A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter II-23:  The Priests of the Land   <PDF file>

Local gods and shrines; how tindanas inherit their chieftaincies; women tindanas; comparison of tindanas and chiefs; chiefs who are tindanas; the Dapkɛmas; tindanas and chiefs of Tamale; relations of tindanas and chiefs: drum history story of Mionlana Mahami and Tindaan’ Ʒee

Paragraph outline
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms


Contents outline by paragraph  <top of page>

Introduction

1.    The gods and shrines (buɣa) of Dagbon; older than Muslim religion
2.    tindana:  person in charge of the shrine; “holds” the town

How tindanas inherit their position

3.    tindana’s succession varies:  sister’s son, first-born son, first-born daughter, alternates
4.    follow the family and the custom of the particular town
5.    how a tindana’s line can separate within a family to brother’s children or daughter’s children
6.    how a tindana’s line can separate to sister’s children; resemblance to other inheritance
7.    two doors:  alternation of woman as tindana with male tindana
8.    how the two doors can develop in the succession pattern
9.    how the two lines share the work of the tindana
10.  resemblance of succession pattern to the chieftaincies of Yaa-Naa’s daughters; examples
11.  example:  Kumbungu; some towns have more than one tindana; every town has its way

Comparison of tindanas and chiefs

12.  different from chiefs; don’t use money or respect to become a tindana; only follows family
13.  tindana does not leave a town to go to another town; makes sacrifices and “holds” the town with the chief
14.  chief is a stranger; war by Naa Shitɔbu and Naa Nyaɣsi to take over chieftaincy of the towns
15.  tindanas are older than chiefs; their lines do not mix
16.  chief also looks after the town
17.  chief and tindana respect one another; tindana is older, but chief is stonger
18.  example:  Gulkpe-Naa and land for building
19.  tindana knows the town because his family is from the town; works with the god

Becoming a tindana

20.  tindanas are “caught”; donkey tail symbol of chieftaincy
21.  succession is usually clear
22.  elders circle around new tindana and throw the tail; cannot refuse
23.  new tindana’s life changes at once; enters a room for training
24.  shave head; kpɛya powder on head; beat Ʒɛm; walk through market
25.  market people lock up their goods or tindana’s people collect it

Chieftaincies that resemble tindanas

26.  tindana in from the town and stays in the town; some chiefs also don’t leave the town
27.  chiefs who are like tindanas:  Gushegu, Kumbungu, Tolon, Gulkpeogu
28.  chiefs who do not leave the towns who are not tindanas:  Yelizoli, Nanton, Sunson; from Yaa-Naa’s line; started with Yelizolilana Gurumancheɣu, Nanton-Naa Musa, Sunson-Naa Timaani
29.  some chieftaincies of women’s children but not tindanas; strangers to the town
30.  Gushe-Naa, Tolon-Naa, Kumbun-Naa, Gulkpe-Naa are tindanas; many resemblances

Tamale chiefs

31.  formerly ruled by tindana, Wulshe-Naa and Choggo-Naa; Nyankpalalana and Banvimlana also in the area; Gulkpe-Naa and Dakpɛma were brought to Tamale
32.  Dakpɛma, the market chief,  brought by the Tamale tindana
33.  Dakpɛma given to Tamale tindana by Kumbun-Naa during Naa Yakuba’s time
34.  tindana gave Dakpɛma walking stick and donkey tail for authority
35.  Dakpɛma starting:  stayed in tindana’s house
36.  Gulkpe-Naa a tindana in his town near Yendi, but a stranger in Tamale

Samban’ luŋa story of Mionlana Mahami and Tindaan’ Ʒee

37.  tindanas returned to towns after Naa Nyaɣsi’s wars’ Samban’ luŋa example:  Mionlana Mahami, grandson of Naa Gungobli
38.  Sambuɣli:  god of Mion; new Mionlana must make sacrifice to it
39.  Tindaan’s Ʒee and Mion people refuse to allow Mionlana Mahami to make sacrifice
40.  tindana hides woman in pot to refuse the sacrifice
41.  Mionlana Mahami abused by child
42.  the child explains the situation and advises Mionlana Mahami
43.  Mionlana Mahami goes with force to make the sacrifice
44.  the tindana and townspeople explain their refusal
45.  Mionlana Mahami makes the sacrifice; refusing a new Mionlana is a custom
46.  story shows that the chief does not know a town or its god
47.  Muslim chiefs therefore sacrifice to the town’s god; Muslims do not make sacrifices

Conclusion

48.  talk of the gods relates to typical Dagbamba, not Muslims; next topic:  the main gods of Dagbon


Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

According to our custom, if you have no children, your grandson can stand as your son.

