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ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL WISDOM IN THE CAMEL PRAISE - THE ORAL SUNG POETRY OF THE AFAR NOMADS OF THE HORN OF AFRICA [Abstract ID: 1208-01]
Understanding environmental philosophies and wisdom of tribal communities provides insights into a sustainable way of living and conservation. Many tribal communities rely on oral traditions for storage and communication of ecological, cultural and religious wisdom. An Eco-critical evaluation of the ‘Gaali saaré’, or the camel praise poetry, practiced in the form of oral sung poetry by the Afar nomads of the Horn of Africa revealed that apart from praising camels, the Gaali saaré poems are oral eco-poetry, and biophilic per se, where issues such as biodiversity, environmental crisis, livelihoods, clan politics and landscapes are addressed, while conveying themes of abundance, drought, changing landscape, and livestock raids. In these oral poems, the inanimate environment including rangeland plants, mountains, rivers, lakes, animals, the weather, and spirits are used in metaphoric, symbolic, vivid imagery, mimetic, and realistic expressions, while illuminating the ecological and social philosophy and wisdom of Afar nomads. Oral traditions can be used to understand ecological wisdom and perceptions of tribal communities and drive insights and lessons to sustainable living.