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A brief walk into the lives of this ethnic group

He would take his followers and traveled southward to Gwagwa after being warned by the chief to convert or be enslaved.

Located in the present Nassarawa state, the Gwandara is one of the Plateau Chadic-speaking peoples of Nigeria, living mainly in the Akwaja, Lafia, Keffi, and Nassarawa divisions of what was Plateau Province.

Nevertheless, they are also found in other dispatch communities across the northern part of Nigeria like Kano, Kaduna and Katsina state.

However, according to Gwandara history, it is said that Islam was introduced into Kano in the fourteenth century. But Gwandara, the younger brother of the ruling chief refused to convert to Islam.

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He would take his followers and traveled southward to Gwagwa after being warned by the chief to convert or be enslaved. Subsequent Muslim attacks led to farther dispersion down south.

Oral tradition has it that the Gwandara finally settled in the Jukun territory during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: Jukun had become a type of refugee zone for diverse peoples also fleeing their communities for various reasons, with the Gwandara dominating politically in the region for many years.

Economy

As it is with most rural communities, a good number of Gwandara people are known to be subsistence farmers with their farms located in the bush outside of their villages. Young Gwandara men work on their fathers' farms until they marry, which is usually around age seventeen or older.

It is important to note that among the Gwandara people, palm oil is valuable due to its many uses. Owing to this, a fair amount of it is obtained and kept in each village or sold in markets. Another major product sold in the market is mat.

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Belief

Among the Gwandara, one supreme god is worshipped and goats and sheep are sacrificed to it. Other lesser gods for each village are also worshipped, usually in open circular spaces inside groves approached through avenues of palms. Each village has two temples, which are essentially mud huts containing the village god.

There is also the art of ritual dances which comprises an important aspect of these of people. It is said that one of the dances is the "good and evil" dance.

It is said that during this dance, old men sit in a circle and the personification of the spirits of good and evil-concealed under a long sack and wearing a high conical hat-whirl around them. And stepping to the beat of a drum, he tells the elders to get up and follow him.

When the personified spirit dances, they all dance, and if anyone is struck by the knob that hangs from the spirit's hat, evil will surely befall him or his family.

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Another similar circular step-dance called "joy" is also practiced. The rhythm for this dance is made by the ornaments worn on the arms and legs of the dancers.

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