Called “Suk” by the Maasai, they are divided into two economic groups, the pastoralist and the cultivators. Of the ninety thousand Pokot, three quarters are pastoralist (pi-pa-tix) and one quarter are cultivators (pi-pa-pax). The Pokots are a curious mixture; cattle people, corn people, circumcised or not, they are nevertheless one group, where the main common factor is indeed the language. The Pokot have been very strongly influenced by a Nilotic group from Uganda, the Karamojong. In 1918 due to the ever increasing pressure from the Turkana, a great number of Pokot moved into Uganda, where they formed a new group the Karapokot.
The Pi-pa-pax, the corn people, live on the slopes and valleys of the Cherangani hills. The main crops are millet and potatoes. A sophisticated irrigation system is used and is the responsibility of the men. The women take care of the crops and the house. Each homestead has at its head a chief (ki-ruwok- in) elected by the elders. The pastoralists live in villages on the plains and many have wandered far from the hills to the north, north west and die west. A settlemen consists of an extended family and at its head is senior man of the group. They love their animals especially the big bulls. Their stock consists mainly of cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys and less often of camels. Ideally every man should possess an ox of the kind known as “kmar”. A Kmar has one horn curving towards the back and the other towards the front. When going into battle the Pokot used to shout the name of their favorite bull. The cattle provides milk and blood which is their main staple food.
The Pokot follow an age-set similar to the Kipsigis although some of them refuse the circumcision as a barbarous practice. They are creative and produce very finely worked utensils such as head rests and water containers.