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-hunting memories
medium: diaries
person: ChurungchuPukoviHuttonChuba
location: Anangba Chongtore
date: 7.11.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: Here we are in a different world from Mokokchung. Politics has given place to head-hunting memories. Since leaving Mokokchung we have not heard a word about the political changes or the N.N.C. In Anangba although head hunting has stopped it is still a living memory for this area was not administered until 1943 and the last raid was in 1930. Churungchu sat on a low stool by the fire recalling his great deeds with a quiet dignity. He has taken thirteen heads, but the incident he recalls with the greatest zest and satisfaction is the occasion when he decoyed to Anangba Pukovi, a famous Sema warrior (133) who had previously killed a girl of the village. Churungchu took his head and that of his wife. He led us outside to see the two skulls and they were fished out from inside the log drum. The various skulls were identified from the dao cuts in the cranium. Churungchu told us how Dr Hutton had said to him twenty odd years ago, 'You are a great warrior and have taken thirteen heads, why do you bother to take any more?' 'And so I gave it up,' said Churungchu.
text: One story led on to another and Chuba then told us about the last raid that Anangba and his village of Chongtore had taken part in together. 'It must have been in 1930. I was a boy of about fourteen then. We always kept thirty sentries on guard - eight in the fields and the rest in the village. One day I was working down in the fields when the sentry gave the alarum that the Yimchungrs were coming. There were about 150 of them. Twenty five of our men rushed out to engage them. The rest followed and Anangba came to help. We all dashed up from the fields and then the women and some of us children followed the men with food and drink. The fight raged and we lost one head and took two. My uncle had his arm badly hacked. That was our last raid.'
text: As I looked at the group sitting with us round the fire, I noticed that almost every man was wearing an apron embroidered with cowrie circles to show that he was a successful head-taker.