Bahar, Benjamin, and Cat, at work in the village of Goezeler. 















Bahar, Benjamin, and Cat, at work in the village of Goezeler. 

Acknowledgments and Bios


The Traditional Cultures Project team feels so incredibly lucky to have received such enthusiastic support and wholehearted welcome from the people of the Munzur Valley. They made being there a joy every day.

In particular, we’d like to thank Serde Yerlikaya, Bahar Yerlikaya, and Leyla Eroğlu for translating for us – they were absolutely essential to making our work meaningful – and we thank their families for so generously opening their homes to us. We are also incredibly grateful for the endless amounts of help we were given, in so many ways, by Akın Gedik. We could not have done this without him! (He is also among the best photographers in Dersim; see his images in his Facebook galleries!) 

We owe special thanks to Hayri Dede and Zeynal Dede, Emre Kaç, Ekrem Varliel, the families we stayed with in the yaylas, Dilşa Deniz, Laurent Dissard, Huseyin Dinler, and Özgür Kayaoğlu, Vernon Schubel, and of course several Murats.

We hope to see you all again soon!

For a list of useful textual sources, see our Selected References.


About us: 


Michael Benanav: 

As an author and photojournalist, Michael has spent years covering stories about traditional cultures around the world. His work includes articles and photo essays for major publications. He has authored three books, including the acclaimed Men Of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold, which documents a 1000-mile journey with one of the world's last working camel caravans along the ancient trade routes north of Timbuktu. His latest book (August 2015), is Himalaya Bound: An American’s Journey with Nomads in North India, which follows a family of nomadic water buffalo herders on their annual spring migration. For more information, see his website at


Cat Cannon:

Cat is a filmmaker and photographer based in Los Angeles. Before moving to California in 2014, she worked in Colorado as a freelance producer for several companies including the advertising agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and Trip Television. Over the last two years, she shot and directed a documentary about Irene Bennalley, a Navajo sheepherder in northwestern New Mexico. The project is currently in post production. Cat plans to continue working in documentary and is especially interested human narratives tied to unstable landscapes. 


Benjamin Raßbach: 

Benjamin has an undergraduate degree in Religion and Comparative Anthropology from Philipps University, in Marburg, Germany, and a Masters in the Science of Religion from Leipzig University. Along the way, he's studied Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish. He's particularly interested in the politics of religion, all things Kurdish, and nomadic peoples - and he has worked as a shepherd himself. His writings about his documentary expeditions in Iran and Turkey have appeared in several German publications.


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