Suri Tribe

Ethio Sudanese Tribe

The 34,000 strong Suri tribe live in the southwestern plains of Ethiopia and South Sudan. They are successful livestock farmers (cattle, goats and sheep) and horticulturists, using rain fed and garden based cultivation methods. During the dry season, they also collect honey.

Cows are very important to the Suri – economically, socially, symbolically – and at times they risk death to protect their herd. Suri men are judged by how much cattle they own and are not allowed to marry until they have at least 60 cattle for the dowry. To praise their cattle or mourn their deaths, the Suri sing songs for them.

The Suri share traditions with the Mursi tribe and body decoration is an important marker of beauty. During adolescence, most girls have a plate inserted in their bottom lip as an indicator of attractiveness. Scars are also considered desirable and the Suri practice scarification rituals to create as many as possible.

The Suri have a traditional belief system with a supreme sky deity called Tumu, which brings rain and fertility. Ancestors are also considered to have powers over the health and destiny of the living.