Culture & Heritage

Although a number of tribal groups constitute the total population pf the district, the density of the population is only eight per sq. km. There are as many as 5 tribal groups that contribute to the human mass in the district! All the individual tribes have a rich cultural heritage and the government is making all out efforts in helping conserve their traditional heritage. The society of West Kameng district is patriarchal and primogeniture and the fundamental laws of inheritance with variations are not uncommon. They follow endogamy and strictly observe the rule of clan exogamy. Polygamy is socially sanctioned and practiced by most of them. The people are highly democratic, and each tribe has its own organized institutions that maintain law and order, decide disputes and take up all activities for the welfare ofthe tribes and the villages. The members constituting these organizations are selected by the people.

The entire population of the district can be divided into two cultural groups on the basis of their socio-politico-religious affinities. It has been found that the tribes of West Kameng District were integrated into groups independent of each other, living there separate lives. The common denominators were that the patterns of lifestyle of each were the same and that they followed the same occupation; the societies were casteless; the societies were governed by chiefs and the adults grouped according to their age for distinct social functions and the young organized around dormitory institutions to act as the implementing instruments of the decisions and instructions of the older generation.

Three Cultural Groups broadly, the people may be divided into two cultural groups on the basis of their socio – religious affinities. The Monpas and Sherdukpens of district follow the lamaistic tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. Noted for their religious fervor, the villages of these communities have richly decorated Buddhist temples, locally called ‘Gompas’. Though largely agriculturists, practicing terrace cultivation, many of these people are also pastoral and breed herds of yak and mountain sheep.

The second group of the people are Akas,Mijis and Bugun etc., who worship Sun and Moon God namely, Donyi-Polo and Abo-Tani, the original ancestors for most of these tribes. Their religious rituals, largely coincide with phases of agricultural cycles. They invoke nature deities and make animal scarifices. They traditionally practice jhumming or shifting cultivation. Now they are also practising Bhuddihism now a days leaving the sacrifice.