Introduction / History
The Northern Nuna, while very similar in culture to the Southern Nuna, nevertheless speak a different dialect. They number about 93,000 speakers. Like their southern brothers, they are subsistence farmers, with their basic crops being millet, sorghum, and peanuts. They raise poultry and small livestock when possible. The Northern region has slightly lower annual rainfall than is found in the south, affecting both the range of crops that can be grown and the availability of water.
Concerning the religious situation of the Northern Nuna, the traditional religion is still very dominant. According to this set of beliefs, the world is full of spirits and gods, who control such things as events, harvests and health. These spirits can be appeased by sacrifices. One northern village in particular, named Pouni, is renowned for its spiritual activity. The making and displaying of masks, which are tied to religious rites, have even made Pouni a tourist attraction.
Because of the tenacity of their beliefs in the traditional religion, most of the Northern Nuna have repelled the Christian message up to now. In the northwest region, the Roman Catholic church has established a few chapels. In Pouni itself, there have recently been conversions through an Assemblies of God congregation. Nevertheless, progress is very slow. Besides the hostile spiritual climate, a major need is for the written material to be adapted to the northern regions. While the primers and translated Scriptures exist in the southern region, these materials must be adapted for the north.
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