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: head-taking
medium: notes
location: Chare
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:45
text: 'We took heads to get our warriors' dress, to show our bravery. If we did not bring the head, no one would believe we had killed an enemy. When we brought the head everyone saw it - men, boys and women. A man who brought a head was bold and great'.
text: 'We used to take heads because it was our custom. Now that the custom is stopped and we have a new custom, we are not sorry. We are content not to take heads now'. Chare
text: Ways of taking heads:
text: 1. One or 2 warriors - ambush solitary enemy - retreat if the hostile village come in force.
text: 2. A party - surround on the path or break into a village - surprise tactics.
text: 3. Warfare by challenge - the whole village (with women) would go in full dress - war dance and chant - 2 lines opposing 2 lines - spears and daos - after some killed the defeated village fled.
text: 4. Creep into a village at night, wait outside a house and surprise an inmate when he or she emerges at dawn.
text: 5. Spear an enemy at night through the roof - but in such cases could not take the head.