The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Two. The Social Structure and its Units
caption: history of chiefship in a Wanchu village
medium: books
ethnicgroup: KonyakWanchu
location: Niaunyu (Niaunu) Niausu Mintong Longphon Jedua Mon Mintong (Zonlong) Pangchao Longsom Chanu
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York53:1
text: Niaunu became the parent village of four other villages (Niausu, Mintong, Longphon, and Jedua ), ruled by scions of the chiefly house. Being agnatic kinsmen, the chiefs of these villages could not intermarry, and beyond this group of Niaunu colonies there were other villages whose chiefs belonged to the same lineage, and were hence also excluded from marriage alliances with the house of the paramount chief of Niaunu. Members of the lineage of the Niaunu chiefly house had, therefore, to seek wives among the daughters of chiefs of other lineages of great Ang status, such as the lineage of the paramount chief of Mon. The domains of some of these lineages lay at distances of more than a day's journey from Niaunu, but for paramount chiefs it was not unusual to enter into marriage alliances with rulers of far away villages.
text: The manner of extending a chief's influence over neighboring villages is demonstrated by the establishment of Mintong, one of the four colonies of Niaunu. Originally, the site of the present village of Mintong was occupied by Zonlong, a village ruled by a chief of a lineage different from that of Niaunu. It belonged to a group of villages dominated by Pangchao, whose chiefs stand now in affinal relations to those of Niaunu. Seven generations ago a force of Niaunu warriors raided and defeated Zonlong, wiping out the chief's family, most of the other members of both great and small chiefly clans, and about fifty percent of the commoners. The surviving commoners chose to remain in the village under the new chief, who belonged to a junior branch of the lineage of the paramount chief of Niaunu, and under the new name of Mintong the village was incorporated within the domain of Niaunu.
text: If the family of the chief of a tributary village became extinct, the paramount chief of the domain would send one of his sons or a brother's son of great Ang rank to take over the vacant position, but as the number of men of pure chiefly blood was usually small, the chief's families being no more immune from the general high mortality rate than other families, a parent village often had no suitable candidate of great Ang rank available, and the villagers were forced to search for a chief in other friendly villages. Thus in 1952 Longsom, a colony of Chanu, but politically allied to Niaunu, could not obtain a chief from Chanu when their chiefly lineage died out. The villagers requested the chief of Niaunu to send them one of his kinsmen, and he obligingly seconded his father's younger brother's son to the chiefdom of Longsom.