The “ethnic” origins of the Gabra camel pastoralists who live on the Kenyan-Ethiopian border and their relationship to the territorially adjacent Borana cattle pastoralists are matters of ongoing academic debate. This article, which is based on Gabra clan traditions, suggests that the five phratries are an aggregate of some of the communities that live in the Lake Turkana region and beyond it. It describes the precolonial relationship of the Gabra and Borana, which is expressed by the latter in the idiom of kinship as a territorial one.

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