposure about them as a people.
The website is organized with these sections:
Who are the Okiek (Ogiek, Dorobo, Il Torobo)? What is their relationship, history
Where are the Okiek? Maps of Kenya showing Okiek settlements, territories
Okiek images Okiek I have med from 1968 to the present
Okiek on the Internet Links to useful site discussing the Okiek
Okiek Publications Articles and books by administrative and academic authors
Our Blog A start at welcoming your comments, corrections, additions, opinions, sources etc.
Contact us Email directly or on the Blog
Doing this website was stimulated by my efforts to prepare two books on the Okiek: The Okiek, Kenya's Forest Foragers and Okiek Tribal Artifacts, a collection of known artifacts of this Kenya hunter-gatherer tribe. The first is an ethnography of Okiek society and culture with an emphasis on their forest adaptations and history. The latter is a catalog of over 300 objects made and/or used by the Okiek, primarily traditional objects from little needles to forest houses. Both books are in final edit. More on their publication later.
The book on Okiek artifacts was spurred on by the gift this week to the Anthropology Museum at Michigan State University (where I received my PhD based on research among the Okiek) of 250 Okiek artifacts, a nearly complete inventory of Okiek traditional objects. Similar comprehensive collections have also gone to the National Museums of Kenya (in 1969) and the American Museum of Natural History (1982). Time to put out a catalog drawing on all three collections.
It will be a pleasure to hear from readers on the subjects of this website. I especially encourage the Okiek who are beginning to access to the internet. My field assistant Simon Nagungwenkop is especially enthusiastic about getting this website up as his organization, Ogiek Cultural Initiatives Programme (OCIP) will have an avenue to communicate with Okiek throughout the highlands of Kenya.