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: visit to Yongyimti
caption: tour in Chang country
caption: head-hunters' dance
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Chang
location: Yongyimti
date: 21.10.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: After dark a great fire was lit in the village 'square', and sounds of singing drifted up. Then a message came that the boys were dancing. We clambered down the rocky path, through the silent village to find everyone, young and old, sitting in the firelight. The men were all wrapped in blue and scarlet cloths with bold zigzag patterns. The bigger boys were in ceremonial dress with bearskin circlets, blue and red fringed baldricks and cowrie aprons, while the little boys pranced gaily about, their fillets of bamboo spathe looking like pallid hair ribbons. As the dancers went leaping round, they all sang with lusty raucous voices, the smaller children padded gamely behind and the great line wound and unwound itself in writhing spirals like the convulsive motions of a snake. It is now many years since heads were brought to this village and as the parents watched their children, the dance had more the air of a boisterous entertainment than the grim ritual of returning warriors.