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MUNS: Mali

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Discover the distinct Tuareg tribe of Sahara, a progressive society where women enjoy great freedom. The Tuareg inhabit the Saharan regions of North Africa - Niger, Mali, Libya, Algeria and Burkina Faso. The Tuareg have maintained their way of life for centuries, crossing from one side of the world's largest desert. Although most Tuareg now practice some degree of Islam resulting from the teachings of the great prophet El Maghili from the early 16th century - they are not considered Arabic. They have preserved many pre-Islamic traditions and do not strictly follow many Islamic rituals. Among the Tuareg the women have a great freedom and participate in family and tribal decisions. Descent and inheritance are both through the maternal line.

United Nations

Department of Economic and Social Affairs Indigenous Peoples


The Tuareg are semi-nomadic herders and traders living in Northern Mali and across its borders in Niger see entry on Tuareg in Niger), Burkina Faso, Algeria and Libya. They are descended from Berbers of North Africa and speak a Berber language: Tamasheq, calling themselves Kel Tamasheq. They practice Sunni Islam, often in syncretic form, incorporating traditional beliefs.

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