For many centuries, the coastal desert patch known today as Western Sahara was home to the Saharawis, a nomadic and tribal people. Representing a cultural fusion of Berber, African, Arab and Muslim roots, these pastoral nomads called themselves the Sons of the Clouds, due to their constant search for rain and green pastures to feed their animal herds. Their movements however took place within fairly defined limits which encompassed a greater area than that represented by the boundaries of present day Western Sahara. This area was called Trab el Beidan and extended from Wad Noun in southern Morocco down to the Senegal river in the south and east to the Hamada in Algeria and Mali and west to the Atlantic coast.
The Saharawis are a people who knew no strict boundaries and loved their freedom, but who nevertheless had a strong sense of belonging and connection to the landscape of Western Sahara. This is reflected over and over again in their rich oral traditions which were passed on from generation to generation.