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Omo Valley Tribes

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The clothing of the indigenous people is simple and effective: a short wraparound toga, enhanced with iron rings and other craft jewelry. Still, every group has its distinctive, individual style. Men and women of some tribes are further decorated with tribal scars, which are at the same time a sign of beauty and denote their standing in the community. The women walk bare breasted, wearing a simple short skirt of leather, the hems elaborately decorated with metal works.

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Hairstyles however, are more elaborate. Hamer women plaint beaten tin plates into their hair. They create copper-colored breads by rubbing a mixture of red clay into their hair. Hamer, Geleb, Bume and Karo men form a ridge of plaited hair and clay to hold their feathered headwear in place. Also body painting, using clay and locally available vegetable pigments, is common. Mursi and Surma women are well known for the large clay discs they wear inserted in their ears and lower lips.

Many unique ceremonies and rituals like the Bull jumping of the Hamer or the Stick fighting of the Surma make the Omo Valley and western Ethiopia to some of the most interesting regions on the African continent.

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