Undoubtedly the least explored and the most pristine region, North-east India is a bouquet full of unique treasures of “Mother Nature”. It is one of the most enriched region of flora and fauna, and distinct culture. Home to various indigenous tribal communities belonging to the Austro-Asiatic linguistic family.
North east India is comprises of eight incredible states namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim and Tripura. All these states are mostly inhabited by the tribal people. They have their own distinct culture, traditions, languages, cuisines and attires. Every tribal community has their unique lifestyle. Tribal people mostly lives in the lush green hilly and forested areas. Forests are the major source of their livelihood.
North east India has numerous tribal communities such as Adis, Apatanis, Angami, Ao, Rengma, Nyishi, Garo, Khasi, Jaintias, Lushais, Kukis, Bodo, Mishing, Karbi, Bhutias, Lepchas, Nepalese, Riang, Trippera and Tripuri. Among them, ten major tribes of North -east India are as follows.
Ten major tribes of North-east India
1.1 Adis Tribal Community:- Adis are one of the major tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh. They are very democratic in nature and have their own village council known as Kebang. They mostly lives on the spurs of hills. Adis have two divisions namely Bogums and Bomis. Again they are divided into various sub tribes. Adis people practices polygamy. They entertain themselves with their traditional dance form called ponung, which are very popular in the entire state. Adis men and women are very good craftsmen and weavers. They prepare artifacts of bamboo and cane.
2.2 Nyishi Tribal Community:- The Nyishi tribe is a Indo-Mongoloid stock that mainly inhabited in the lower part of the Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. It is the largest tribal community of Arunachal Pradesh in terms of population and inhabited area. They speaks a different language which is a part of Tibeto-Burman language family. The main occupation of Nyishis are agriculture. Even they are engaged in forest wealth collection and fishing. As, these people are good hunters, they can very well handle bow and arrows. They have their own set of secretive customs and regulations, which they follow very strictly. Nyokam is the major festival of Nyishis. It is a harvest festival and dedicated to Goddess lakshmi. Nyishis are evry lively people and loves dance, drama and music. Rekham Pada dance is the main dance form of this tribal community.
3.Angami Tribal Community:- Angami is one of the major tribal community of Nagaland. They are also found in Manipur. They have a huge population of 12 million. Their main occupation is agriculture. Every year they produce near about 20 species of paddy. Another major occupation of Angamis is woodcarving. Angamis men are excellent craftsman and masons whereas women are expert weavers. Most of the Angami people follow Christianity. They mainly speaks Tenyidie which is also known as Angami, Gnamei, Ngami, Angamis, Tsoghami, Tsugumi, Monr, Tsanglo. Sekrenyl or Phousanyi is the major festival of Angami people. This is a 10 day festival, held in the month of February. It marks the beginning of the new year.
4.Rengma Tribal Community:-Another Naga tribal community is Rengma. They are found in both Nagaland and Assam. Rengma community has a total population of 50, 966 in entire Nagaland. They are divided into subcategories- Eastern Rengmas and Western Rengmas. They are expert terrace cultivators. Their main festival is Ngada which is a harvest festival. It is celebrated in the month of November just after the end of cultivation season. They bury their dead, and place the spear and the shield of the deceased in the grave.The funeral ceremonies end with lamentations and feasting.
5.Khasi Tribal Community:-Khasis are the major tribal community of Meghalaya. They occupies almost half of the total population of Meghalaya. They are mostly engage in the jhum cultivation and resides in the Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. Khasis mainly follow the matrilineal and matriarchal society. They speaks a Mon-Khmer Language which belongs to the Austro-Asiatic Family. Some of the Khasi festival are Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem, Ka Pom-Blang Nongkrem, Ka-Shad Shyngwiang-Thangiap, Ka-Shad-Kynjoh Khaskain, Ka Bam Khana Shnong, Umsan Nongkharai and Shad Beh Sier.
6.Garo Tribal Community:-Tagged as the second largest tribal community of Meghalaya, Garo tribes occupies one third of the total state population. They resides in the Garo hills of Meghalaya and some districts of Assam and West Bengal. Their traditional religion was Songserak, described as animist. But later they had changed their religion and becomes Christian. Garo customs and traditions are passed on to next generation orally only. The main festival of Garo community is Wangala. It is celebrated in the month of the October or November as a thank giving ceremony for the Saljong god. Beside Christmas, other Garo festivals are the Galamakduwa, Agalmaka etc. Major dance forms of Garo tribes are Ajima roa, Mi Su'a, Chambil mpa, Do'kru-Sua, Kambe toa, Gaewang roa, Napsepgrika and many others.
7.Lushais Tribal Community:- Lushais, are the aboriginal tribal community of Mizoram. Lushais are one of the major sub-groups of Mizos. They are mostly inhabited in the north Lushai hills and some parts of Assam and Manipur. These people are engaged in the collection of forest products and basket preparation. They mainly speaks the Lushai, which is a dialect and follows Christianity.
8. Bodo Tribal Community:- This tribal community is the earliest settler of Assam. Bodo is a plain tribal community. They comprises 5.3% of the total population of Assam and are the largest ethnic and linguistic group of Brahmaputra valley. They practiced both Bathouism and Hinduism. People of this community speaks bodo language which is derived from the Tibeto-Burmese family of language.
9.Bhutia Tribal community:- These are one of the prominent tribal community of Sikkim. They have migrated from Tibet and resides in the Lachen and Lachung areas of North Sikim. They generally speaks Bhutia which is a dialect of Tibetan language. They are mainly engaged in agriculture, government jobs and business also.
10.Riang Tribal Community:- This is a tribal community of Tripura. It is the second most crowded sub-tribal group of Tripura. These people mainly resides in the North and South Tripura districts. They generally speaks Riang which is a dailect of Kokborok language. They are mainly engage in jhum cultivation. Nowadays some people are also engage in government jobs. Riang people have a distinct culture and tradition. They pay their homage to 14 god and goddess of the Tripura state.