On the self-defense bracelets and the reputation of the women of the Ouled Naïl in Algeria
by Mohamed Saadouni and Taco Meeuwsen
This paper is a revised and thoroughly expanded version of a similar article which was first published in Dutch in the “Sahara Schrift” issue 1-2020, ISBN/EAN: 978-90-824855-9-2 by the Dutch Sahara Society, Leiden, the Netherlands. It has been translated in English to appear in an American magazine on ethnic ornament and adornment later this year. For our English-speaking followers, the article can now be downloaded as a certified pdf-file at this location:
This third article by the joint authors aims to achieve three things:
- A comprehensive visual documentation of the self-defense bracelets of the Ouled Naïl tribes in Algeria, noting their tribute to neighboring traditions of silversmithing and putting the notion of self-defense bracelets in a broader cultural perspective.
- A more nuanced view on the life and the reputation of the “Naïliyat“ (Ouled Naïl women), burdened with less unsubstantiated Western assumptions.
- A broader and more humbling perspective on the prevailing manner in which “cultural appropriation”by the dominant Western cultures has been responsible for misinformation on indigenous cultures in the Maghreb and elsewhere.
- First published in Dutch in the “Sahara Schrift” issue 1-2020, ISBN/EAN: 978-90-824855-9-2 by the Dutch Sahara Society, the Netherlands, affiliated with the University of Leiden, faculty of Berber Studies, the Netherlands.
- Scheduled to be published in an abbreviated version in the Dutch “Magazine of Tribal Art and Culture”, of the Association of Tribal Art and Culture in the Netherlands.
- Invited to be published in full end 2022 in French, in “Le Saharien”, a Paris-based magazine of the French Saharan Society affiliated with all the major Universities in France.