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Early History of the Peoples of the North

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Early History of the Peoples of the North

Early History

From a study of the oral traditions of the several tribes
of Northern Ghana it appears that the earliest inhabitants
were the Vagala, the Sisala, the Tampulensi and
the Guan who lived to the west of the White Volta and
the Konkomba, the Nafeba, the Koma and the Chamba
to the east of the river. Apart from the Guan, all these
tribes spoke languages which were very much the
same. They also belonged to the same culture, making
the same kind of things and living in the same kind
of way.

For instance, they did not have states or kingdoms
and no central governments to make lawas and enforce
them. Such powers rested with the headman of each
family, who was a chief in his own right. Each of these
tribes also had an official called the Tindana. Literally
translated word means 'owner of the land'. The
Tindana, however, never actually owned the land ; he
was only in custodian and could lease it out to a
prospective farmer. His duties were to lead the tribe
during its annual festivals, to officiate at sacrifices to
the local or parish shrine and to pray on behalf of the
tribe in times of danger or disaster. For this reason, his
powers were extensive even though they came from
respect for his religious power rather than from fear of
physical punishment. Tindanas also became quite rich.
All lost articles, goods and animals that were found
became his unless they were claimed by their lawful
owners; he also received the hind legs of wild animals
killed by hunters.

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Ghana, Ghana history, Vagala, Sisala, Tampulensi, Guan, White Volta, Konkomba, Nafeba, Koma, Chamba, Tindanas, tribes, oral traditions

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