Tsimihety people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups
Other Malagasy groups; Austronesian peoples

The Tsimihety are a Malagasy ethnic group located near the north-central coast of Madagascar. Their name means "those who do not cut their hair," in reference to their refusal to adhere to the mourning customs associated with the Sakalava royal court.[1] They number around 700,000 in population.[2]

Tsimihety society and economy, as in much of Madagascar, is agricultural in focus. The Tsimihety speak a dialect of the Malagasy language, which is a branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language group derived from the Barito languages, spoken in southern Borneo. Their particular dialect has Arabic and French elements as well. The main economic center among the Tsimihety is in Mandritsara.[3]

Distribution of Malagasy ethnic groups

According to anthropologist David Graeber, the Tsimihety exist almost entirely independently of the contemporary Madagascar nation-state, maintaining their own extremely egalitarian, non-hierarchical society. Their history of autonomy extends all the way back to the Maroansetra dynasty in the sixteenth century, up through French colonial rule and today.

It is fady among the Tsimihety to work the land on Tuesdays.[4] The maternal uncle plays an important role in the Tsimihety family.[1]