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 six: Cycle migration
caption: early history of migrations; earlier sites of villages to be reused
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: Certain Central Nzemi villages have curious migration histories, in which the early immigrant community pursues a steady course down the Barail Range to the neighbourhood of its present position and then begins a series of movements to sites hardly more than a mile or two from each other, eventually returning to and reoccupying one or a succession of the earlier sites. All of them are within the heram-rai, the boundary of the land controlled by the village community, and each is within reach of at least one stretch of cultivable land not easily accessible from other sites; a community changing from one site to the other would retain access to a part of the land it had already been cultivating, but would have access (122) as well to a tract of agricultural land which was either new or thoroughly regenerated. These settlements were not temporary. The sites have stone fortifications, sometimes of a great strength, large house- platforms denoting hangseoki of considerable size, and sufficient grave-slabs and funerary monuments in indicate occupation over several generations. Each site has a name and each has its own kadepeo, kadepeo-katseipeo and autochthons, these hereditary positions being remembered and transmitted from generation to generation even when the community is not resident on that site. When the community moved, the attachment of the kadepeo and autochthons to their own village site was such that they were determined to preserve it for posterity. Boundaries were memorized, as were the position of springs, brine-wells and other features. The hazoa or jumping-place, the ritual centre of the village, [4 [Record T86861]