The term Dakakari is used variously in the literature to designate either all or a fraction of the indigenous non-Muslim peoples south of the River (Hausa, Gulhin) Ka roughly within a circle of forty miles centred on the town of Zuru (Nigeria).
The main Dadakakari groupos are:
Dakakari are found principally distributed throughout the Districts of the Zuru Federation, Kontagora Division, Niger Province.
Since the establishment of Pax Britannica in the early years of this century, there has been a general dispersal of Dakakari from older centres of concentration.
Harris (1938) writes that lines of cleavage between different peoples in the area are becoming impossible to draw—"small settlements (of Dakakari) are shooting up everywhere, often consisting of only a nuclear family."
Harris gives the following locations for major Dakakari groups:
Bangawa - The northern part of Zuru Federation; Donko town and surrounding villages; the southern part of the Sokoto Emirate (along border of Zuru—north bank of the Ka); some at Bangi town, near Kumbashi, Kontagora Emirate (see ACHIPAWA, below).
Kelawa with Fakawa - The area around the towns of Isgogo, Gele, Fakai, Bimin Tudu, Keli, Zussun, Kulu, and Kukun, in Dabai and Fakai Districts (Zuru).
Lilawa - The neighbourhood of Dabai, Isgogo, Tadurga, Rimú, Rikoto, Zuru town, Dago, Manga, Senchi, Dushe, and Usara, in Dabai District; Kandu, Kyobu, and Lolmo of Donko District; Riba Ginuko, Kanya, and Rumbo of Wasagu District; Kurmin Hodo, Sakaba District; and Peni Amana, Peni Gaba, and Anai, in Fakai District (McClintock).
Generally the Dakarkari are tall and slim. Today their marks are similar to those of their Dukkawa neighbors. Women usually have more marks on their forehead, neck, chest back and the arms. The front teeth were also filed to a point for beauty. Walki is the leather girdle worn till now by men to farm and during wrestling. They live in fenced thatched houses with a visitor's hut.
The Dakarkari are mainly farmers and hunters. In search of good land many have migrated to Niger state. They return to their original centers for burials and festivals. They farm guinea corn and millet. Iron ore is found in this area and used to be locally smelted.
They speak C'lela and Hausa fluently. Some young people speak Hausa only, especially in towns. C'lela has at least three dialects with many sub-dialects. Although this people are widely known as Dakarkari, they refer to themselves as Lelna.
The disposition of non-Dakakari in the same general area is as follows:
Katsinawa (Katsinawa-Laka, Kamukawa1) - near Wasagu, Bena, and Kurmachi.
Achipawa (Achifawa, Atsipawa, etc.) - near Karissen, etc..
Kambari - Kontagora Emirate, Niger Province; with Gungawa, Yauri Emirate, Sokoto Province.
Duka (Dukawa) - mainly at Dirin Gari and Dirin Daji, Sakaba District, Zuru, and to the Northwest of Rijau, in Kontagora; a few in the border areas of Yauri Emirate.
Demographic information is difficult to interpret. There is no index of statistical reliability, and, as mentioned above, there is no agreement on the designatum of the term Dakakari. The most recent accessible figures, based on a local tax count, are given in Colé (1949), an abstract of which follows:
KONTOGORA DIVISION, NIGER PROVINCE
170.000 Dakakari live in the forested hills around the city of Zuru in Kebbi State.
The Dakakari are mainly farmers and hunters. In search of good land many have migrated to Niger state. They return to their original centres for burials and festivals. They farm guinea corn and millet. Iron ore is found in this area and used to be locally smelted.
Today Dakakari tribal marks are similar to those of their Dukawa neighbours. Women usually have more marks on their forehead, neck, chest back and the arms. The front teeth were also filed to a point for beauty. Walki is the leather girdle worn till now by men to farm and during wrestling.
Dakakari worship their gods in forest and mountain shrines. One of the most important Dakakari sacred places is Girmache shrine, located near Zuru city. The shrine is more or less a grove because thick trees and water inhabited by crocodiles dominate the area, and local people come around to worship and offer sacrifices to the gods of the shrine and present gifts to the crocodiles. Every year the sacred crocodiles are taken out of the pond and men dance with them during the Zuru Uhola Cultural Festival.