Ari people


Ari / Aari

The Aari, or Ari, are the largest population among all the ethnic groups present in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, their territory extends from the Northern border of the Mago National Park to the lands North of the city of Jinka, the Ari capital.

The Ari are about 120,000 individuals, they speak an omotic language that has nine dialects; their social structure foresees the division into nine tribes independent of one another, each tribe is structured in a clan.

The Aari live in the highlands around Jinka, they occupy the largest territory of all the tribes of the area and their economic system is based on agriculture.

The territory of the Ari is divided into nine independent territorial units, each of which is managed by a traditional spiritual leader, called Babi, and his spiritual assistant, who is called Godmi; these two figures play an important role in the life of the Ari.



The Ari lands are fertile and receive a large amount of rain and rarely suffer drought, this favorable condition allows the Ari to cultivate different types of plantations, the main crops are: cereals, coffee, fruit, beans, cardamom, enset and honey.

The pastures are also luxuriant and the Ari possess large herds of cattle and numerous donkeys, that they use to transport goods to the markets of the area.



Most of the Aari still practice traditional religion, that involves the veneration of the ancestors, they also believe in a series of legends that explain the origin of the various clans, from a certain river, mountain, tree, etc.

Illness, infertility and death are often attributed to the resentment of a deceased relative, to appease his anger the Ari offer a sheep as a sacrifice.