Siamou in Mali

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Siamou
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People Name: Siamou
Country: Mali
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 34,000
World Population: 58,000
Primary Language: Siamou
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 4.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Kru
Affinity Bloc: Sub-Saharan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Siamou are a part of the Kru, who are located primarily in Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia. Their language (also called Siamou) is part of the Kru sub-group of the Niger-Congo language family.

Little is known concerning the specific lifestyle and culture of the Siamou; thus, we are making some assumptions in this profile. We have not been able to discover why the Siamou live so far from other groups of the same language family. However, from their location and information on surrounding groups, it is assumed that they are primarily farmers.

Where Are they Located?

The Siamou (also known as the Seme) are located in Kenedougou Province in western Burkina Faso. Some live further north in Mali.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Primarily farmers, the Siamou grow cereals such as sorghum, millet, and maize. Yams, squash, beans, peppers, and a little rice are also grown. Some of these crops are sold in local markets, especially beer made from sorghum. Cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens are raised at each homestead. The men do most of the farm work, but the women help plant and harvest. Women also cultivate their own garden vegetables, collect forest products, gather firewood, draw water, and prepare the food and beer.

The Siamou live in rectangular, fortress-type compounds. Both male and female help in house-building. Structures are high and have thick mud or clay walls and flat roofs. A number of compounds compose a settlement, but these are located at a distance from one another so as to separate one family's farm and herds from others. Larger bush farms are located farther away from the settlements.

Children are cared for by their mothers and are breast-fed until they can walk. At that time, they are considered to have become human and are entitled to a proper burial. From this point, children are cared for by older sisters or relatives, who include them in their play. Girls play house and sometimes help carry water or grind cereals, while boys help with herding the cattle.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of the Siamou follow their traditional, animistic religion (believing that non-human objects have spirits). Approximately one quarter more have partially adopted Islam, the dominant religion of the area.

Siamou traditional religion revolves around the worship of both deceased ancestors and the earth. The earth is thought to watch over the community and bring fertility to its soil. The ancestors are believed to watch over the lineage and are involved with household matters. Also, spirits in animals and objects can be "caught," and shrines are then erected to them.

What Are Their Needs?

The Siamou people have few Christian resources available in their language. Nevertheless, several have become followers of Christ. There is a need for discipleship materials for these young believers. Above all, these people need believers to pray to break down strongholds that keep them in spiritual bondage.

Prayer Points

* Pray that God will give the Siamou believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to anoint the efforts of any mission agencies ministering to them.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a disciple making movement among the Siamou people that will result in their communities being transformed for His glory.

Text Source:   Keith Carey