The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: hunting rituals
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Hunting
text: When a deer has been killed the carcase may not be cut up (though the throat may be cut if the deer is not quite dead) until someone who knows the formula has cut off the right ear and stuck it in a cleft stick at the foot of the tree nearest the spot where the deer fell, saying as he does so, "We have taken this deer from the jungle. From this ear make more to replace it, and give them to me." This is addressed to Ntsinpui, guardian of wild animals. The carcase can then be cut up or carried off. Not everyone knows this puja, however, and those who don't just carry off the carcase without further ceremony.
text: A deer or other game which strays into the village and is killed may only be eaten by old men. Likewise, only old men may eat game killed by a woman (eg a barking-deer which ran into the village to escape wild dog, was pulled down by a dog and finished off by an old woman with a stick).
text: When setting out, the party must go straight off with all it requires. Any shilly-shallying or turning back for things forgotten means a wasted day & no success.