Introduction / History
The Tasawaq cultivate date palms in and around the oasis town of Ingal in northwestern Niger. This is their primary occupation and a source of pride to them. Approximately 80 km north of Ingal is another town called Tegidda-n-Tessumt which has salty springs and underground water exploited by the Tasawaq. Seasonal work requires migration of the Tasawaq between these two important towns. In Tegidda-n-Tessumt they evaporate the salt which they use primarily in their animal feed. Since salt cannot be evaporated during the rainy season, many Tasawaq move back to Ingal during those months when the harvest of dates requires extra hands.
Income to purchase the necessities of life comes through the sale of dates and salt as well as from finely woven and colorfully decorated mats made from palm leaves. For all the nomads in the region, (Tuareg, Arabs, Fulani and Igdalen) the town of Ingal and its surroundings is a meeting place for the annual "Cure Salee", a type of animal fair, family reunion, and rodeo all rolled into one which usually takes place in August or September. It is an important festival as well as an important part of the economic life of Ingal. The town of Ingal has had a school for over forty years and a high percentage of children in town attend school. The population generally has a positive attitude towards education, and is willing to send students elsewhere to pursue higher education with the underlying expectation that they will eventually return to Ingal. The Tasawaq speak the language called Tasawaq which is related to Tabarog and Tagdal.
They follow Islam as their religion. No church or mission has targeted the Tasawaq.
Text source: Anonymous