Dogon Tellem Miniature Figure 9.5 Inch Mali
The early history of the Dogon people is indeed influenced by oral traditions, as written records about their origins and migration are limited. According to these oral traditions, the Dogon originally lived on the west bank of the Niger River between the 10th and 13th centuries. They later migrated westward to northern Burkina Faso, where they were referred to as kibsi by the local inhabitants.
Around the year 1490, the Dogon fled from the region known as the northern Mossi kingdom of Yatenga due to an invasion by Mossi cavalry. Seeking refuge from the approaching horsemen, they settled in the Bandiagara cliffs region. Excavations in the area have revealed remains that suggest human habitation dating back to the 10th century, prior to the arrival of the Dogon.
The Dogon who were unable to escape the invasion and remained behind were assimilated into Mossi society. They were known as the nyonyose, which means "descendants of the first inhabitants" in the Mossi language.
It's important to note that while oral traditions provide valuable insights into the history of the Dogon people, the accuracy and specific details of these traditions can be challenging to verify due to the lack of written records from that time. Archaeological findings, such as carbon-14 dating of excavated remains, can provide some additional evidence to support or supplement these oral accounts.