This study deals with ethnic integration and dichotomization in Ethiopia since the adoption of ethnic federalism, taking Gumuz and Agew in Metekel zone as cases of the study. To understand dynamics of relationships between the two ethnic groups during the last two decades, the study employs relational ethnography research design. The data which has been collected through in-depth interview, observation, informal conversation, and review of documents is analyzed thematically. The study challenges existing polarized discourses on ethnicity and ethnic federalism. The finding of the study revealed that ethnic federalism brought both promising and discouraging results on the relationship of the two groups; ethnic integration and dichotomization. Empowering of Gumuz in the area came up with unprecedented ethnic interactions such as inter ethnic marriage, economic integration and religious conversion. Political change in post 1991 has also shifted historical patron-client economic relationship in to mutual economic interaction between the two ethnic groups. However, the period has also witnessed new forms of hostile ethnic interactions like deconstructing myth of common ancestry, political dichotomization and force full eviction of Agews from the area.
Keywords: Ethnicity, ethnic relations, ethnic federalism, ethnic boundary, ethnic integration, ethnic dichotomization.