The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: Sangtam village organization
caption: founding a village
medium: notes
keywords: Tsungrangre
person: Chingre clanThungre clan
ethnicgroup: Sangtam
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:40
text: Organisation of the village.
text: Any Sangtam of any clan can found a village. The founder becomes the head of the new village - proceedure:
text: 1. He chooses a site - makes a fire with a fire-stick - makes a great fire - the pillar of smoke goes straight up - the neighbouring villages see the sign and know that a man is making a new village.
text: 2. Then he starts to cut trees. He hollows out a sapling stump like a little cup - and puts an egg in it - leaves it as offering to Tsungrangre - for a blessing - then he mixes an onion with some bits of pork and scatters them to the east - another offering to Tsungrangre - then he makes a clearing.
text: 3. On the 4th day he makes a shed (Kuying) for the log-drum - he himself gives a bull and representatives of the clans give a cock, a dog and a pig - the cock is set free - the dog is thrown on the fire & singed (not killed) it rushes off - drawing away all hostile spirits - bull and pig killed and eaten - while the shed is being made.
text: (If the cock flies up on to a branch, crows and looks to the east, the village will prosper - get big - strong warriors. If not it will be small but not abandoned).
text: Five pieces of pork & 1 of liver are wrapped up in a plantain leaf - 6 such packets are made - divided among 6 men (one representing each clan ie. the founder and 5 others) who remain genna for 30 days. If only 1 or 2 clans in the party, a man 'stands in' for the missing clans so that Tsungrangre may think that all are there and that the missing clans may later join the village - unless associated with the founding, cannot join. These 6 men eat the head of the bull and pig - then they choose the sacred spot of the village the changmupahu (the shrine of the rice spirit). This is faced round - 2 sticks put up in the middle & the 2 skulls set up facing the east - every crop to be grown is then sown or planted within the fence (worshipped once every 3 years - Feb. before sowing - a pig and a bull without blemish offered). The next day the flesh of the bull and pig is eaten by all - a cock is killed - 5 bits of breast and a bit of liver scattered inside the fence - as offering to Tsungrangre - feathers and intestines put in a cage and hung up on the fence - only members of Chingre or Thungre clans will eat the fowl (ie. the priestly clans) if none of these clans, a 'dummy' member is used. At the feast everyone shares exactly alike - if a man takes a larger share, he will become a thief. The next day they start to make the houses - start with houses for the Chingre or Thungre clans - then the other 4 'genna' men - when these finished, do the others. When all done the women move in - then make the log drum and berth it in its shed.
text: The founder directs all land operations - he decides which hillside is to be taken up first - he reserves his own land first then the others take what they want - these shares remain their own. The same process every year - over other hillsides. Each family including the founder cultivates its own land. The founder cannot demand free labour from the others.