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Cultural warriors

Although ubunabongo (kingship) briefly sojourned at Hamisi among Abalukhoba before the establishment of the Wanga Kingdom, the Tiriki, like other Luhya sub nations, did not have a centralised tribal authority. Each lusomo-ibololi unit was virtually independent. And where membership of a clan determined the strength of kinship in other Luhya sub tribes, among the Tiriki it was the sense of brotherhood established through initiation rites known as idumi that determined the bonding of the tribal community. According to Terik customs, special camaraderie established through membership of the same age group (likhula) was stronger than that between clansmen. It did not matter which clan or tribe you came from; so long as participated in the idumi circumcision rituals you automatically got assimilated into the Terik community and became omutiriki.

Vukhulu Dance at Tirki Idumi
Tiriki circumcision initiates perform the vukhulu dance during the venerated idumi initiation festival wearing ingolole masks, an emblem and totem of the community.

Traditional System of Government
The traditional ruler of Abatiriki was called Omukali (the great one); they did not have a Nabongo like the Wanga. Omukali had power over war and peace; he settled disputes and kept the peace. Omukali had his own elders who helped him in the task of government. Every clan had its own Omukali who ruled over clan territory known as lusomo (district). Inter-clan disputes were settled by clan heads concerned. The ruler also acted as the sacrificial priest of the clan (musalisi) but he was neither a rainmaker (omukimba) nor a magician nor a medicine man.

The Omukali wore a skin cloak of various animals (e.g. bushbuck, a monkey, and a calf) a cowry shell headdress adorned with ivory, a bracelet on the wrist, arm and leg bangles. In addition he had a staff, a sword and a flywhisk. All these things were heritable. More...