The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Village Organization Among the Central Nzemi Nagas', M.A. thesis by Ursula Betts

caption: chapter three - the Ram or village community
caption: woman's relations with the kienga
caption: transition of girls to dormitories
medium: theses
ethnicgroup: Nzemi
person: Betts/ U.V.
date: 1950
refnum: M.A. thesis, University College, London
note: footnotes indicated by boxes within square brackets
text: At about the same age - eight or nine - that her brother transfers to the hangseoki, a girl moves to the leoseoki. She continues to sleep there until marriage, but works at home during the day and receives her training not from the older girls in the leoseoki, but from her mother. The leoseoki, however, is used by the girls for spinning-bees to which each girl contributes a share of food drink, and at the village feasts and on other, less formal, occasions the girls hold parties and sing or dance for the visiting elders and married men whom they invite. A girl also works in the fields with her family far more than does her brother in the hangseoki, though (80) she joins as well in the kienga working-parties made up of girls and young men. On ceremonial occasions, such as feasts, the hangseoki and the leoseoki are formally associated, the girls waiting on the youths and men of the kienga and washing and clearing up afterwards. On certain prescribed days during the annual feasts the young people of the kienga go to the jungle on a formal outing with the two hangseo-mui-te-peo, taking a picnic meal and visiting a nearby peak or cave. At dances a hangseo-mui-te-peo takes charge of the girls. He musters them in the back of the hall or in the kazeipeo's house and brings them out to dance when needed. When a party of young people go on a dancing tour, the girls are again escorted by a hangseo-mui-te-peo and sleep in the leoseoki of the villages they visit.