Some things can look like one another but they are not the same.

As the tindana is there, then the chief is the stranger in the town.

The tindanas have the same name as the soothsayers: “If he tells you, you shouldn’t accept and you shouldn’t refuse.”

Everyone knows what he knows at his own place.


Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs of Yendi
Naa Abilaai Nagbiegu  (Naa Abilaai Naɣbiɛɣu)
Naa Gbewaa
Naa Gungobli
Naa Nyagsi  (Naa Nyaɣsi)
Naa Shitobu  (Naa Shitɔbu)
Naa Tutugri  (Naa Tutuɣri)
Naa Yakuba
Naa Zanjina
Naa Ziblim Bandamda
Naa Zolgu  (Naa Zɔlgu)
Yaa-Naa, Yaa-Naas

Chiefs and elders
Gushe-Naa Amidu
Gushe-Naa Moro
Kpatu-Naa Shetu
Kugalogu-Naa Samaata  (Kuɣalɔɣu-Naa Samaata)
Kumbun-Naa Zimbaa Pannyu' ma
Mionlana Mahami
Mionlana Torgu
Nakpanzoo-Naa Zara
Nanton-Naa Braimah
Nanton-Naa Dokogu  (Nanton-Naa Dokɔɣu)
Nanton-Naa Mahama Yindoo
Nanton-Naa Mahama
Nanton-Naa Musa
Nanton-Naa Nyerga  (Nanton-Naa Nyɛrga)
Savelugu-Naa Bukari Kantampara
Savelugu-Naa Mahami
Sunson-Naa Timaani
Yelizolilana Gurumanchegu  (Yelizolilana Gurumancheɣu)
Yelizolilana Lagfu  (Yelizolilana Laɣfu)
Yelizolilana Yidantogma  (Yelizolilana Yidantoɣma)
Yimahi-Naa Fajimah

Chieftaincies and titles
Banvimlana
Choggo-Naa
Dakpema, Dakpemas  (Dakpɛma, Dakpɛmas)
Gbonlana  (Gbɔŋlana)
Gulkpe-Naa
Gushe-Naa
Kumbungunlana  (Kumbuŋguŋlana)
Kumbun-Naa
Nanton-Naa
Nyankpalalana
Savelugu-Naa
Sunson-Naa
Tolon-Naa
Wulana
Wulshe-Naa
Yelizolilana

Names and people
Holy Prophet Muhammad
Kissmal [Ibrahim Hussein]
Miriam
Saambugli  (Saabuɣli)
Tincheli-Naa
Tindaan’ Zhee  (Tindaan' ʒee)
Tincheli-Naa

Musical terms
Bimbiegu  (Bimbiɛɣu)
Samban’ lunga  (Samban' luŋa)
Zhem  (Ʒɛm)

Cultural groups
Ashantis
Dagbamba

Towns and places
Accra
Banvim
Choggo
Dagbon
Diari
Gulkpeogu
Gushegu
Kakpaguyili
Karaga
Karaga Nangun  (Karaga Nanguŋ)
Katariga
Kugalogu  (Kuɣalɔɣu)
Kumbungu
Kumbuŋguŋ
Lamashegu
Mion
Nakpanzoo
Nanton
Nyankpala
Saasigli  (Saasiɣli)
Salaga
Sambu
Savelugu
Singa
Sunson
Takoradi
Toligu
Tolon
Yelizoli
Yendi
Yimahigu

Miscellaneous terms
bugalana  (buɣalana)
bugli, buga  (buɣli, buɣa)
buntaanga  (buntaaŋa)
calabashes
chieftaincy, chieftaincies
Dagbani
housechildren
housepeople
kpeya  (kpɛya)
meenga  (meeŋa)
Muslims
nahiba  (ŋahiba)
pakpon  (pakpɔŋ)
tinga lana  (tiŋa lana)
tingbia n-nye o  (tiŋbia n-nyɛ o)
tindana, tindaannima
tindanas
yerayera  (yɛrayɛra)