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(ōrō`mō) or


(găl`ə), traditionally pastoral tribes who live in W and S Ethiopia and N Kenya. They number more than 25 million. About half are Muslim, about a third Ethiopian Orthodox, and about a sixth Protestant. Most live in Ethiopia, mainly in the ethnically based state of Oromia; they constitute roughly a third of all Ethiopians.

Originally from N Somalia, they later migrated to the region of Lake Turkana (Lake Rudolf). In the mid-16th cent. they began to move into the Ethiopian highlands. Never a united group, they were not a serious threat to the Ethiopian state. Their raids, however, were a considerable nuisance, and they were able to establish small states in many areas nominally controlled by the Ethiopian emperor. They were used as mercenary soldiers by the Ethiopians.

Oromo separatist guerrillas have campaigned against Ethiopian rule since the 1990s without any significant results; they have also mounted occassional raids into Kenya. The Ethiopian government has typically responded by repressing its opponents, occasionally prompting antigovernment demonstrations. Plans to transfer areas of Oromia neighboring Addis Ababa to the latter's administration led to protests beginning in 2014. The plan was abandoned in 2016, but protests continued in response to thousands of arrests and hundreds of deaths in a government crackdown; protests were also fueled by resentments against foreign-owned factories.


See G. W. B. Huntingford, The Galla of Ethiopia (1955, repr. 1969); H. S. Lewis, A Galla Monarchy (1965).

References in periodicals archive ?
Also, language rights, cultural rights and issues of ethnic-based discrimination against the Oromo people were among the early demands of the protesters.
The poem unfolds this historic moment in East Africa, Oromiyaa, during which the Oromo people experienced cultural shocks and the devastating effects of the new global order of post-empire.
However, the Oromo people are being denied the right to develop their own literature (Bulcha, 1997).
The Oromo people critically reflect on and develop their moral rules through discussion and within the framework of their national assemblies so as to maintain their contemporary efficacy under changing conditions, technologies and the modern world.
1) American anthropologist Bonnie Holcomb (1991: 1-10) notes that the Gada system 'organized the Oromo people in an all-encompassing democratic republic even before the few European pilgrims arrived from England on the shores of North America and only later built a democracy.
This study outlines the history of American slavery through the modern Black Freedom Struggle and compares the experience to the state terrorism practiced against the Oromo people of northeast Africa.
Here he made his first long overland journey, and armed already with some knowledge of Ge'ez and Amharic, he set out to master the Cushitic speech of the Oromo people (whom he knew as the Galla), the dominant people throughout much of central and southern Ethiopia.
This essay is concerned with the contradiction between the homogenizing and 'nation-building' policies of the Ethiopian regimes on the one hand, and the interests of the Oromo people to maintain their collective identity on the other.
Whereas, the formerly strident agitation of the so-called intellectuals of the All Amhara Peoples' Organisation, surely a misnomer, seems to have become more moderate, even conciliatory, since their leader, a former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, was indicted on charges of sedition, the uncompromising attitude of the Oromo people, a major tribal group, is both disappointing and somewhat chilling in its implications.
Armed by the Europeans, Menelik expanded his empire, conquering the Oromo people (who today are Ethiopia's largest ethnic group) and replacing their traditional rulers with landlords from the northern highlands.
In the case of Ethiopia, these is no confession of intent to destroy and the denial of guilt for any kind of atrocity by the ruling elites against Oromo people or any of the peoples of the south is so intense as to erase even criminal acts from the sight of strangers, much less the 'dolus specialis' of intent to destroy a group.
Demonstrators chant slogans while flashing the Oromo protest gesture during Irreecha, the thanksgiving festival of the Oromo people, in Bishoftu town, Oromia on October 2, 2016 (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri Photo)