The Garri people divide into two main sub-tribes which is Tuuf and Quran (Quranyowa). It is said that the president of Chad came to a refugee camp in Somalia where the Garri people were displaced after the Ogaden war. Hissene Habre of Chad supposedly met with Garri elders in the 1980’s and told them of the existence of Garris (Tuuf and Quran) in his country. In chad, Tuuf is known as Toubou and Quran is known as Gorane.
At a time when Africa was new to independence, the instability, political divisions, and power struggles could be felt throughout the Horn of Africa. Colonial Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, are the lands where the Garris lived. The colonialist left the borders for the natives to govern without any tools or organization pre-established for them. After the departure of Colonialism, the new leaders called it upon themselves to establish an identity for their newly acquired borders. Those who spoke Somali created the Somali Nationality. The Garris in Ethiopia meanwhile dealt with oppression not from foreign entities but leaders of their own nation. Those who spoke Oromo created their own nationality which separated itself, and stood as a rebel group against the oppressions of the Ethiopian Government under the rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam and Haile Selassie. The Garris who spoke both of these languages are later given the option to choose which nationality they wish to be a part of. The elders at the time, chose to be part of the somali ethnicity. This option has caused a massive ripple in the understanding and establishing of a Garri identity. Garris of Ethiopia did not speak Somali and did not want to be part of the Somali ethnicity. This is where this blog comes in. Are Garris Somali, or Oromo? Both of these ethnicities are established through politics to create a nationality which fits a particular interest. Somalia is built to create a “greater Somalia” which expands into Ethiopia and Garris are offered to be part of this so they can be of use to this mission. The Oromo ethnicity is established to eradicate the oppression inflicted by the Ethiopian government upon minorities who speak “Oromo”. If this claim of Garris in Chad was actually made by the former president, there is a possibility that there might be a political agenda behind it. But on the other hand, the possibility of truth behind the claim cannot be completely disregarded.
All of the information printed about Garri people in more recent years has labeled Garris as Somalis. The picture above says “Garri tribe of Southern Ethiopia”. Contradiction is the common theme on Garri “nationality” or ethnicity. Sometimes It’s Garri tribe of Ethiopia and sometimes it’s Garri Somali tribe.
A toubou woman holding her baby. The physical features of Toubou (Gorane) people are very similar to that of the Garri people as seen in this picture. The item she is holding in her hand, resembles the “idhina” used by Garri people to burn incense.