The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, south of the Niger bend near the city of Bandiagara in the Mopti region. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000 The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture. The past century has seen significant changes in the social organization, material culture and beliefs of the Dogon, partly because Dogon country is one of Mali's major tourist attractions. The principal Dogon area is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment, a sandstone cliff of up to 500m (1,640_ft) high, stretching about 150_km (90 miles). To the southeast of the cliff, the sandy Seno-Gondo Plains are found, and northwest of the cliff are the Bandiagara Highlands. Historically, Dogon villages were established in the Bandiagara area in consequence of the Dogon people's collective refusal to convert to Islam a thousand years ago.
Contributions by AAM, Skeptic2, and Mark Dingemanse.