The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - memoir of time in the Naga Hills as a Deputy Commissioner, 1919-1920

caption: tour with Mills in Ao country
caption: Ao religion
medium: articles
ethnicgroup: Ao
person: Cantlie/ Keith
date: 1919-1920
form: private collection
refnum: loaned by Dr Audrey Cantlie
text: Every Ao had a "tiya" in the sky. This was not a God but a fate. Every Ao had three souls of which one was a "mithan" (Bos frontalis) on earth and every "tiya" had three souls of which one was a celestial mithan. The beliefs are most complicated and vague. The Ao languages like those of other Naga tribes had no abstract words in which to conduct religious and moral argument. In Europe Greek and Latin could be called upon to furnish abstract ideas in the language of the Western peoples. My short- term predecessors before Hutton began his career as S.D.O. Mukokchung before becoming Deputy Commissioner at Kohima must have known little about the Aos though a good deal about the Angamis. They numbered only about 30,000 in my time and had, unlike the Semas, plenty of land.
text: They had a reputation among Nagas as being thieves.