Introduction / History The Fulani are primarily descendants of cattle herders who had no permanent dwellings, but led their cattle around in search of better pasture, living on the milk from their cattle. Some, however, are descendants of the warriors who established a Muslim empire in Niger and parts of Nigeria during the early 1800 's. Now the majority of Fulanis have become settled farmers, although owning cattle is still important to them. The group remains essentially 100% Muslim. Fulani culture places a high value on self-control and on not displaying weakness. Traditionally, for example, the Fulani were not to be seen eating in public. Friendship is also a high value. When one Fulani wants to express friendship towards another, he will lend him a cow. The person receiving the cow takes care of it until it has a calf, at which point he returns the cow to its rightful owner. Taking care of the borrowed cow is so important that it should be treated with better care than one's own cows.
Fulfulde, the language of the Fulani people, is spoken from coast to coast across the African continent, stretching from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east. The dialect spoken in eastern Niger is distinct from that spoken in the west of the country. Missionary work started only recently among the Fulani in Niger, and as of yet there is only one Fulani church in western Niger, in the city of Dogondoutchi.