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Likatier tribe

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The Likatier tribe (in German Stamm der Likatier, known as Stamm Füssen Eins until 1998) is a community of about 200 people (more than half being minors) who live and work together in Füssen in the south of Germany. The group is not a tribe in the usual sense, since anyone can become a member. It owns several houses and businesses in the city, and critics sometimes view it as a cult or sect, although members do not share a common well-defined religious or spiritual belief system.

The community was founded in 1974 by then 17-year-old Wolfgang Wankmiller, who still leads it. It strives for independence and self-sufficiency with minimal environmental impact, practices ovo-lacto vegetarianism, and encourages free love while tolerating stable relationships. Separate men's and women's discussion groups meet weekly. Children are raised as a group by several women; some children are schooled privately by members of the tribe in a house across the border in Austria (as home schooling is not possible in Germany).

Several of the group's activities are related to esotericism, and a self-description states "our foremost goal is the perception and understanding of reality and its expression in vibrancy". The group also has its own internal currency and employs a creative approach to language, giving uncommon names to days or to everyday objects. It intends to create a genuine new "tribe culture" and is in active contact with other ecological communities around the world.

The group is hierarchically organized, with members having different "levels" reflecting their commitment to the tribe. There is also an outer circle of people who join the group in some of its activities but for the most part live separately.

In the 1970s the tribe tried to undermine several organizations in Füssen, and Wankmiller was active in local politics for a while. The Likatier are generally regarded with suspicion or even hostility in the city, and a citizen's action group has been formed that opposes the tribe and supports people who want to leave it.

In 2001, a cook of the group was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison for sexual abuse of five minor members of the tribe. While the trial judge found that the behavior was neither condoned by nor connected to the group, critics have pointed out that the cook was readmitted to the community after having served his sentence. The German yellow press occasionally reports on the group in a sensationalist manner, labeling Wankmiller as a "Sex-Guru", claiming that he believe himself to be a reincarnation of Jesus, and accusing the group of running sex orgies in the presence of minors.

To counter negative publicity, the group started a website in 2003. It has always welcomed outside visitors, and has recently started to offer "get-to-know" seminars.

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