Ethnography of the Gola People
The Gola tribe of Liberia is located in the north-western region of the country and is made up of by approximately 107,000 people (Vriens). Although there are no distinct natural physical characteristics unique to the tribe, the Gola people can typically be recognized by their various tribal markings; most of which are acquired during the transitional period from childhood to adulthood. The Gola people most often have dark skin and dark gums, but like many west-Africans, some are light skinned with pink gums due to the influence of returned American slaves, who were the first African American settlers in the country. Gola people are fairly average in height. The women normally range between 5’2” and 5’6’’, and the men average between 5’8” and 6’ (Vriens).
The Gola people have a rich and vibrant culture. They are a proud and passionate group of people, recognized as strong and loyal warriors. When the Americo-Liberian settlers first landed in Liberia in 1822 as a solution for American political and religious leaders as to where to relocate Africans that were brought to America as slaves, it was the Gola people that initially resisted their influence and attempt to take over the country. As a result of the Gola’s warring skills, the Americo-Liberians realized it was in their best interest to befriend this particular tribe as opposed to wage war against. The Americo-Liberians began hiring Gola people in their homes and fields. After the Americo-Liberians began to take the Gola people into their homes, they soon began to invest in education for them. Since then, the Gola people have grown accustom to the privilege of education, and as a result education is stressed in the Gola community, especially for the boys (Johnson-Sirleaf 112). Gola food is comparable to food in the American south as a result of the Americo-Liberians bringing the Gola people into their homes to work as cooks....
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