They are the second largest ethnic group in south Sudan . But even if they do so, they all gather together performing rituals, dances or songs before and after they slaughter the cattle. Their culture is organized around cattle. "Their staple crop is millet. They also live in the Ethiopian region Gambella, They speak the Nuer language, which belongs to the Nilotic language family. British colonial policy was focused on establishing fixed boundaries between the Dinka and the Nuer. In the dry season, the younger men take the cattle herds closer to the receding rivers. Washington, DC:  Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1991. They use different means ranging from letters to new technologically advanced communication methods in order to stay connected to their families in Africa. Nuer – Saharan Vibe Registry of Language code (Ethnologue):  Nuer  nus. [19], The Nuer refugees in the United States and those in Africa continue to observe their social obligations to one another. "[12] Millet is formally consumed as porridge or beer. None of the food commodities are produced for market purposes. Global Prayer Digest. The Center of the Nuer area is around Lake No. [17], Some Nuer have begun practicing circumcision after being assimilated or partially assimilated in other ethnic groups. Some who took refuge in Ethiopia were driven back into Sudan, while others found places in refugee camps. Most Nuer people are named after their cattle. Evans-Pritchard wrote, "The importance of cattle in Nuer life and thought is further exemplified in personal names. Sudan:  A Country Study. Pasadena, California:  William Carey Library, 1970. Most conflicts involve cattle. The soul that signifies the human individuality and personality remains alive as a shadow or a reflection, and departs together with the ox sacrificed, to the place of the ghosts.". The Nuer. Shop Nuer Women's Clothing from CafePress. He argues that hundreds of years of population growth created expansion, which eventually led to raids and wars. Nuer – The New World Encyclopedia Email:, The book of Genesis from the 1999 edition is also viewable online, Genesis in Nuer – 1954-72 Orthography and Translation, Genesis in Nuer – Current Orthography and Translation, The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People – E E Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer People – Dual B. Gony, Nuer community scholar, The Nuer Traditional Time: Social life and Culture –. The Nuer turn to this staple product in seasons of rainfall when they move their cattle up to higher ground. The first known civilization to inhabit the region of present-day Sudan were the Meroitic people, who lived in the area between the Atbara and Nile Rivers from 590 B.C.E. Approaching the Nuer of Africa Through the Old Testament. When violence or the threat of violence erupts, age-mates or family leaders are called on to cool things off. Those categories depend on the payment to them. Kinship among the Nuer is very important to them, they refer to their blood relatives as `'gol". The Nuer people are a Nilotic ethnic group concentrated in the Greater Upper Nile region of South Sudan. As long as a girl marries a man with cattle, she is able to freely choose her husband, however her parents may choose a spouse for her.[13]. The Nuer are a Nilotic people whose lives are organized around their cattle. The Nuer are an excitable people and individuals are very independent and prone to take offense. ... For more on Nuer People. Registry of Peoples code:  Naath  106990 Sometimes the cow names are passed down. Dotted patterns are also common (especially among the Bul Nuer and among females). Religion:        Kuajien Lual Wechtuor, Yual Doctor Chiek and Peter Gai Manyuon. Language: When a third child is born, the marriage is considered "tied." Before development the Nuer used every single piece of cattle to their advantage. British anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard wrote, "They depend on the herds for their very existence...Cattle are the thread that runs through Nuer institutions, language, rites of passage, politics, economy, and allegiances."[9]. But they worship a supreme being called Kwoth (Kuoth) who has various manifestations with which some claim to have personal relationships. If one might have more than enough to provide for themselves then they also provide that to other kin that are in need, as it is a part of their role in kinship. Newcomer suggests that the Nuer are actually Dinka. It is said that conversation on virtually any subject will inevitably involve a discussion of cattle. As they moved gradually east, they pushed the Anuak farther east into Ethiopia. The Nuer Traditional Time: Social life and Culture – The Upper Nile Times Other rights reserved. Sharon Hutchinson writes that "among Nuer people the difference between people and cattle was continually underplayed. Although a man who owns a large herd of cattle may be envied, his possession of numerous animals does not garner him any special privilege or treatment". A new translation that became part of the Nuer Bible in 1999-2000 was published in 1993. They tend to travel when heavy seasons of rainfall come to protect the cattle from hoof disease, and when resources for the cattle are scarce. Identity: Oral traditions indicate that the Nuer have moved east of the Nile River only during the last 200 years. Nuer Online indicates that, "Nuer (Nuäär) believes that God is the spirit of the sky or the spirit who is in the sky" Kuoth Nhial" (God in Heaven) the creator, but Nuers believe in the coming of God through rain, lightning and thunder, and that the rainbow is the necklace of God. A marriage is not finalized until the bride has born at least two children. Cattle are owned by the family, herded by men and milked by women but under the control of the head of the household. Population:      840,000 Sudan (estimate from various sources); 64,900 Ethiopia (1994 census) Women wear wire and bead necklaces and headdresses. "Never do Nuer slaughter animals solely because the desire to eat meat. Young men are initiated by circumcision and six cuts across the forehead. Thirty years later, there was a revival among the people and many came to accept Jesus as Savior. Groups such as Nuer, known for their resistance to the gospel, have responded to Christ. Cattle are sacrificed to God and the spirits. “The Nuer (Naath) people in South Sudan are one of the largest ethnic groups in the northeastern Africa which stretches from Egypt for 2000 km and westward from the Red Sea for 1500km. At this point, the wife and the children become full members of the husband's clan. A cultural profile of the Nuer people of South Sudan. She found that the Nuer had placed strict limits on the convertibility of money and cattle in order to preserve the special status of cattle as objects of bride wealth exchange and as mediators to the divine. There is the danger of the ox’s spirit visiting a curse on any individual who would slaughter it without ritual intent, aiming only to use it for food. This exchange of cattle ensures that the children will be considered to belong to the husband's lineage. The Nuer, Dinka and Atwot (Atuot) are sometimes considered one ethnic group. Foreigners who would like to work effectively among the Nuer must obviously learn well the language of the Nuer and the life-style pertinent to cattle herding. While they do engage in agricultural pursuits, the care of cattle is the only labor they enjoy. The Ethnologue reports that the Bible was first published in Nuer in 1999, using the current orthography and language. The Nuer live mostly in Southern Sudan, in the east Upper Nile Province around the junction of the Nile River with the Bahr el Ghazal and Sobat Rivers, and extending up the Sobat across the Ethiopian border. [5], There are different accounts of the origin of the conflict between the Nuer and the Dinka, South Sudan's two largest ethnic groups. A man may have multiple wives, who do not necessarily live close to each other. The Perception of Polygamous Marriage in Sudanese society! The Nuer living pattern changes according to the seasons of the year. Burton, John W.  "Nuer," Encyclopedia of World Cultures. The Nuer believe they establish contact with these ancestor spirits by rubbing ashes along the backs of oxen or cows dedicated to them, through the sacrifice of cattle. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation. Kinship within the Nuer is formed off of one's neighbors or their entire culture.