The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton tour diaries in the Naga Hills

caption: Visit to Niemi; slate roofs; no weaving in Niemi; disposal of the dead by the Kalyo-Kengyu tribe - smoking of corpse inside house, bones kept in pot in granary
medium: tours
ethnicgroup: Kalyo-Kengyu
location: Laruri (Karami) Longphurr (Niemi) Sampurre (Thachumi) Makware (Makwari) Chi (Chimi) Puchangri
date: 18.11.1920
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 4.11.1920-28.11.1920
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 18th
text: Took 10 rifles and visited Niemi. The villagers not at all shy, and quite friendly. It is a remarkable village crowded on to a very rocky and precipitous shoulder of the mountain, all the houses roofed with slate and only two possible approaches to the village. The headman complained of the hostility of Thachumi and had panjis out everywhere. The village does not weave but buys its cloths from Makwari or Chimi. They said Chimi wished to come in to see me with the objects of becoming the "Sahibs children" in order to obtain protection against some village called Puchangri. As I have no means of giving it, nor any particular desire to do so if I had, I did not encourage them to bring Chimi in.
text: The burial customs of the Kalyo-Kengyu tribe, at any rate practised in Karami and Niemi, differ from those of any Naga Tribe I have hitherto come across and show a most insanitary disregard for the convenience of the survivors (if ultimately a very up to date lack of respect for the empty vessel whence the spirit has fled). The dead body is smoked slowly and not too drastically for about two months inside the house, and the family still living in it. The corpse being in a dug out coffin with a mat over it. After that it is put to one side a little, still in the house, and then kept till the next sowing of the crops. Then a day is fixed, strict genna observed, and all the corpses whose funeral rites have been completed during the year since the last sowing are taken to a spot outside the village where there is jungle - at Karami it is the edge of tree-covered rock - and the bodies are broken up, the bones being all collected and put into an earthen pot, which is then stored permanently at the back of the granary, while the skin and flesh is put back into the coffin covered with the mat and just chucked away down into the jungle. To ensure all the bones being kept there are rules as to the number of people who are to look for them when the body is broken up, and during the year that the body is unburied in the house (or immediately under the eaves outside at the spot nearest the hearth) offerings of all sorts of grains, fruit, food and drink in some quantity together with wooden weapons etc. are put out from time to time at the outskirts of the village for the use of the ghost.