The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - 'Notes on the Wild Tribes Inhabiting the So-Called Naga Hills, on our North-East Frontier of India', by Col. R.G. Woodthorpe, 1881

caption: general observations on the Angamis; song and dance
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Angami
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: The Angamis struck us as a very cheerful, frank, hospitable, brave race, and for hill people wonderfully clean. When we arrived in camp, near a village ( I speak of 1873-5), the men all turned out at once to build our huts, clear spaces for our tents, &c., and in the evenings, as the setting sun was gilding the hill tops and the highest houses in the village, we sitting round our camp fire in the open fields, on the hill side below, looking across a deep valley, in which the purple gloom of evening was gathering, would hear the hum of many voices above us, and looking up would see the men of the village in long unbroken line descending the hill side path, bringing rice, wood, &c., and shouting in wonderful unison their peculiar "hau hau", a cry with which they invariably accompany labour or exertion of any kind. At intervals the men are hidden, and all sound subdued, as they descend into a ravine, or pass through a small belt of jungle: now they emerge again with a fresh swell of what is almost music, and at length leaving the jungle, they enter the camp and come on without halt or break in the procession, each man throwing his load down before us in one spot, and passing on till a large circle is formed around us, the best 'pas de seul' dancers quitting it in turn to perform a small war dance: the pace and the cries quicken rapidly, till at length the circle suddenly stops, and the whole give vent to a prolonged deep organ-like note gradually dying away, to be succeeded by another rather lower, at the end of which, without further word of command, they all turn and disappear towards the village.