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The ethnic group known as the Dogon are citizens of the impoverished African nation of Mali, where they have become one of the country's top tourist attractions due to their famed mask dances, sculpture and practice of mythology. The Dogon can trace their heritage back more than one thousand years, when they refused to convert to Islam and began a series of migratory travels that led them to the central plateau region along the Niger River. The Dogon number between 400,000-800,000, and they speak at least a dozen languages--primarily tonal with the use of two and sometimes three tones. Though the majority practice an animist religion, small minorities also practice Islam and Christianity; festivals and mythology play a large part of their religion. The Dogon have become famed for their artistic endeavors, especially known for their coveted sculptures, usually hidden from public view due to their secretive, symbolic meanings. Harmony is a central theme of the Dogon, and they practice several rituals which include the praising and constant greeting of its members.
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