Basseri Nomads of Iran

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  • Topic: Iran, Nomad, Middle East
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  • Published : November 21, 2011
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* The Basseri Nomads of Iran
The nomads of the Middle East are a vast and diverse group of people who travel in tribal groups across the lands. The Basseri people of Iran are a nomadic group of people that inhibit the mountainous regions of southern Iran. Like many other nomadic tribes in the Middle East, theirs is a rich history that at times has involved persecution and forced change by foreign invaders, religious rule, domestic oppression. The Basseri are a Persian speaking tribe of tent-dwelling pastoral nomads. They primarily migrate in the steppes and mountains of the Fars province, south, east and north of Shiraz in Iran. They do not “occupy” any exclusive part of Iran but instead own the right to migrate along a route called “il rah”. They follow this route, which varies every year due to vegetation maturation cycles, as part of their migratory cycle. This migration is planned, scheduled and approved by the tribes through the tribal chief known as the Khan. The Basseri live in tents with each household occupying their own tent. The tent is the basic family unit in Basseri society. The average household has at least sixty sheep but may have as many as one hundred. During prime migratory seasons as many as forty different tents may make camp together, combine their flocks with several herding units and function as a migratory camp. These larger camps are the primary units of the nomadic society and function similarly to a small village of a sedentary society. When two or more of these larger migratory camps combine they are called an “Oulad”. An Oulad may share a common lineage and consist of ninety or more families. A level above the Oulad, is the Basseri tribe, which may have a population as large as some 15,000 members. The Oulads have a political allegiance to the Basseri tribal chief. The Basseri tribe has political allegiance to a powerful tribal chief, with little or no notion of common descent. Their allegiances are that of a purely...
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