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: Phek to Chipoketami
caption: journey back to Mokokchung
medium: diaries
person: ShoizhuAohukyuZehovi
location: Ketsaovoma (Ketsapomi) Nantaleik R. (Tizu R.)
date: 10.9.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: 10 September. Chipoketami.
text: Today I came on by the direct route with Shoizhu, Aohukhyu and Zehovi, while Bill went by a long and exhausting Naga path to Ketsapomi, where he had heard there were some grave-effigies.
text: As I walked along I thought how differently we all observe the forest. I myself look at it with a microscopic eye and notice a yellow leaf, a white orchid, a scarlet minivet or a branch of purple fruit. Bill strides along and the forest is a pleasant green tunnel for his thoughts. Only some grand effect of clouds or a broad landscape will arrest him. Our interpreters on the other hand see it in yet another way. They glimpse a grey pigeon and a few minutes later the report of a gun is heard. I comment on some plant or tree and at once comes the remark, 'That is good for dye' or 'That is good for sores', 'That is good to eat', 'Don't touch it, its juice will give you a rash.' We pause to look at the view and (74) someone rushes up to say, 'Hurry past that hole, there are wasps in it.' For the Nagas the forest is either a source of danger or a contribution to their diet.
text: Berries are beginning to form now. Great tassels of them are hanging on brown stringlike stalks. They are orange and scarlet, and are draped from tree to tree like electric lights for a party.
text: During the morning, I crossed two tributaries of the Tizu, both rushing coffee-coloured torrents plunging down to the foot of the hills. In the damp valley, the shrubs were alive with butterflies - in particular a mustard yellow and navy blue one. At one place a brown snake with a flaming orange-red neck darted across the path and Zehovi pursued it with a stick. Some villagers passed with baskets of white bamboo shoots and, remembering Eric Shipton's description of those he ate on the Nanda Devi expedition, I asked Shoizhu if he would one day get me some. He at once filched a few from the villagers and brought them along for our dinner. At one point we lost Shoizhu, but the distant bang of a gun soon told me what he was up to. Half an hour later he came proudly in and with a seraphic smile on his face he held up a grey pigeon.