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: phases of cycle-migration of villages
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: Central Nzemi village movement thus falls into a recurrent pattern which varies within limits. Three phases may be defined. In the first the autochthon of a site are established on it and their community is enlarged by the advent of immigrants, either individuals or in bodies, who settle on the site as non- autochthons. In the second phase, over-cultivation of the accessible land results in soil exhaustion and a fall in the annual yield; the non-autochthonous elements, which have no attachment to the site, are anxious to move to another where they may enjoy prosperous conditions and in turn become privileged autochthons. In the third phase, the non-autochthonous elements have emigrated. If further planes of cleavage exist the remaining community is likely to disintegrate further, the solidarity of fellow-autochthons being maintained at the expense of moiety solidarity; only rarely does fission take place on moiety lines. When conditions (134) are disturbed fragmented villages will in a short time be forced to seek incorporation in more powerful units. Where conditions are peaceful, such remnant communities and dissentient segments may survive as independent settlements for some time. When the component parts of the first community are again united at the second site the first of our three phases will have recommenced, with this difference, that it is the late-coming remnant from the first site which is now the non-autochthonous element and will be the first to move when the agricultural land shows signs of exhaustion, while the earlier immigrants are now autochthons and will be reluctant to abandon their site.