Tribes of Nagaland

Nagaland is one of the northeastern states of India, It lies between the 25 degrees 6′ 27 degree 4’latitude, north of the equator and between the longitudinal lines 93 degrees 20’E and 95 degrees 15′ E. The northeast states of India comprising of eight States of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, and Sikkim. The capital of Nagaland is Kohima with an area of 16,579 square kilometers ( 6,401mi) with a population of 1,980,602 per the census of India in 2011. 

Agriculture is the primary occupation of the people of Nagaland. 60% of people are engaged in agriculture. Rice is an important food grain.

Nagaland is known as the “Land of Festivals“. They celebrate every festival with great joy and cheerfulness. The important festivals are Sekrenyi, Moatsu, Tuluni and Tokku Emong. All the tribes of Nagaland celebrate their different seasonal festivals with a different dance form and a feat of music.

The Naga people belong to the Indo- Asiatic group of people. There are sixteen tribes in Nagaland, each tribe has occupied a distinct area. The language of the Naga People differs from tribe to tribe and village to another village. Each Naga Tribes has its own legend, the tribes who considered to be the original tribes of the hills are Khiamungan, Pochury, Sangtam, and Chang.

The tribes who have considered to be originated from the single stock but later got separated are The Angami, Chakhesang, Lotha, Rengma and Sema Tribes. The Ao and the Angami Tribes are the Larger tribes of Naga Hills. They have shifted their habitats during the beginning process by the encroaching into the territories of smaller tribes.

Types of tribes in Nagaland

Each tribe has a different identity with its neighboring tribe. Their language, tradition, culture are not similar to each other. The small naga tribe Phom is also known as Kahha. The Phom tribes are always enveloped by the clouds, the cloud is a local dialect of Phom. 

These tribes are known to be as Phom. Another form of the last group of Naga tribal is recognized as Pochury. Till 1987 Pochury is a part of the Chakhesang Naga Category.

The word Pochury is an amalgamation of the place names- Sapo, Kechuri, and Khury. The Pochury population is distributed in twenty-four villages. The Pochuri people had a monopoly over saltwater, spinning, wooden work, leatherwork, and stonework in Meluri Area.

Another tribe Rengma has divided into two territorial groups, Ntenya (northern) and the Nzong ( southern ) groups. The Rengma occupies the spur of the ridge running from the Nidzukru hill to Wokha Hill. The two groups of Rengma speak different dialects. The Rengma depends on Lotha, Angami, and Sema for salt, but they traded with the plenty of cotton with the Angami. The Rengma has famous all over the Naga Hill because of traded with expert Smits and their spearheads.

The Sangtam tribals of eastern Nagaland also divided into two main territorial groups located in the Chare circle and Kiphire subdivision of Tuensang District and they speak two forms of same dialects. Another form of Naga Tribe Sema is widely scattered in Nagaland. The Sema tribe is mainly concentrated in the Zunheboto Dist. of Nagaland but their settlement also found in Tuensang districts, besides in neighboring Assam.

The small community of Yimchunger Nagas with a population of 22, 054 is divided into three sub-tribes- the Tikir Makware, and the Chriss speaking different dialects. Zeliangrong increasingly used by the members of three tribes- the Zemi, Liangmei, and Rongmei, to identify themselves as a single ethnocultural entity. The term Zeliang is used and recognized at the administrative level. The process of tribalisation, detribalization, and the Sanskritisation have affected the Zeliangrong people indifferent habitats, hill, and plains in different stages.

It was Jadoniang who reformed the Rangmei religion and started the Heraka Cult in 1925, by the mixture of the Zemi, Liangmei and the Rongmei. After the death of Jadoniang, Rani Gaidinliu popularises the cult. Besides this Heraka cult, the rituals like nga-ngai ( and also chaga) provide a symbol and basis for tribal unity. Like Zeliangrong the word Chakhesang is also an acronym formed by letters derived from the names of three tribes. The Chakhru and the Khezha formed the main ethnic segments within the Chakhesang, which are culturally close to Angami or the Tengima( western Angami) located in the Phek dist. The three tribal segments ( Chakhru, Khezha, and Sangtam) live in their respective territories, speak their own language, follow endogamy and other institutional tribes. The Zounuo-Keyhonuo tribals marked as a tribal identity in the historical past in a number of ways. The killing of a non- Zounuo-Keyhonuo was not regarded as a crime, it was rather admired. The tribes like Chakhru, Kheza, Mao, and others live outside the Zounou-Keyhonuo, occupying their own territory and maintaining their distinct identities.

Zunou-Keyhounuo tribes have distributed in ten original tribal villages, men regard their tribal territory as their ancestral land. The villages were established by the descendants of their tribal ancestors Zounou and Keyhonou who themselves had established Kingwema nad Viswema villages respectively. The Zunou-Keyhonuo people at a maximal tribal level, on their possessions of kinship, rituals, and cultural traits and oral traditions, besides their territorial affiliation. 

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