The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : 'Konyak Nagas' by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (1969)

caption: Introduction
caption: myths of origin; the path of the dead
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Yengyudang Mt. Aopao (Chongwe) Chingtang Chinglong Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York
text: 5:4
text: Parallel with this tradition of a migration from a distant land exists a myth according to which most clans of Wakching came out of an immense bird, called Yang-wem-ou-niu, who lives in the water of the Dikhu. Another myth relates how all men and beasts emerged from an enormous gourd, whereupon Gawang, the sky god, divided the earth among them.
text: While these two latter myths refer to the age when humanity first established itself on earth, the migration myths reflect presumably population movements which led to the present distribution of the Konyaks. The men of Wakching were conscious of the contradictions in these migration myths and explained them by pointing out that not all the clans of the village had the same origin. While the majority of the clans was believed to have crossed the plains of Assam, others were said to have immigrated from the vicinity of Yengyudang and Chongwe. However permanent Konyak villages appear to be now, the myths certainly suggest a time when the country was less densely populated and migrating groups could still carve out new domains for themselves.
text: Nagas, like many other primitive people, believed that the dead returned to the original homeland, whence their mythical ancestors had come. According to the beliefs of the Wakching men, the departed traveled to the land of the dead by way of the villages of Chingtang, Chinglong, and Chongwe, and the southern direction of this route suggests that at least some elements among the Thenkoh group may have had old associations with that southern region through which the dead were supposed to travel on their way to the nether world.