Ethnic Identity The Case Of The Qemant Of Chilga Woreda North Gondar Zone

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This study is all about the ethnic identity of the Qemant people in Chilga woreda, North rnGondar zone. Despite few researches have been done so far on the Qemant, they mainly rnfocused on the ethnographic account of the people; only the objective cultural content of rnthe people is addressed. The objective versus the subjective aspects of Qemant ethnic rnidentity; its content versus boundary; and the internal versus the external factors that rndichotomized the Qemant ethnic identity are largely not discussed. Likewise, the changes rnversus continuities of the contents and boundary of Qemant ethnic identity together with rnthe factors behind are not uncovered. So, this study tried to address all such issues jointly rnwith an overview of Qemant ethnic identity in light of the constitutional ethnic rights of rnthe country. Qualitative research methods such as semi structured interview, focus group rndiscussions, key informant interviews, life history narrations and observation were rnemployed to generate data. But published and unpublished materials were also used as rnsecondary sources. rnThe Qemant were once a closely knit ethnic group with its own ethnic identity markers. rnThe moiety based ethnic organization and the associated marriage rules; the kemantney rnlanguage, the traditional political structure and their religion all served as the basic rnintegrative and ethnic boundary maintaining mechanisms. In addition to this, the internal rnsocial networks and the self ascription of the people internally solidified their ethnic rnidentity. Externally, the nature of the economic system and religious difference together rnwith the prejudiced ascription and identification of their Amharan neighbors once rndichotomized the Qemant ethnic identity. However, following the massive rnChristianization movement launched in the area during the 1960s both the internal and rnexternal factors that dichotomized the Qemant ethnic identity get ruptured. This initial rnkick together with other contingent factors further weakens their ethnic identity. Today, rnexcept the near extinct kemantney language and their "hega libona" religion almost all rnthe objective identity markers of the people are wiped out. The subjective identity rnmarkers are reflected in different ways. Ethnic members reflect their ethnic feelings and rnsubjectively associate themselves to those extinct objective markers in various ways. rnSome ethnic members identify themselves as "A{entd qemant". On the other extreme are rnthose who tried to conceal their ethnic identity and mostly identify themselves as an rn"Amhara". All these show the Qemant ethnic identity was constructed across the long rntime social, economic and political interactions they have with their Amhara neighbors; rnand the diffused nature of Qemant ethnic identity at the present time

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Ethnic Identity The Case Of The Qemant Of Chilga Woreda North  Gondar Zone

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