MAASAI CULTURAL HERITAGE


The Maasai have coexisted with wildlife for centuries. Their traditional way of moving with their livestock reduces land degradation and permanent settlements, providing a landscape in which both people and wildlife can thrive. With their culture at a crossroads and their traditions disappearing, there is an urgent need to support the Maasai in their efforts to preserve their heritage. ACC and the South Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO) created the Maasai Heritage Program to mobilize communities in Kenya to revive and celebrate their common heritage through annual cultural festivals, a cultural heritage center and museum, cultural exchanges and the development of cultural tourism that is truly beneficial to Maasai communities.



Further the healthy coexistence of people and wildlife, and conserve life-giving ecosystems.

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Projects & Progress

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MAASAI CULTURAL HERITAGE FESTIVAL

The first Maasai Cultural Heritage Festival was held on November 7-9, 2013 at the Olorgesailie prehistoric site in the South Rift of Kenya. Annual festivals brings together vignettes of Maasai heritage and encourage communities to share, restore and celebrate their culture and to exhibit and perpetuate traditional practices, skills and knowledge for the benefit of Maasai communities. The festivals exhibit aspects of Maasai culture including ethnography, history, environmental knowledge and skills and traditional life ways.

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CULTURAL EXCHANGES

One way of addressing the problems of cultural erosion and the benefits of common identity is to draw on the experience of other indigenous groups of people. In 2012, the Maasai heritage planning team met with Navajo artists, pastoralists, environmentalists, educators and spiritual leaders in Arizona to learn how they are preserving their culture and traditions. The team is incorporating many of the Navajo best practices into the Maasai Heritage Program. The Maasai would like to continue this exchange by hosting Navajo guests at their cultural festival in the future.

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INTERACTIVE CULTURAL CENTRE & MUSEUM

An interactive cultural centre and museum is in the process of being developed at Olorgesailie in the South Rift of Kenya to showcase Maasai culture all year round. The centre will serve as a community gathering place and a repository for all things Maasai.

Our collection of traditional Maasai artifacts has been slowly growing. The materials have been sourced both locally and internationally through our repatriation project. Some of the repatriated materials include a beautiful old Maasai necklace donated to us by the Benali family of Arizona and a Maasai war shield that is over 100 years old from George Schaller.

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COUNCIL OF TRUSTEES & PARTNERSHIPS

The Heritage program has started discussions to establish a Council of trustees made of elderly statesmen from the Maasai community with high standing in the society to give the project a high standing.

A long term partnership with the Smithsonian Institute is being established to help develop many aspects of our program including training and documentation, the Maasai Heritage Centre, the Maasai Heritage Annual Festival, and policy related matters.

Implementing & Funding Partners

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