Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

Katab is the collective term for a cluster of ethnic groups living in north-central Nigeria, as well as the name of a single subgroup. Other subgroups include the Ataka, Ikulu, Jaba, Kachichere, Kagoma, Kagoro, Kaje, Kamantan, Katab and Morwa. Katab peoples speak a variety of Plateau subgroup languages of the Benue-Congo subsection of the Niger-Congo family, and share similar cultural practices and beliefs. Primarily farmers, the Katab also hunt and fish in the dry season. They live in villages containing several localized patrilineages with no authority above the village headman or priest. Villages will affiliate themselves for the purposes of mutual defense and marriage exchanges.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


Africa --Western Africa



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Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title of the work where necessary.

An early work is a government report by Temple (1922), who focused on the Kagoma, Kagoro and Kaje tribes, with little information about the Katab proper. The government anthropologist C. K. Meek (1931) wrote the earliest ethnography, concentrating on the Katab and Kagoro tribes, with some additional information on the Kaje, Jaba, Kachichere, and Morwa. Cole (1948), another colonial official, reported on land tenure and its social implications in what is now Kaduna state, with particularly rich detail for the Jaba and Kagoro; rather less for the Kaje. Smith (1953; 1960; 1983) did fieldwork in 1950 and 1959, and writes about religion, social organization, political development and marriage among the Kagoro and the neighboring Kadara (not a Katab group). McKinney (1983) is concerned with Kaje, Kagoro and Katab linguistics. The Bonat (1989) article is a general history of the Katab from 1800 to 1960.

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

Abwai -- gods, ancestral spirits -- Use Spirits And Gods ( 776 ) with Cult Of The Dead ( 769 )

Agwam abwai -- chief priest -- Use Priesthood ( 793 )

Ángát -- mother's brother, extended to all three generations of maternal male affines -- Use Kinship Terminology ( 601 ) Avuncular And Nepotic Relatives ( 604 )

Bin -- social unit bound by rules of exogamy -- Use Regulation Of Marriage ( 582 ) with Clans ( 618 )

Ci -- religious ritual -- Use Organized Ceremonial ( 796 )

Dodo -- spirit -- Use Spirits And Gods ( 776 )

Gwaza -- creator god -- Use Spirits And Gods ( 776 )

Headhunting cult -- -- Use Aftermath Of Combat ( 727 ) with Cult Of The Dead ( 769 )

Kwai -- localized lineage -- Use Lineages ( 613 ) with Settlement Patterns ( 361 )

Ndori -- chief priest and clan leader -- Use Priesthood ( 793 ) with Clans ( 618 )

Nendwang -- wife abduction -- Use Mode Of Marriage ( 583 )

Niendi -- intermarrying lineages -- Use Clans ( 618 ) with Regulation Of Marriage ( 582 )

Obwai -- ancestral spirit -- Use Spirits And Gods ( 776 )

Tenci -- chief priest -- Use Priesthood ( 793 )

Tienwhop -- lineage priest -- Use Priesthood ( 796 )

Ute -- lineage -- Use Lineages ( 613 )

Indexing Notes by

Ian Skoggard

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