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Dim Delobsom was one of the first indigenous colonial bureaucrats in the French administration of Upper Volta. Born in 1897, he rapidly rose through the ranks of colonial administration, becoming a high-level functionary. He also served as the resident anthropologist of the dominant Mossi tribe of Upper Volta, and published numerous books and articles on Mossi customs. Delobsom fell afoul of an important faction of the colonial apparatus, however, when he decided to assume the chieftaincy of his natal village upon his father's death. Colonial officials and French Catholic priests thought he would be compromised as a bureaucrat-chief, and sought to block his investiture. Delobsom died under mysterious circumstances shortly after being named chief, in 1940. His life reveals some important dimensions of the fractured colonial experience.

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