Living in a remote part of Africa the Samburu tribe has been cut off from most of western civilization up until about 10 years ago when inter-tribal fighting began to subside and the Northern Territory of Kenya was opened up to travelers. Easily one of the most fascinating groups of people I’ve ever encountered, the Samburu are a prideful people who consult the stars for spiritual guidance, all the while maintaining a warrior culture that is equal parts fierce and gentle. Known locally as “The Butterfly People,” the Samburu are rumored to be a lost legion of Roman soldiers and cousins to the Maasai. My project is to document the Samburu as they assimilate into a life increasingly dominated by technology and western values. In conjunction with the mission of the Thorn Tree Project, this is a lifetime commitment for me.
Lyle Owerko's portrait series "The Samburu" is on view at Clic Bookstore and Gallery in Manhattan through April 11.