(Last Updated on : 21/10/2013)
Tribes of West Kameng district
forms a major portion of the population of the district. Each tribe has its distinct culture and lifestyle that comprise of unique social structure, vibrant tribal festivals and beautiful art forms practiced by the people. Since ages, different tribes have settled down in different regions of the district and have carved out varied lifestyles for them. However, stark resemblance can be observed in the occupations of these tribes. These tribes also add to the cultural heritage of the country.
Hrusso tribe, also known as Aka tribe
, dwell in the southern region of West Kameng district. Thrizino area of the district is the place of maximum concentration of this tribe. Kutsun and Kevatsum are the two broad categories of the tribe. The society of Hrusso tribe is mainly patriarchal and polygamy is quite evident among them. System of marriage is based on general negotiations but sometimes also takes place by elopements. Cross consul marriage is also common in this tribe. Bride price is paid in the marriage which is known as Mithuns. The prominent feature of this tribe is the tattoo mark on their faces. Several tribal ceremonies are observed by the Hrussos and the main among them is Nechido. Basketry is a popular handicraft of the tribe, mostly practiced by the men of the tribe. Women are involved in making colourful bags. Wood painting is a prominent art form of this tribe. Agriculture
is the main occupation, however, cattle rearing and hunting is also prevalent.
Buguns are the inhabitants of the Tenga, Singchung, Kaspi and Wanghoo areas of the district. They are further subdivided into a number of clans. All the clans originated from Achimpimbu, a single tribe and all of them collectively call them as Buguns. Clan sexagamy and tribe endogamy are the essential features of the tribe. Monogamy is the rule of the society; however bigamy is also practiced sometimes. Family of Buguns are patriarchal and belong to mongoloid group. Agriculture is the main occupation of this tribe and they mainly practice shifting cultivation. They keep domestic animal as well as practice hunting. 'Kshyatsowai' is the main community festival of Buguns in which the village priests perform various ceremonies and rituals. A number of tribal songs and dances are also famous in this tribe which are performed in various socio-religious festivals.
Monpa tribe is the largest tribe of West Kameng district. People of this tribe are Mahayana Buddhist
having religious and cultural resemblance to Tibetans and Bhutanese. They have a patriarchal family and the tribe is also subcategorized into various clans and castes. Monogamy is the social rule, though in some cases polygamy is also practiced. Monpas are mainly the inhabitants of Kalaktang circle and Dirang circle. Monpas have six linguistic groups viz. Panchen Monpa, Kalaktang Monpa, Boot Monpa, Lish Monpa, Dirang Monpa and Tawang Monpa and different dialects are followed by each group. Ajilamu is the most popular community dance whereas the major religious festivals of the tribe are Choskar and Losar
. Losar marks the tribal New Year whereas in Choskar religious scriptures are read by Lamas for several days in the Gompa. People of Monpa tribe are mainly agriculturist and practice both permanent and shifting cultivations. Wood carvings, carpet making and weaving are famous art forms of this tribe. Religious scrolls are also painted by these people, which are known as Thankas. Paper is also made by these people by the pulp of Sukso trees, also known as the paper trees.
Sajolang tribe is the inhabitant of the Valley of Bichom River. It is a small group which are believed to have emigrated from Cha plains. The people of this tribe also claim their association with the Ahom kings of Assam
. Prominent tattoo marks are found on the faces of the tribal people. Basketry is a popular handicraft whereas agriculture is the main occupation of the tribe. Hunting and fishing is also practiced. Several community ceremonies are observed by the Sajolangs among which Fungglin or Chindang
holds a prominent place. There are several tribal deities and Jangungnui is considered to be the most powerful among them.
Sherdukpen tribe are mainly concentrated at Shergaon and Rupa
regions of the district. Thong and Chao are the two subclasses of Sherdukpen society. Thongs claim themselves to be descendents of king Japtan whereas Chaos are considered to be the descendants of his partners. Socially Thongs are superior to Chaos. These two subclasses are further divided into a number of clans. The family of Sherdukpen tribe is patriarchal and they prefer monogamous marriage.