The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook two

caption: role of the Kemovo, village priest of the Angamis
medium: notes
person: Lhuvisele/ of Kohima
ethnicgroup: Angami
location: Kohima
date: 23.6.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 23.6.1936-6.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (1) Informant: Lhuvisele of Kohima, head Angami interpreter.
text: 23/6/1936
text: Kohima:
text: 1. Kemovo belongs Pfuchatsuma clan
text: 2. Chiemama clan.
text: The Kemovos are always taken from these clans.
text: If a Kemovo dies for 30 days the new Kemovo cannot be chosen. The first, before the body is buried, the whole village is penna. Then there is a penna for his clan (not the khel) for five days. (2) The Kemovo is buried beside his house. After 30 days the new Kemovo is chosen. First for the oldest man a chicken is killed. If the chicken crosses his legs it is alright, but if the man has bad dreams, the chicken omen is made for the next man. The Kemovo must be without defect, a man who ever was bitten by a wild animal can't be Kemovo.
text: After a few days there is a ceremony for which the other Kemovo stands near the newly chosen, and sending a cock towards him and recites a song. After that the new Kemovo can function as Kemovo.
text: The Kemovo must always carry a dao or a spear. In his house he must only drink from his cup, - if he drinks or eats he must pour out a little on the earth.
text: If he fells a tree and the tree is about to fall, he touches it with some wood, or stone or stick and says (4) "Not I am cutting this tree, but the tehumas fell it".
text: He can't [eat] dogs meat and not of certain wild animals as wolves, jackals. He is allowed barking deer, [] deer, sambar. Of every killed animal the Kemovo gets a part. If it is an animal which is genna to him he will give the meat to his clan.
text: When a rich man's genna, (5) Terheni genna, is made then he makes ready the rice beer and the flesh, then he first kills the animals, but can't eat anything, then he sends two men to call both the Kemovos. They come to his house, stand outside, the one called ayati, (sic) then they come in.
text: Then the sacrificer's clan's men make banana leaf cups, hold it in the right hand filled with madhu, in the left their spears, - and then sing a song. Then they put it at the door posts, sacrificing it to (6) Ukenopfu. Then then come again and sit down on a bench. Then the sacrificer drinks, - then the Kemovo, who has been Kemovo longer, drinks first, then the other Kemovo and all the rest. Each of the Kemovo gets exactly ten pieces of meat.
text: A Kemovo cannot be killed in war.
text: His wife must not observe the same gennas.
text: Apparently he must not remain chaste, - many Kemovos were newly married.
text: (7) He never heard of a Kemovo making a social genna. They all have made feasts before they were Kemovos.
text: If there is any genna in the village, the Kemovo must keep it in the strictest way. The Kemovo announces the day before the gennas for sowing and reaping.
text: A Kemovo can under no accounts be dismissed. If he is ill he is either carried or delegates another man. (8) The Kemovo is not chosen according to his age, but to his character.
text: The Kemovo never goes either hunting or fishing. He never kills an animal or bird.
text: One can take things out of the Kemovo's house, with his permission.
text: He could not hit anybody.
text: He never should eat in walking, - if he eats he must stand or sit.