Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Jola, Dyola, Diola, or Yola (people) reside primarily on the Atlantic coast between the southern banks of the Gambia River, the Casamance region of Southern Senegal, and the northern part of Guinea-Bissau. Diola society has long been characterized by regional diversity. The cultivation of rice is perhaps the oldest economic activity, but Diola people are also skilled in other traditional economic activities, such as fishing, farming groundnuts, taping palm wine, and processing palm oil. They also raise cows, pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, and ducks. They are skilled at crafts such as basket weaving, pottery, and house building. Hundreds of years before the introduction of Christianity or Islam, the Diola people believed in Emit or Ata Emit (Person of the sky) as the Creator God. The Esulalu, a cogroup of Diola people, say that Emitai , the Supreme Being of the sky, created the Earth, its peoples, and various types ...