"This is Ghanaian territory!" Land conflicts in transnational localities on the Burkina Faso-Ghana border

  • Traditional land rights in Dagara and Sisala societies in Burkina Faso and Ghana which were stateless in pre-colonial times are closely connected with the concept of earth-shrine parishes under the protection of a local land god and ideally under the control of the “first-comers” to the area. The earth priests perform regular sacrifices at the shrine and allocate land to later immigrants as well as the right to build houses and to bury their dead, often in exchange for gifts. The international border between Ghana and Burkina Faso, which was drawn up in 1898 and runs along the 11th parallel, often cuts across earth-shrine parishes. Particularly since the border demarcation exercise in the 1970s, the spatial separation of the Sisala earth priests on one side of the border from the Dagara immigrants on the other side has given rise to intricate conflicts over land rights. The paper will present the history of one such conflict and look at the various landrelated discourses – traditionalist, nationalist, and Christian – which the adversaries put forward in order to substantiate their claims.

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Author:Carola Lentz
Series (Serial Number):Berichte des Sonderforschungsbereichs 268 (14, 477)
Publisher:SFB 268
Place of publication:Frankfurt, M.
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2006/12/19
Year of first Publication:2000
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2006/12/19
Page Number:17
First Page:477
Last Page:493
Institutes:Zentrale Einrichtung / SFB 268
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 39 Bräuche, Etikette, Folklore / 390 Bräuche, Etikette, Folklore
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht