The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: head-taking in the tribal area
caption: kidnapping of two children by Shamnyu as slaves for Tsawlaw
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Chang
location: Shamnyu Tsawlaw
date: 30.7.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Then a little later, the Chang village of Shamnyu kidnapped two children and their father. Shamnyu is on the edge of the 'tribal area' and acts as a slave-procurer for the powerful village of Tsawlaw. This time the slaves came from well within the 'control' area and since the recently formed Chang tribal council had banned all kidnapping by Changs, Shamnyu's act was an immediate affront to tribal authority. Having recently abolished raiding as 'an instrument of tribal policy', the Changs were loath to take reprisals but on the other hand they could not allow the marauders to get away unscathed. Finally they decided that Shamnyu must be raided, seven villages combined and, catching some Shamnyu people near a river, they killed eleven and took their heads. When they reported this in Mokokchung, they said,'Government is too far away. It is several years since a column came'.