The Tuareg travel across countries, but it has become harder since the colonialists carved Africa up. As a result, the Tuareg have been arguing for secession in Niger and Mali, which has often descended into violent conflict.
Tuareg women pictured in Niger. The Tuareg are divided into castes, with the nobles at the top and peasants at the bottom. A Tuareg woman at a music festival in Young couples write beautiful poetry to each other. The camels are of vital importance in the Sahara, and are often the only thing a man is left with when he gets divorced. Women keep the tent and all the possessions when they split, including the domestic animals which the tribe relies on to survive.
Any visitor who goes to a camp would be vastly underestimating the power of the women in the tent if they believe their sole duty is to make the food and look after children. In fact, she owns the home and the animals.
And the animals are an invaluable resource to the Tuareg in the middle of the Sahara. We drink their milk, we eat their meat, we use their skin, we trade them. When the animals die, the Tuareg dies. Many marriages end in divorce among the Tuareg.
And when it happens, it is the wife who keeps both the animals and the tent. The Tuareg's many small groups are joined together by the same family tree - and at the top of that tree is the person who bought them all together.
And it should probably come as no surprise for a tribe which views women in such regard, that person was a queen. Tin Hinan is said to have travelled south from modern day Morocco to what would one day become Algeria in the fourth century, where she became the first queen of the Tuaregs.
It is from Tin Hinan - whose name translates as 'she of the tents' - that every noble family is said to descend. Takamet, her handmaiden who travelled by her side, is believed to be the ancestor of the peasant caste. It is unlikely there will be any quibbling over who gets what.
Pre-nuptial agreements are the norm. In practice, this often means a man is forced to return home to his mother, possibly with just his camel and nothing else. His wife, meanwhile, will keep possession of everything she brought to the marriage and that includes the children. The mother's camp, Butler explains, is the root of the community, the home everyone returns to - and this arrangement ensures it stays that way. And there is no shame in divorce.
Families will often throw their daughters a divorce party, to let other men know they are available once more. But this is not a matriarchal society, where the women are in charge. Butler explains it is still the men 'who sit and talk politics'. But even here, the women can be deferred to. They are often consulted for their views by their sons or husbands, and are quietly pulling the strings behind the scenes.
However, Tuareg society is matri-lineal, which means the families trace their lines through the women, rather than the men, right the way back to their first queen.
The preference for the women's line goes as far as man leaving his possessions to his sister's son as it 'is considered a stronger link to your family than to your own son'. In other words, it can be guaranteed that your sister's child belongs to your sister, rather than a man's son, who cannot be absolutely guaranteed to share his genes.
But there is one tradition which is certainly far more unusual: In front of his mother-in-law it is especially shameful.
She said the poor man was completely horrified because he has to eat with his mother-in-law. But it is unlikely he would have ever complained about it, or felt sorry from himself. The very idea is horrendous to the Tuareg. The Tuareg will go to great lengths to maintain personal dignity.
They will suffer,' said Butler. Perhaps for this reason, the Tuareg welcome is legendary. They never forget to offer water, and travellers who appear on the horizon will always be 'treated like a king'. For a Tuareg man, it is highly shameful to eat in front of his mother-in-law, who commands great respect. There are thought to be more than a million Tuareg people, separated into different family groups.
Yet could all of this be under threat? In recent years, the Tuareg - who have been arguing, and fighting, for independence for decades - have aligned themselves with extremist Islamist groups, as they try to further their cause.
Those partnerships have since crumbled, but now the Tuareg living in south-western Libya face a new threat - that of ISIS - while those living in Mali, Niger and northern Nigeria now have to contend with the rise of Boko Haram. And then there is the general, cultural shift: Butler has noticed more of the women taking up the hijab. And while she has been assured the women are wearing it for a fashion statement, rather than for religious reasons, she cannot be sure.
Her fears are not alone. Andy Morgan, who managed Tuareg rockers Tinariwen, noted in some Tuareg considered the 'culture to be backward and irrelevant in the modern world, a folksy throw-back kept alive by meddling Western anthropologists'.
They deem certain other aspects of Tuareg culture, especially music and dance, to be licentious and ungodly and they object to the relative freedom and social power that Tuareg women enjoy.
But there is hope this proud tribe, which has survived for more than 1, years, will hold fast to the traditions which make them so very different from all others. They certainly consider themselves superior to us. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
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